Summary

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8/10

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Toshiba 20W330DB 20in LCD TV - Toshiba 20W330DB LCD TV

So far, so good. But there's more good news to come in the form of a respectable-looking claimed native contrast ratio of 700:1. Please note, though, that the 700:1 contrast ratio is as high as it gets, since unlike many larger screens, the 20W330DB does not feature a dynamic backlight system for reducing light output during dark scenes (a trick which helps make black levels appear deeper).

Not surprisingly given its price point, the 20W330DB's rather dated-looking onscreen menus aren't exactly over-run with features. The only slightly interesting elements on offer are a movie mode that tweaks the progressive scan processing to accommodate film as opposed to video sources; MPEG noise reduction for reducing blocking artefacts when viewing the digital tuner; and an optional ‘3D comb filter' for reducing further video noise types.

Where the 20W330DB certainly does get interesting, though, is with its picture quality, which rates as good by any 20in standards, but nothing short of excellent considering it costs you the princely sum of £250.


Two things in particular help the 20W330DB's images stand out from the budget LCD crowd: their relative freedom from motion blur, and their relatively profound black level response. Regarding the former strength, during one of Sky's HD Premiership Rugby matches I was constantly surprised by how little the players blurred as they charged around the pitch, or threw the ball around.

Obviously there is still SOME residual resolution loss to report over motion; after all, even the most high-end of LCD screens still find the technology's motion handling shortcomings tricky to overcome. But the Toshiba's blurring or softness is seldom severely distracting.

When it comes to black level, dark scenes in a film, such as the night-time shots at the end of the recent Sky HD broadcast of Titanic, definitely suffer less from that common grey cloudiness that afflicts budget LCDs. Again I have to stress that I'm not saying that there's no clouding at all; just that the 20W330DB outperforms every affordably priced small-screen rival I can think of.

Given this relative black level talent, it comes as no great surprise to find that the 20W330DB also does very well with colours. Skin tones look surprisingly natural regardless of whether you're watching HD or standard def, while colour blends look smooth and clean thanks to a combination of some clearly decent colour processing and that 1,366 x 768 pixel density spanning the TV's 20in screen. Vibrant hues, such as those of the recent Man U vs Liverpool Premiership match, also look enjoyably bright and fulsomely saturated.

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