As with the vast majority of Toshiba’s current LCD range, the 42AV635DB wears its heart right out there on its sleeve. Where ‘sleeve’ really means ‘price tag’. For its core appeal is quite simply its provision of a 42in screen for under - substantially under - £500.
Remarkably the 42AV635DB’s £480 price tag doesn’t make it far and away the cheapest 42in TV around though; as we’ll cover later, there are a number of rival screens hovering around for only a few quid more. But of course, if this Toshiba has enough performance and/or feature appeal to stand out from the budget pack, it still has every chance of ending up a serious bargain.
As I’ve noted with reviews of other Toshiba TVs of late, the 42AV635DB’s design does a respectable job of hiding its extreme cheapness - at least from a distance. In other words, while the black frame is glossy and slim enough to look like it should be wrapped round a much more costly TV, once you get up close and personal the finish looks - and feels - a bit on the plasticky side.
A close investigation of the 42AV635DB’s connections, however, again reveals little if anything that might give away the set’s wallet-friendly nature. There are four HDMIs, for instance, when some sets costing hundreds of pounds more only offer three. Plus there’s a dedicated PC port, and a USB jack that can play JPEG photos straight through on to the screen. There’s no support for video or music files via USB, but this can be found further up the Toshiba range, and the JPEG ‘limitation’ is more than acceptable for the 42AV635DB’s money.
Unlike the merely HD Ready 37AV635D, meanwhile, the 42AV635DB enjoys a Full HD resolution - something not found on at least some of the competition I mentioned in passing earlier. Panasonic’s X10 plasma series, for instance, is only HD Ready.
Considering that the 42AV635DB marks Toshiba’s entry-level 42in TV, it’s quite surprising to find it still carrying a reasonably potent suite of video processing. This doesn’t run to 100Hz, naturally, but Toshiba’s twin Resolution+ and Active Vision II have both survived the cost cutting process.
Resolution+, as regular readers will now hopefully be aware, is an unusually potent (for this low in the market) system for upscaling standard definition to fill an HD resolution screen. Active Vision II is rather less interesting so far as I’m concerned, as it’s really just Toshiba’s name for the sort of mostly unremarkable general purpose video boosting engine found in some form or other on almost any TV these days.
The amount of processing going on in the 42AV635DB is sufficient, in fact, to justify the set’s retention of Toshiba’s little Control Visualisation trick, whereby you can monitor the weight and type of the processing being applied via a couple of continually updating graphs.
Neither of these graphs gets much of an explanation in the instruction manual, mind you, limiting their usefulness. But there’s still something strangely reassuring about sitting there watching a TV as cheap as the 42AV635DB clearly doing something processing-wise to the picture on a continual basis. It kind of makes you feel like you’re getting more bang for your buck!