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HolidayBuyer's Guide
TVs

Toshiba Regza 40ZF575D: Improving bog-standard video

Toshiba might not have an HD format to push anymore, but now it's got a new cause -- making sure we all get the best out of our existing standard-definition material

Toshiba began its press conference at IFA in Berlin by denying that it would be announcing a Blu-ray player -- this didn't come as much of a surprise, as the company is still hurting from a very expensive loss in the great format war of 2007.

But credit to it, instead of crying in a corner licking its wounds, the company is making new products that improve standard-definition pictures, and its new TV range will feature a picture-processing mode known as Resolution+. Toshiba claims that the system can make SD material look 'almost high definition'.

Resolution+ is based on what Toshiba calls the 'Spurs Engine', which has surprisingly little to do with English football, and much more to do with the integration of the Cell processor into Toshiba's TVs. Because of the processing power of Cell, it's able to pump out a picture far more quickly than previous technologies. And as it's essentially a computer chip, software updates can improve the products further at any time, including picture-quality improvements as algorithms get better.

Interestingly, there's an MPEG-4 decoder built-in too. This is presumably to take advantage of some of the HD services that are available in countries such as France, but this decoder probably won't be much use in the UK. If we adopt MPEG-4, it will be alongside DVB-T2, which will require whole new receivers.

The ZF575D is an evolution of the picture-frame TVs we've reviewed in the past, so it's got the same delicious looks. All the high-end picture processing is present and correct too, with 5:5 pulldown and 120Hz picture modes to reduce motion judder on movies. You also get the requisite four HDMI sockets and all the analogue connection options.

Some people will criticise Toshiba for its reluctance to move into Blu-ray, but this TV is designed to help people make the most out of their existing content, and that can only be a good thing -- current estimates suggest that 99 per cent of all viewing is from standard-definition sources. No one is pretending that this is the future, but Tosh is at least helping people get the best out of their DVD collections and low-quality Freeview broadcasts. -Ian Morris