Not everyone wants a huge screen in their living room and even those who do sometimes need a second set for a bedroom, study or maybe for a games console. For those requirements, 26-inch sets can be ideal.
The Toshiba Regza 26WLT66 is a compact but stylish 26-inch LCD screen with an integrated Freeview receiver and two HDMI inputs. With a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, it's ideal for watching 720p high-definition material. The set can also handle 1080i video, which is downscaled to display correctly.
The quality of hi-def material on this set is excellent, and certainly offers a significant improvement over standard definition. The integrated Freeview receiver is a disappointment, however. The picture isn't the sharpest we've seen, and there were some jagged lines visible. Upscaled DVD offers a slightly improved picture, but it was still a little grainy and soft. But although it won't set the world alight, it will suit those after a second set.
The Regza 26WLT66 is a handsome machine. It's predominantly black, with a thin silver surround that should ensure it will sit well with most other AV equipment. At the bottom of the set, a grille conceals the speakers.
At the rear of the machine there's a decent range of connections for hooking up consoles, DVD players and other gear. There are two Scart sockets, one of which is RGB enabled, plus a generous two HDMI inputs. Further sockets include component and composite video in. You can also plug in a PC via the RGB D-Sub connection. At the side of the set, there's another composite video input and a headphone socket.
The remote is light and comfortable to hold, with buttons for moving through the channels and adjusting the volume conveniently located by your thumb. Buttons for the menu and electronic programme guide are also within easy reach, and the circular menu navigation control feels like it's in the right place.
The number one selling point of this television has to be the number of connections. Two HDMI inputs allow you to hook up an HD DVD or Blu-ray player and Sky HD simultaneously. It's rare to see twin HDMI sockets on a 26-inch TV. We can't emphasise enough how useful it is not to have to scramble around the back of your TV each time you need to switch from one HDMI source to another. The addition of a component input means you could also have a Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360 too. It's likely you'll run out of money long before you run out of inputs.
The television includes a Freeview receiver and the option to subscribe to Top Up TV. There's also an analogue receiver if you live outside the Freeview coverage area, although picture quality was not as good as digital.
The menus are easy to navigate, and for the most part, quite attractive. The seven-day programme guide is simple enough to use. It's possible to scroll through all channels and set reminders to watch certain programmes.
Unfortunately, the guide can be slow to respond, and flicking through the inputs seems to take an age.
The TV has a further interesting feature: if you press the 'info' button, the TV scans through all programmes that are just about to start, or recently began. It then presents this as 'Also showing', allowing you to see what you might be missing on another channel. We discovered this feature during the number round in Countdown, saving us from boring maths and reminding us that Pingu was about to start.
Where high-definition content is concerned, the Toshiba Regza 26WLT66 is very capable. Despite its small screen size, the differences in quality between a DVD and an HD DVD were quite clear. High-definition video from the was crisp, clear and colourful.
There was a little motion blur in The Bourne Supremacy's action scenes, but apart from that the picture was as good as you would expect. Our test favourite Serenity proved that the set can do justice to the inky blackness of space. We were also impressed by the detail we saw in people's faces. We did notice that skin tones seemed a little unrealistic, but it isn't a major problem and spending some time adjusting the settings improved this.
Watching DVDs proved to be a slightly less impressive experience via the component output from our. The image was quite grainy, particularly during the darker scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Freeview picture quality was passable, although it was quite soft and at times it was possible to see jagged lines on moving objects. We've seen better quality from other sets.
Sound quality from the small speakers at the front of the television was reasonable. We found that sometimes it was hard to hear speech, and bass was somewhat lacking, but for small inbuilt speakers we wouldn't expect much more.
With some adjustment of the brightness and backlight controls, it was possible to achieve good black levels and more natural skin tones, but this was at the expense of the overall brightness. In a dark room this wouldn't be a problem, but in a well-lit area, this might not be the best solution.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide