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And lo! It came to pass that in 2009 I ditched the humungous television that sat in the corner of my living room and would not move, mainly because it was so large that it required 2 people to lift it (it was a 28 inch CRT).
As is my wont, and with a debit card in hand, I ventured out one Saturday morning at about 5am (yep, that hour does exist) and head off to my local branch of Tescos with the intention of buying a new television.
I was a bit of a nincompoop with regard to LCD televisions. What kind would I need? What was HD? What was the difference between HD ready and Full HD? Would it be heavy? Would it require complex installation? Well, let me expand a little.
LCD televisions are a huge step forward in television. Whereas my previous Goodmans television had a good picture, it was via an enormous Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and, as a consequence, it was enourmous. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions require far fewer bulky components and are thinner and lighter, and the picture can occupy the whole screen!
My shopping expedition, even at such an ungodly hour, proved fruitful. I mooched around the aisles and came across the Toshiba 32AV554DG. It was stylish, in a gloss piano black finish, it had a 32 inch screen, it had the magic words HD on it (HD = High Definition, but more on that later) and it was, in my opinion, good value at £380! Therefore I bought it, managed to put the box under one arm (I am a very tall chap), and took it home.
After managing to pick up my old TV and put it on the floor, I set about installing the TV...
I carefully took the TV out of the box and was staggered at its sleek design - no flashing lights, no garish design, just a 32 inch television with the word Toshiba at the bottom and the word Regza (Toshiba's in-house picture processing technology) at the top left.
I carefully screwed in the base, so it would not fall over, stood the TV on the cabinet I use and stood back for a second. I was amazed that, even though it was a bigger screen than my previous television, it did not dominate the corner of the room as the previous one had, mainly because it was not as bulky.
So the next task was to plug it in and fire it up. I will state here from the outset that I do not use all of the features that the television has. I have no terrestrial aerial, so I did not need to set up and tune in the analogue television receiver, which is menu-driven and seems easy enough. It also has a built-in Freeview (digital terrestrial) receiver, which I have since tuned in and is easy to set up and operate, with an 8 day Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).
I plugged in my digital satellite set-top box via a scart lead and switched on. The tv took a very short time to changed input source and I was away. I did the same for my DVD recorder and was away! The machine comes with plenty of input sockets at the back. It has 2 scart and one composite input, and also has two HDMI (HD) inputs. My set-up now has a DVD Recorder and VCR, my Nintendo Wii, my HD set-top box and my upscaling DVD player plugged in. Switching between inputs gives me little trouble - press a button on the remote and it takes a second or two.
The picture is clear and bright, certainly the best picture I have ever had. Sound is extremely good, and I do not have to have it up high to get clear stereo audio for my needs.
With my HD box I get a good, but not exhilarating High Definition picture. This is because the Toshiba is 'HD Ready' and not 'Full HD'. The difference is that, while a standard television is made up of 625 lines, HD ready gives you 760 lines, but full HD gives you 1080 lines! You pays your money, I guess, but if I had the choice again, I would have paid that bit extra for Full HD. Then again, 15 months ago I would have had to pay a lot more for the extra picture quality So, for the money, it is a good machine.
My future with the machine
I am happy with it. It is on for most of the day when I am home, and gives me a very good picture in standard definition and has excellent sound. I have just got myself my first Blu-ray player, so I will see how the picture is with that. I guess I may well have to upgrade to a full HD television sometime in the next year or so if I want to get the best out of that particular piece of apparatus.
In spite of my HD stupidity, this is a good machine. If you want 760 lines of HD, it is very good. Toshiba have a very good reputation for performance and reliability, and also durability, so it should, in my view, be a serious consideration for anyone seeking theire first foray into the realms of LCD televisions.
Neil (published elsewhere on C**o)