When CRT televisions roamed the earth, we all looked at them and said, "that's what a TV looks like. I doubt they'll ever look any different to that". Then our collective minds were blown when flat LCD and plasma TVs arrived on the scene.
Now Toshiba has decided to blow us away again with a thin bezel TV that it likes to call the XF. The full name -- Toshiba Regza 40XF355D -- gives away a few more details, such as the screen size, which in this case is a glorious 40 inches. Available for around £1,300, this TV is all about aesthetics, and trust us -- your eyes will love it.
When we say that the main purpose of this TV is that it looks good in your living room, we don't mean to imply that the TV itself isn't a good performer. What we're really trying to get at is that the XF is designed to be visually striking.
The bezel -- the plastic that surrounds the LCD panel -- is just 23mm thick. This bezel is thinner than a fruit pastel. What this does for the TV as a whole is utterly amazing, as it makes the whole thing look much smaller than it actually is. Indeed, this TV looks more like a 32-incher rather than a 40.
The TV is finished in an attractive piano black, which is the de facto standard these days. All in all, it's an amazing TV that manages to better everything we've seen so far. At the bottom of the screen is a blue LED which tells you when the TV is on -- in case the moving pictures don't give it away -- this can be turned off in the menus, however, or dimmed to be less of a distraction.
There are a decent amount of sockets, too. Three HDMI connections are dotted around the set -- two at the rear and one at the side. You'll also find VGA and component in to display those analogue high-definition sources. There are also two RGB Scart sockets for your older equipment.
The Toshiba remote control has also be slightly improved. It seems fairly responsive and we quite like the styling of it. Toshiba deserves praise here, because their old remote controls were hopeless. The company has clearly been listening to our whinging.
The Toshiba 40XF355D can accept 1080p over HDMI including the 24p format that is all the rage at the moment. It does support HDMI 1.3, so can handle a wide colour gamut input, although that's not as big a deal as the amount of content that can take advantage of this feature is virtually zero.
The EPG is the standard eight day Freeview system. We like the way the Toshiba uses the information -- always telling you how long there is left before a programme ends. There are also suggestions made about what show you might like to watch next -- handy if you're in the mood for some mindless channel surfing.
We've mentioned all the positives of the slender bezel on this TV. Now its time to mention the problems that it brings. The most obvious issue is that the thinner chassis means the structural integrity of the TV is slightly compromised. This means that quite extensive strengthening has had to take place. It is this that has pushed the price up slightly.