Actually more interesting than Active Vision is Resolution+, Toshiba’s proprietary and startlingly effective system for upscaling standard definition to the 42ZV635DB’s Full HD resolution.
The more serious-minded of our readers will be pleased, too, by the amount of picture fine-tuning the 42ZV635DB allows – especially the provision of a decently sophisticated colour management tool and a sliding-scale Static Gamma setting. You can even, if you’re really into your calibration, leave just one colour – red, green or blue – onscreen at a time, so that you can check their colour characters precisely using a colour monitor or filter.
The only thing bad about all the 42ZV635DB’s calibration options is that using them makes you rather aware of what a disappointingly plasticky affair the set’s remote control is. It’s just the same flimsy, in some ways poorly laid out effort found with Toshiba’s budget TVs, when surely a relatively premium TV like this deserves better.
Sadly, though, the real disappointment with the 42ZV635DB only kicks in when we let it loose on a little ”Modern Warfare 2” and recent Blu-rays of the latest ”Star Trek” movie and ”Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.
The two Blu-rays, in particular, both contain quite a lot of dark scenes and picture elements. And these invariably reveal shortcomings in the 42ZV635DB’s black level response, with the all-too-familiar grey mist more evident and more recurring than I felt really comfortable with at the 42ZV635DB’s level.
It’s not quite as overt a problem as with Toshiba’s budget sets, sure. But given the £150 price difference between the 42ZV635DB and Toshiba’s cheaper 42XV635, I would have expected the contrast difference to be considerably more pronounced.
The contrast issue I have with the 42ZV635DB is turned up to 11, meanwhile, by the way contrast and colour collapse any time I try to watch the screen from any significant angle down its sides. This is a very common LCD failing, of course, but it seems to me that the 42ZV635DB suffers with it worse than most.
I should say at this point that you can reduce the greyness over black colours considerably if you’re pretty severe with the set’s backlight and brightness settings. But unfortunately you have to be so severe with them that the picture starts to look rather dull and lifeless at the point where black levels look really credible, making it a far from ideal calibration choice.
Also, naturally, there’s the fact that wherever you have to sacrifice large amounts of brightness to achieve a good black level, you’re going to squeeze out of dark pictures much of the shadow detailing that helps them look three-dimensional and real.
This scenario will sound familiar to anyone who read our reviews of Toshiba’s XV, AV and RV TVs. But obviously those screens – well, some of them at least – are much cheaper, making such limitations far easier to live with than they are on the 42ZV635DB.
The calibration sacrifices that have to be made to achieve a decent black level response on the 42ZV635DB also lead to compromises elsewhere, such as a few unnatural skin tones.