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Inevitably for its money, the 26AV615DB hasn't managed to include Toshiba's impressive Resolution+ system for boosting standard definition pictures. But that's certainly not to say that its standard def pictures aren't decent. For while they aren't as crisp looking as standard def images that have gone through Resolution+, they're still sharp, bright and noiseless enough to be very enjoyable for the vast majority of the time.
Before you start thinking this is all sounding too good to be true, though, there are a few problems to report as well. The biggest problem is that colours don't always look completely natural. Rich reds and greens, in particular, can look over-saturated and slightly off-key, and one or two skin tones come off a little salmony too.
Another issue is that while black levels are good, dark parts of the picture can look rather empty as the TV fails to resolve as much shadow detail as I'd like. And finally, while motion blur isn't much of an issue at all with high definition sources, it's a little more troublesome with standard definition. Also, while watching Blu-rays (in 1080i, since 1080p/24 isn't supported), I detected quite marked judder during camera pans.
The 26AV615DB's audio is about par for the 26in TV course, in that it sounds absolutely fine with typical daytime TV fare, but lacks basic power and dynamic range when showing anything raucous, with the result that the soundstage becomes rather flat and muddy.
While Toshiba's 26AV615DB isn't perfect, it's certainly very encouraging. Some impressive aspects of its performance clearly suggest that some of the key areas of picture improvement currently making their presence felt in many of 2009's large LCD screens are filtering down to the smaller, cheaper end of the market, too.
In fact, if you're after an affordable 26in TV, 26AV615DB simply screams to be added to your shortlist. However, there is just one odd little thing to bear in mind before you rush out to buy one; namely that according to our own price hunts, you can actually get the 32in version of this TV for less money than this 26in model. Weird!