Summary

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8/10

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So pervasive has the UK's quest for high definition become that even screens as small as 15in are feeling the need to pack HD resolutions - regardless of whether it's truly possible to perceive the ‘HD difference' at such a puny screen size.

Toshiba's new 19AV505D is just such a ‘small screen, big resolution' product, cramming 1,440 x 900 pixels into its widescreen 19in frame. The question is, will this resolution turn out to be more than just a gimmick?

The reams of pixels have, at least, found their way into what is by small TV standards a pretty attractive home. Far too many small TVs still look like reworked PC monitors, but this Toshiba's gloss-black finish, tastefully rounded corners and gently curved bezel is clearly designed specifically with a domestic environment in mind.


As we're increasingly starting to expect as standard, even on small TVs, the 19AV505D carries both Freeview digital and analogue tuners, and HDMI support. There's actually only one HDMI here, but while we might wish for more, the reality is that the vast majority of small TVs only carry one, and so the 19AV505D can't fairly be bashed too hard for its HDMI stinginess.

That said, the potential pressure on the solitary HDMI merely grows as it turns out there's no separate D-Sub PC input either. In other words, the HDMI has to do PC as well as video duties, potentially entailing quite a bit of cable swapping if you're using the 19AV505D in a study.

Surprisingly for what is, after all, a very affordable 19in TV, the 19AV505D has one or two surprisingly handy features up its sleeves.

Probably its most significant trick is its dynamic contrast system, whereby the backlight is automatically dimmed when dark scenes are detected in a bid to counter LCD's traditional problems with reproducing convincing black colours.

Regular readers will know that these sort of dynamic contrast arrangements are far from rare in the LCD world. However, while they're pretty much standard issue on large screen TVs - 26in and bigger - they're actually quite rare on smaller TVs, presumably because manufacturers just don't see such picture quality ‘niceties' as black level response as being particularly important on small screens. Or at least, they don't see it as being as important as stripping features back to keep prices low. Anyway, the Toshiba's Dynamic Contrast feature is there, it works, and it promises a healthy claimed contrast ratio of 8,500:1. Cool.

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