Good grief. I know the Christmas sales have started early this year, but a 26in LCD TV from a respected brand being flogged off for under £300? Surely somebody somewhere is losing their commercial marbles.
Not that I'm complaining, of course. For prices that look like a disaster for stores and manufacturers inevitably look rather like a bargain to your average, cash-strapped punter. So let's just hope the 26AV505DB can serve up a side order of good performance standards to go with its wallet-lovingly low £299 price. For if it can it could well be that more than a few Christmas stockings around the UK will be bulging with a decidedly rectangular 26in shape come December 25th.
It has to be said, though, that the 26AV505DB to some extent looks its money. For starters, it has no truck whatsoever with the current fad towards slenderness, sticking out further round the back than most new 50in TVs. It also feels a touch flimsy in its vaguely glossy plastic bodywork. To be fair, though, the TV's actual sculpting, while hardly something Michelangelo would be proud of, is at least cute enough to prevent the set from actually offending the eye.
When it comes to connections, the 26AV505DB betrays its budget roots a little by only including two HDMI inputs when we're increasingly starting to expect three as standard. What's more, it compounds this by not providing a D-Sub PC port, meaning that anyone wanting to double the 26AV505DB up as a computer monitor will have to use one of the precious HDMIs.
However, while not ideal, these limitations are arguably just about acceptable for the second room scenario most 26in TVs will probably find themselves in. And there is at least a component video input (as demanded by the HD Ready specification) to provide an analogue alternative to the two digital HD and progressive scan inputs.
As you'd expect of such a remarkably affordable TV with only a 26in screen, the 26AV505DB's resolution is only an HD Ready 1,366 x 768 rather than a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080. However, one of the TV's other key specifications, its contrast ratio, is actually far better than I'd have dreamed possible on a £300 26in TV. In fact, the 30,000:1 claimed figure humbles many LCD TVs sitting much higher up the TV shopping tree.
Of course, claimed contrast ratio figures always have to be treated with a pinch of salt, given the lack of any industry consistency in how they're measured. But at the very least the 30,000:1 figure Toshiba is claiming here reveals that the TV is using a dynamic backlight system to boost its black level response - an important feature that I wouldn't necessarily have taken as a given at the 26AV505DB's price level.