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Toshiba 32C3030D 32in LCD TV
To be honest, we weren't originally intending to review the 32C3030D, having already cast our eye over its bigger, 42in sibling, the 42C3030D, a few months ago. But apparently the 32in model is selling like the proverbial hot cakes - hardly surprising now that a recent round of price cutting means it can be had for under £450. So as it's clearly a model that's got you lot in something of a lather, we thought we'd better check it out after all - especially since it's entirely possible that by being 10in smaller it might avoid some of the picture pitfalls that made the 42C3030D a slightly uninspiring affair.
Looking at the 32C3030D, it's likely that it's not just the price that's attracting punters' attention. For its minimalist black and unusually slender chassis cuts an appealing dash that stands out from a generally more expensive LCD crowd.
There's no serious sign of price-induced compromise when it comes to connections, either. Two HDMIs lead the charge, both able - rather excellently - to handle the 1080p top-level HD format which enjoys such currency now that it's being output by a few Blu-ray and HD DVD decks.
Joining these talented HDMIs are component video inputs, all the paraphernalia associated with a digital tuner, a D-Sub PC port, and a digital audio output for shipping multichannel audio signals (received via the HDMIs) on to an AV receiver. There's even a subwoofer line-out should you wish to add more bass to the TV's audio capabilities.
Not surprisingly for a 32in LCD with such a puny price tag, the 32C3030D is not a full HD model. Instead it sports a typical HD Ready pixel count of 1,366 x 768. But its other key quoted specification, its contrast ratio, actually looks rather good at 4,000:1, raising hopes of black levels rather deeper and more credible than those usually found at this budget end of the market.
It's worth noting, though, that as with the vast majority of LCD TVs, this contrast ratio is only made possible by a dynamic backlight system which automatically reduces the image's brightness during dark scenes to improve black level response. This means we'll have to be on the look out for OTT reductions in the image's overall brightness, or visible brightness ‘jumps' if the backlight adjustments aren't subtle or fast enough.
Given that the 32C3030D sits right at bottom of Toshiba's current LCD range, we're pleased to find that it still clings on to Toshiba's Active Vision LCD processing engine. Designed to boost black levels, colour response, motion handling and fine detail, among other lesser items, we've seen Active Vision deliver some eminently respectable results in the past. So hopefully it will here, too.