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While it's Toshiba's new ‘ZV555' LCD TVs that are getting all the headlines right now thanks to their generally impressive Resolution+ image processing, they're certainly not the only potentially appealing TVs in Toshiba's latest LCD range. The RV555 series, as modelled today by the 37in 37RV555D, also looks to offer an eye-catching combination of aggressive pricing and decent specification.
Heading up that specification is Toshiba's Active Vision M100 picture processing. This is significant for two reasons. First, the Active Vision part tells us that the 37RV555D sports Toshiba's proprietary multi-purpose image processing engine, which turns its hand to improving everything from colour tones to sharpness levels. The M100 part, meanwhile, shows that the TV carries 100Hz processing, which regular readers will know doubles the usual 50Hz PAL refresh rate in a bid to reduce the impact of LCD's motion blurring tendencies.
Both of these processing tricks, especially the 100Hz, are nice findings on such an affordable 37in TV. There's no 100Hz, don't forget, on Sony's recently reviewed 37in rival, the still rather good KDL-37V4000.
The 37RV555D scores another notable coup over the 37V4000 by being compatible with Blu-ray's 1080p/24 format, via a 5:5 pulldown ‘translation'. Though of course, this is not enough in itself to guarantee a great Blu-ray performance. It's just a good start.
Yet another on-paper advantage for the 37RV555D over its Sony rival is its native resolution. For it boasts a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels versus the mere HD Ready 1,366 x 768 of the Sony. And it's looking pretty promising on the contrast front too, if a good-looking 18,000:1 claimed contrast ratio turns out to be in any way realistic.
Aesthetically, the 37RV555D is decent enough; its glossy finish and slender bezel ensure it certainly doesn't look like a clunker, at any rate. Though it's notable that its rather uninspiring rectangular desktop stand isn't as glam as the ‘boomerang' effort sported by the costlier ZV555 models.
The 37RV555D's connections include a perfectly respectable three HDMIs, a D-Sub PC terminal, component video inputs, a digital audio line-out, and one of those subwoofer line-outs that's currently unique to Toshiba.
My first real problem with the 37RV555D occurs when I start trawling through its onscreen menus. For starters they're far too small, being difficult to read from any sort of viewing distance, and also a touch long-winded to wander around.
Shame, then, that you might be tempted to use them quite regularly by the decent selection of features they contain. Heading these up is some surprisingly sophisticated colour management, via which you can adjust the hue, saturation and brightness of the red, green, blue, yellow, magenta and cyan colour components.