Review Price free/subscription
This might seem a rather trivial way to start a review, but you just don't get illuminated logos on TVs costing less than £400. Such niceties are always reserved for costly premium models, to make sure no casual onlookers can be in doubt that such TVs are 'special'. Yet, as I write, I'm looking at Toshiba's 32AV635D: a 32in LCD TV available for just under £395. And the Toshiba logo along the bottom edge is definitely glowing at me.
The reason I've decided to make such a big deal out of this merely aesthetic issue is simply this: that it provides a neat visual encapsulation of the TV's uncanny ability to perform above its price in almost every area. For instance, the rest of the TV's design beyond that luminous logo looks anything but cheap in its glossy black finish and strikingly angular lines. Then there are the 32AV635D's connections, which remarkably include a startling four HDMIs, a dedicated D-Sub PC port, and even a USB jack for playing back digital photos onto the TV's screen.
The good times continues to roll with the discovery that the 32AV635D houses a Meta Brain inside its slender body. This, if you've missed other recent Toshiba reviews we've carried on this site, is the groovy marketing 'cover-all' name for a suite of video processing options that includes Active Vision II and Resolution+.
Active Vision II is one of those multi-purpose (colours, motion, contrast, detail and so on) processing engines found under various catchy names on the sets of practically every TV brand worth a damn these days. But Resolution+ is much more interesting. For it applies techniques derived from Toshiba's PC cell processing technology to do a better job, in my opinion, of upscaling standard definition to the screen's high definition resolution than any other similar system at anything like the 32AV635D's price point. More on this later.
Another interesting trick on the 32AV635D is its AutoView mode, which combines continual analysis of both the ambient light conditions of your room and the brightness level of the image content to create an optimum image setting. You can even monitor what the TV's processing is up to via a couple of onscreen graphs.
An advanced picture settings menu, meanwhile, provides a remarkably extensive colour management system, black/white level adjustment, a static gamma adjustment, and separate MPEG and standard noise reduction systems.
After all this, I had to pinch myself to be sure that I really was finding so many features on such a cut-price TV!
In fact, with a respectable 18,000:1 contrast ratio claim to its name, the only serious up-front indication of the 32AV635D's cheap and cheerful market position is its 1,366 x 768 (HD Ready) rather than 1,920 x 1,080 (Full HD) resolution.