If you want to buy a large-screen television at the moment you may find yourself in something of a quandary. With all the talk of 'Full HD' you could be forgiven for thinking that you should wait and stump up the extra cash for a 1080p screen.
The problem is that not all screens are created equal. It's all well and good to point to a resolution and automatically assume that 1,920x1,080 pixels is better than 1,280x720 pixels, but it won't necessarily improve your viewing experience.
In fact, if you watch loads of Freeview and normal DVDs, that 'extra' resolution won't help you at all. On the face if it, the Toshiba Regza 42WLT68 looks as though it might not offer the best possible picture quality. It 'only' has a resolution of 1,280x720 pixels, which means you won't get the best out of Blu-ray, HD DVD or your PlayStation 3. The question is, can anyone actually tell the difference?
Generally the styling of the WLT68 is very impressive. It's finished in piano black, which is attractively shiny but not so reflective it's distracting. The plastic that surrounds the screen is around 3cm thick, so it doesn't feel overly plastic.
Like the other screens in the WLT68 range, the televisions sits on a claw-like stand, which is a silver colour. We aren't crazy about the styling of this pedestal -- a smaller, understated stand would be far more in-keeping with the rest of the set.
To the rear of the set are two HDMI connectors, two Scart inputs -- one of which is RGB enabled -- and component video in. There's also a sub-woofer output and inputs for audio -- including analogue HDMI inputs, should you need them.
The 42WLT68 also features Toshiba's 100Hz technology, known as Active Vision M100. This system is designed to reduce the judder and ghosting often found on LCD screens. What it does is interpolate between images sent over the air, and effectively guesses what picture might happen between two frames. This enables it to smooth out the motion and although it's a bit of a cheat it does seem to make everything look more natural and fluid.
We're pleased to see Toshiba has included three HDMI sockets again. This is standard on the WLT68 range, and we really think it's the future. With consoles, next-generation DVD players and media centres becoming more popular the number of sockets needed to connect stuff will increase.
If you own a media centre, or are looking to plug your PC or Xbox 360 into this screen with a VGA connector, the good news is the TV can support WXGA, which will give you a 1,280x768-pixel picture. Hooking up a laptop to the screen, we were impressed with the clarity of the PC input.
For picture adjustment, the usual range of colour and backlight options are on offer. There is also an MPEG NR mode, which is designed to remove compression artefacts from DVD and Freeview pictures. Backlight control also claims to offer better contrast in general. We found that pictures had great colour range and did look very decent from all sources, even Freeview.
The menus on the 42WLT68 are as simple and easy to navigate as we've come to expect from Toshiba. The menus are clear and pleasant to look at and adjusting the settings is done in a way that doesn't obscure the picture, very handy if you want to fiddle about with picture settings while watching some test footage.