Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Toshiba 42X3030D Review

42in LCD TV
Fantastic High Definition pictures good connectivity and all-round performance make this LCD a serious proposition.


HD Ready


A glossy black finish marks the Toshiba 42X3030D as a step above the matte black 'C' entry level series. While not to everyone's tastes, the 42X3030D with its minimalist approach to design with only a couple of LED lights at the front, manages to avoid the garish look of some flat panel TVs. Its claw like base in brushed alloy look actually combines with the main unit to create a stylish and relatively discreet piece of kit that will bring admiring glances from friends and neighbours alike.


With 2 HDMI, 2 Scarts, Composite input, Component input, PC input and built-in Freeview and analogue receivers, connectivity on the Toshiba 42X3030D is good rather than outstanding.

Screen size & shape: 42in 16:9

Tuner: Digital

Sound system: Stereo

Resolution: 1920x1080

HD Ready: Yes

Contrast Ratio: 6000:1

Brightness: 500cd/m2


SOCKETS: 2 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, S-Video, Composite, PC input, Sub-woofer terminal.

Features of the Toshiba 42X3030D are almost identical in every way to its little brother the 37X3030D. The 42X3030D has a higher contrast ratio of 6000:1 (as opposed to the 37X3030D's 3200:1) and it will be interesting to discover whether this has any noticeable effect on performance.

The single most important feature of the Toshiba 'X' series, which differentiates it from the entry level 'C' series is Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080). Not such an important consideration until quite recently, this feature is starting to come into its own with the greater availability of 1080p sources such as various HD DVD discs and Sony's PS3 games console.

The 42X3030D sports Toshiba's Active Vision LCD picture processing system which addresses four core elements of a TV image: detail, colour, movement and contrast.

The 'movement' part of this equation, 'Real Speed Progressive technology' is claimed by Toshiba to significantly reduce jagged edges on lines and detail during fast-moving scenes. Active Vision M100 100 Hz scanning system however, is not part of the Toshiba 42X3030D's spec - you will have to wait for the top of the range 'Z' series for this feature.

The other main technological element within the 42X3030D is 'Digital Noise Reduction' (DNR) which by "cleaning" images and reducing picture "noise" has been designed to enhance the picture quality of all sources, but in particular Standard Definition (SD) sources.

DNR is one of a number of features on the Toshiba 42X3030D which you can choose to switch on or off. In addition, 'Active Backlight Control' has been designed to give lower black luminance for darker scenes. MPEG Noise Reduction is a technology Toshiba claims reduces MPEG artefacts and 'Black Stretch' is a feature designed to improve apparent image contrast.

On the audio front, 2 x 25w speakers combined with the latest SRS TruSurround XT technology promise a powerful audio experience, with simulated 3D effect, enhanced dialog and powerful bass to give what Toshiba would have us believe is something akin to a home movie experience.


To get the negative out of the way quickly, colour on the Toshiba 42X3030D, like the 37X3030D was the major cause for concern. Colours were often over-saturated depending on the source, and although we tweaked settings to achieve good results for any particular source, we could not find a setting we were content with in all situations.

We expect High Definition performance on mid level screens such as the 42X3030D to be good, and this Toshiba does not disappoint. In fact HD pictures are quite sumptuous, with a sharpness and clarity that we have not seen bettered by any LCD screen to date. Fast action sporting or movie action shows just how capable a screen this is. There is almost a total lack of motion judder, with one of the most natural looking fast action displays we have seen. Colours were deep and vibrant with a naturalism that was impressive in all situations whether the scenes were dark or bright.

Of course, unless you are addicted to Sky's HD Discovery channel, you will be just as interested in how this panel handles Standard Definition (SD) sources. The story here however is not quite as positive. Sky's 1080i broadcasts are by far the best source of SD content although there were traces of noise and smearing on all but the slowest of screen movement. The picture definitely benefits from the one-to-one mapping of Sky's 1080i output to the screens 1080 lines of resolution with a clarity that is rare on a screen of this size.

Again, Freeview terrestrial picture on a 42in screen just shows how unsuited a large LCD screen is for displaying content in 576 format. Detail and sharpness begin to suffer, not to an unacceptable degree, but noticeable all the same. We found that the 6000:1 contrast ratio did make a difference on the 42X3030D when comparing terrestrial performance to that of the 37X3030D. Although the capabilities of both screens in this respect are about the same, we expected the bigger 42in screen to suffer more from a 576 source which was not the case.

The audio capabilities of the Toshiba 42X3030D are another plus point. The two 25W speakers produce a powerful acoustic performance which combined with SRS TruSurround XT while not quite producing a home cinema quality performance are up there with the best of the standard setups.


The all-round capabilities of the Toshiba 42X3030D makes this screen a serious proposition for consumers who want good performance at a reasonable price. Its not the best LCD out there, but the price to performance ratio is compelling. If the majority of your viewing is HD and you've just bought a PS3 then the argument becomes even more compelling.


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