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This is a good solid television, with most of the features an average person could want... Being the first television I have own by this company, in fact the only TV I've ever owned that didn't say Sony on front, I was a bit concerned at first about the quality of the set. I saw the TV on sale at my local Allders store (great place to buy due to the free 5 year guarantee) when I was looking around for an upgrade for my old set. Admittedly, I was originally looking to buy a Panasonic, but saw this Toshiba looking all lonely in one corner of the store. I had never come across this particular TV before, and I am normally the type of person who reads all the related mags and brochures of anything I want to buy for months before even thinking about a purchase. However, within 15 mins I had bought the TV! ::: Picture ::: I guess the main part of a television is the screen. This Toshiba set has a 'Face Flat' screen that is flat in both horizontally and vertically, which helps to reduce reflections. As with most widescreen televisions, the image on the screen can be displayed in various ways depending on what shape the broadcast you are receiving is in. Toshiba's formats are: Superlive - which tries to stretch a non-widescreen image in a natural way Cinema - which zooms in slightly to get rid of black bars from the top and bottom Subtitle - which raises the picture slightly to make sure all text is present at the bottom Wide - for watching widescreen images. 4:3 - for standard 4:3 picture. You can set the TV to automatically switch between the formats depending on what shape the input to your TV is, and the picture size and position can also be changed manually via the on-screen menus if needed. The picture quality is generally very good. Colours are always very natural and true. If I were being really picky (and I normally am!) then I would say that the
convergence was slightly out. This makes the edge of the image misshapen when in 4:3 mode, and also makes the corners of the image slightly soft. But as I always have the TV set to wide I don't notice this as much - it is also a trait of a lot of widescreen TVs. As with most televisions the screen benefits with being set up correctly. You can do this by using something like a THX setup DVD which has various tests to set the brightness and contrast settings. Most people will have one, but just not know about it as the tests are often hidden away on the extras of DVD movies. The one I use came with my Monster's Inc DVD, and really made a difference to picture - the Toshiba factory presets tended to be very heavy on contrast. There is no 100hz facility on this particular TV, which doesn't rally bother me too much. 100hz images are personal preference really... some people think they are fantastic and essential to rid screen flicker, while others say they look unnatural and suffer with fast moving images. Having owned both types, I personally prefer the 50hz. ::: Sound ::: Sonically the TV is very good. The TV itself has three speakers... two for left and right and one centre speaker below the screen. The sound is more than adequate for most uses and is very clear. The TV also comes with two external speakers, which can be placed behind you to take advantage of the Dolby Pro-logic processor that is on-board. I can't really comment on the sound quality of this feature, as I use a separate AV system for surround sound. Optional separate front speakers can also be purchased and connected to the TV if you are after a wider stereo field at the front, though I wouldn't have thought there would be much of an improvement. The TV also features five surround sound effects - Hall, Theatre, Stadium, Disco and Pseudo which can be used to simulate various environments. From past experience though these of
ten detract from the sound quality and can be quite annoying. ::: Connections ::: Round the back of the TV there are a wide selection of different sockets to plug your various equipment into: 3 SCART sockets: One RGB compatible, and two S-Video compatible. All the sockets can also take the standard 'composite' signal which is used by most standard equipment. Separate Component video sockets: These are three phono sockets that take the individual parts of component video. Component video divides the video signal into the black and white part (called Y) and the colour information (called Pr & Pb). A DVD disc is recorded with Component Video signal in a digital format, so is really the best way to watch DVD on a TV. Unfortunately not many DVD players in the UK have the correct sockets on the back so it isn't very common. Audio out: Two phono outputs for analogue stereo output. Subwoofer output: A phono socket which can be used to power an external subwoofer. There a switch above to switch between internal and external. Speaker outputs: Eight spring clip sockets so you can take advantage of Dolby Pro-logic surround sound. Again this is switchable so you can stick to the in-built speakers. RF in: The traditional aerial input. On the font of the set are AV inputs which tend to be popular with people camcorders: S-Video: A standard round s-video socket. Video/audio in: Three phono plugs to input sound and vision. Headphone socket: For those times you don't want to disturb those around you. ::: Remote control ::: The handset is a bit different to the ones I have used in the past and has taken a bit of getting used to. There are the usual keys present such as number keys, teletext and fasttext, as well as arrow keys in the centre. These keys are arranged in a circle with an 'Enter' key in the middle, and can be either used
to adjust the volume or change channel, or to navigate around the on-screen setup menus. The lower section of the remote has keys for controlling compatible DVD or video players, as well as ones for controlling aspects of the sound such as bass, treble, stereo and mute. Some of the features are accessed by holding down a function key at the same time as other keys which can prove to be a bit fiddly at times. ::: Looks ::: What also attracted me originally to this TV was the fact is wasn't the usual silver colour that you find as standard these days. Silver always reminds me of TVs from the 70/80s! The main body of the TV is a mid to dark grey colour with a matt finish. The left and right speakers are a slightly darker grey colour, and also give you the impression that they are floating in front of the TV on their own somehow! The bottom section of the TV (under screen height) kind of slopes out, which gives the set a solid look about it. ::: Other features ::: Other features that might prove useful to some people include: NTSC playback - for watching US recordings. Parental lock - for stopping little fingers from messing up the settings via the buttons on the front of the TV. Timer - for turning the TV on and off at certain times ::: Price ::: I believe the RRP for the television was somewhere around £1000, maybe slightly over. I purchased it whilst it was in a sale at £899. In the end I only paid £849 for the set as I didn't require the stand that was included. ::: Conclusion ::: The Toshiba 32Z17B is a good all-round television, which has most of the features an average person could wish for. It is solidly built and produces a good picture and clear sound quality. There are enough inputs around the back for most people and the set is very user friendly when setting up and adjusting. Looking around it would appear tha
t the set has now been replaced by the 32Z27B which seems to be the same TV but with a different colour cabinet. I'm not missing the old Sony badge at all!