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Whatever else we might end up saying about the 52XV555DB, one thing we can say with absolute certainty right away is that it's remarkably affordable. Not so long ago an LCD TV bigger than 40-42in would have set you back an arm and a leg, yet here's a 52in LCD TV - with a Full HD resolution to boot - that can be yours for comfortably under £1,000. Crazy. But in a good way.
Obviously any 50in-plus TV will make a pretty dramatic impact on any room it appears in. But there's something especially imposing about the 52XV555DB, thanks to the groovy slight convex curve in the set's highly-glossed black bezel, a neat silver trim around its outside, and finally the bold, almost toy-like lines of its desktop stand. Somehow it manages to look fun and serious all at the same time.
It's adequately connected for its money too, with three HDMIs (two on the back, one down the side) standing out, as well as a D-Sub PC port, and an optical audio output for shipping digital audio feeds from the built-in Freeview tuner. Obviously in an ideal world a fourth HDMI and some kind of multimedia port (USB, SD slot) would have been appreciated, but I guess something has had to go to hit the £975 price.
The XV part of its name reveals the 52XV555DB to be from the lower-middle section of Toshiba's current range. Which means that it doesn't have 100Hz processing, or the impressive Resolution+ standard def-boosting technology found on the brand's new ZV series.
It does, though, have Active Vision LCD, Toshiba's generally affable if hardly inspirational video processing engine. Impressive for the 52XV555DB's money, too, is a colour management system that lets you adjust hue, saturation and brightness levels of the red, green, blue, yellow, magenta and cyan picture elements rather than merely tweaking them automatically, as usually happens with colour management tools on budget TVs.
Also appreciated is the option to turn on or off the set's dynamic backlight engine, which adjusts the set's light output in response to the brightness of a particular scene; an auto contrast system that adjusts the picture in response to the light levels in your room; and an MPEG noise reduction system.
The only other two features of the 52XV555DB worth a mention are a 24fps mode for enhanced Blu-ray playback, and a respectable - though hardly world-beating - claimed dynamic contrast ratio of 30,000:1.
As I start reviewing the set's performance, I can't help but be concerned about how its standard definition pictures will hold up. After all, aside from its Resolution+ TVs, Toshiba has struggled slightly to deliver really likeable standard definition pictures with its recent LCD TVs. And any similar weaknesses on the 52XV555DB will surely only be exaggerated by the sheer enormity of its screen.
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