Things in the AV world don't always turn out as you expect them to. For instance, while we would have expected a couple of mainstream brands to adjust their marketing approach in response to the lack of cash swilling around the economy, we might have expected a traditional value brand like JVC to shift its focus downwards, selling TVs on the cheap, while traditionally high-quality brand Toshiba would aim for the high ground.
As it turns out, we've got JVC consistently going up-market with its products, while Toshiba has actually been surprisingly successful at serving up decent TVs on the cheap. A trend that continues today with Toshiba's 19in 19AV615DB.
In fact, at £189.00 the 19AV615DB is strikingly cheap even by the standard of Toshiba's recent wallet-friendly output. Yet it doesn't look particularly cheap, thanks to a surprisingly robust chassis, glossy finish and some gentle curves at the screen's extremities.
The set's connections, meanwhile, are perfectly acceptable for the money, if not exactly inspirational. Which is to say you get a single HDMI input, a PC input, a composite video input, a component video input, and a single, RGB-capable SCART.
Obviously a second HDMI, in particular, would have been nice. But let's remind ourselves of that £190 price tag, and move swiftly on.
Heading into the 19AV615DB's onscreen menus immediately creates a sense of relief, as it turns out they're thankfully not the unreadably small, spidery affairs found on some stupid small TVs. In fact, they're very cleanly and attractively presented, as well as containing far more adjustments and options than I'd have expected given the set's price.
Highlights of what's available include a multi-level noise reduction system, a reasonably healthy collection of thematic picture presets, a flesh tone booster, the rather fancily-monikered Adaptive Luma Control (which adjusts the brightness and contrast automatically based on the content of the picture), and even a multi-level colour transient improvement circuit, for boosting the sharpness of edges around colourful objects.
Even the audio gets an unexpected - and likely hilariously optimistic - feature boost in the form of a surround sound processor. Though it's hard to imagine how this will sound anything other than horrible given the set's mere 2 x 3W of audio power.