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The mysterious ‘People Who Know Such Things' informed me a couple of weeks ago that one of the most searched-for TVs on TrustedReviews was Toshiba's 32AV615D. So since then I've been on a mission to track this model down - resulting in one finally being deposited at my premises earlier this week.
It doesn't take many minutes of research to understand precisely why this set has been garnering so much interest. For a quick online search found it selling via a number of e-tailers for under £300 - a truly stunning price for a 32in TV from an established brand.
In fact, an expanded online search finds that even specialist budget brand Goodmans can only offer a 32in LCD TV for £4 more than this Toshiba. Remarkable stuff! Especially as the 32AV615 doesn't by any means only boast a totally stripped down specification.
We'll get to this specification in a moment, but first we're happy to report that the 32AV615 doesn't wear its extreme cheapness on its sleeve, boasting a design as glossy and unpretentiously attractive as Toshiba's 32AV635 step-up models. You even still get the illuminated Toshiba logo along the bottom edge, for heaven's sake. (Though you can turn this off if you find it vulgar!)
Connections aren't as absolutely bog-standard as I would have anticipated, either. Particularly satisfying for £296 is the presence of three HDMIs where I'd only expected two, and a dedicated PC port.
There's no sign of the USB port found on the 32AV635, so you can't play in JPEG, MP3 and DivX files from USB storage devices. But this is totally acceptable for the 32AV615's money.
More than acceptable for £296, meanwhile, are the screen's HD Ready 1,366 x 768 native resolution, claimed dynamic contrast ratio of 18,000:1, and use of Toshiba's Active Vision video processing system.
Regarding the contrast ratio, you can, of course, find much higher figures if you spend loads more cash. But 18,000:1 nonetheless promises better black levels than you usually find among the budget TV brigade. In fact, finding a dynamic contrast system (where the TV continually adjusts its backlight output in response to the darkness of the pictures being shown) at all is itself by no means a given when you get down to pricing as aggressive this.