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Toshiba Regza 37AV635D 37in LCD TV - Toshiba Regza 37AV635D
And so, after much more feature-related delay than expected, we come to the moment of truth. Does its MetaBrain, more specifically Resolution+ processing, make the 37AV635 the bargain dream machine I'd been hoping for?
With day-to-day standard definition TV fare, the answer is a qualified yes. For as I'd hoped, Resolution+ works its magic in producing standard definition pictures that look remarkably sharper than they normally would. What makes Resolution+ really clever, though, is how it manages to add so much extra sharpness and detail to standard definition pictures without adding or emphasising video noise aside from some very slight over-stressing of one or two high-contrast edges.
Thanks to the noiselessness of its detail-boosting efforts, the 37AV635 can justifiably claim to deliver the most HD-like standard definition pictures ever seen from a mass market TV. Honestly.
Happily it's not just the extra Resolution+-inspired sharpness that helps standard definition pictures shine, either. Provided you stick with the Standard image preset for the most part - or even better, image settings you've calibrated yourself, if you can be bothered - the 37AV635 delivers colours that combine vibrancy with natural tones and surprisingly subtle colour blends for a TV that lacks the pixel density of Full HD screens.
I was also pretty impressed by the 37AV635D's handling of motion considering there's no 100Hz engine in play, as even the flying fists and feet of a lightweight boxing match didn't succumb to any distracting levels of either blur or judder.
Finally, I felt that the set's black levels looked more than adequate for most standard definition needs, giving pictures dynamism and punch.
Unfortunately, though, the set's black level response doesn't hold together when I shift my attention to the more extreme contrast demands of a Blu-ray movie or two. Even with the Backlight setting cranked down as low as 20 - a level which inevitably removes quite a bit of brightness from the image, and should probably only be used in a darkened room - black parts of the picture look slightly bleached by the appearance of the LCD clouding issue still so common with LCD technology. This drastically reduces the dynamism of dark scenes, as well as making them feel a bit one-dimensional thanks to the way the greyness - and the lack of brightness in the picture with black levels optimised - obscures subtle shadow detailing.
Making the set's black level response problems worse is the fact that its viewing angle is very limited, even by LCD's usual unimpressive standards. Watch from even as little as a 30-degree angle and both contrast and colour start to drop out of the picture quite markedly.