capsule review

Toshiba 42XV545U 42-Inch LCD HDTV

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder 42XV545U

    TechHive Rating

    A high price and limited capabilities make this model a bad choice, despite its good picture.

Toshiba's 42-inch, 120-Hz 42XV545U HDTV delivers solid image quality, finishing second overall in our performance tests, close behind the Vizio SV420XVT. Despite its high scores, however, I had a mixed reaction to this set. Contrast in the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl test (chapter 12 of the Blu-ray disc, with Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley marooned on the island) was excessive, and I didn't like the yellowish cast of their faces. As for The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King sequence (chapter 22 of the DVD), though I rated it Good for brightness and contrast, its handling of dark areas of the mountain and cloak, and its detail in faces and clothing were only Fair. Faces appeared a bit red, too.

This model is the only one we've tested in this category that lacks primary color adjustments--and this omission held the 42XV545U back from making our chart. If you, too, find faces off-color, you won't be able to fine-tune the hues to your liking.

Nor is the 42XV545U particularly easy or versatile to use. The main on-screen menu is big and opaque, and it occupies the middle of the screen, blocking too much of the picture. The TV lacks a smaller quick menu of commonly adjusted settings like Picture Mode and Aspect Ratio, and Toshiba provides no explanations of the options that you have to choose your settings from. When you press the Input button on the bulky remote (which is so large that I continually found myself operating it with two hands), it displays a list of all the TV's inputs, without easing your way to the ones where something is going on.

The 42XV545U lacks a number of extras, too: You can't freeze the image, view a picture inside another picture, or use the set to view photos or listen to MP3s.

One nice touch: Press the Mute button once, and the audio drops to a whisper; press it again, and it mutes entirely--and closed captioning comes on.

At $1600 (as of November 4, 2008), the Toshiba 42XV545U is expensive for a 42-inch HDTV, considering that capable sets like the LG 42PG25, the Vizio SV420XVT, the Vizio VO42LF, and the Westinghouse TX-42F430S come in at $1200 or less. And it's hard to come up with a compelling reason to buy this model over a less expensive, more full-featured one.

This story, "Toshiba 42XV545U 42-Inch LCD HDTV" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    A high price and limited capabilities make this model a bad choice, despite its good picture.

    Pros

    • Mute button actvates closed captions

    Cons

    • Limited capabilities
    • Expensive
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