As I set about unboxing and connecting up Toshiba's 32AV555DB, I can't decide whether to feel excited or disappointed. For while, on the one hand, its £335.55 price is eye-bulgingly low for a new 32in LCD TV from an established brand, I also can't help but feel a bit sad that the set isn't one of Toshiba's new Resolution+ models I've been gagging to get my hands on ever since they were first unveiled at August's IFA show in Berlin.
Oh well. With a credit crunch Christmas looming, maybe it's better to be focussing on the cheaper rather than the fancier things in home cinema life. So let's just knuckle down to find out if the 32AV555DB is really as great value as it first appears, or whether its aggressive pricing comes with too many compromises for comfort.
Aesthetically it's kind of funky - and I'm using the word funky in its ‘cool groove' rather than ‘smelly' interpretation. Its high-gloss lustre is given added lift by the curves around the edges of its bezel, resulting in a screen that looks from a sensible distance much less plasticky than it really is.
It's rather ‘bare bones' when it comes to connections, though - it only manages two HDMIs when we're really looking for three as standard these days. It's also worth noting that the 32AV555DB doesn't carry a dedicated S-Video input or, worse, a D-SUB PC input. One of the HDMIs is configured to deliver PC compatibility, to be fair - but this compatibility is very limited and the TV isn't guaranteed to work with every PC it gets hooked up to.
Happily the slight sense of disappointment raised by the 32AV555DB's connections is soon forgotten once I start to get to grips with the surprisingly extensive features Toshiba has managed to retain on the 32AV555DB despite its lowly price. For starters, the set manages a version of Toshiba's Active Vision LCD image processing system, when really we wouldn't have been at all surprised to find no significant image processing at all considering how cheap it is.
As if that wasn't enough, the TV's spec list also shows that it carries Faroudja's DCDi system. This deinterlaces the image and blends rough edges in diagonal lines, to reduce that jagged, noisy look that otherwise tends to afflict standard def pictures.