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Exploring the 32RV635DB’s slightly bland onscreen menus, meanwhile, continues the already-growing sense that this is a TV with far more to offer than you’d ever guess from its lowly price point. For instance, Toshiba has installed a surprisingly effective colour management system, with which you can play about with the settings of not just the red, green and blue primary picture elements, but also the cyan, magenta and yellow ‘secondary’ ones.
Also initially intriguing if ultimately a little pointless is a Control Visualisation option that calls up a couple of graphs showing, in real time, the effects of various parts of the TV’s processing.
For yes, even at £349 the 32RV635DB comes with video processing. And plenty of it, actually, underneath the wonderfully sci-fi heading of Meta Brain.
There are two key elements to the Meta Brain. For me the most interesting of these is Toshiba’s proprietary Resolution+ system for boosting the resolution of standard definition sources. With 10 separate levels of ‘heaviness’, this processing system is streets ahead of any rescaling engine employed by any other budget TV at the moment. In fact, it can be way too powerful if you’re not careful, causing overt noise and all sorts of unpleasantness. But that’s only if you leave it set too high; at around its two or three level, it renders standard definition images with markedly more sharpness than they show without the feature engaged, yet noise levels hardly increase at all.
The other main part of the Meta Brain is Toshiba’s Active Vision II. This processor actually works on a wider selection of picture elements than Resolution+, and delivers marked benefits in all of them, especially contrast. But at the same time I personally find it slightly less interesting than Resolution+, for the simple reason that it doesn’t do anything significantly better than similar ‘utility’ processing engines on other manufacturers’ screens.
The 32RV635DB’s pictures clearly improve on those of Toshiba’s 32AV635D entry-level model - despite the 32AV635D already being good for its lowly point in the market.
Black levels, in particular, are startlingly decent for a £349 32in TV, as dark scenes suffer with little greyness relative to similarly priced rivals. The darkest parts of pictures don’t look as crushed as I would have expected either, leaving at least a bit of shadow detail visible to help dark scenes achieve a sense of depth. The only thing about the 32RV635DB’s black levels, in fact, which is ‘strictly budget’, is the heavy extent to which they’re reduced if you have to watch the screen from any significant angle.