The same can’t be said for the 22DV713B’s onscreen menu system, which is slightly disappointing by Toshiba standards in terms of both presentation and content. The main presentation issues are that the text is - unnecessarily - too small to be comfortably readable from a distance, and that there’s too much menu scrolling. We didn’t like the way the TV changed channel each time we shifted to a new programme on the EPG listings either - especially as this makes surfing the EPG feel unduly sluggish.
As for content, we’ve become spoiled by other TVs in Toshiba’s range into expecting startlingly expansive feature counts. But on the 22DV713B, the only processing tricks we could find, for instance, are a basic noise reduction tool, a mode for having the picture adjust itself to the monitored light levels in your room, and a ‘DynaLight’ function that automatically adjusts picture settings based on the picture content being shown. All features which are pretty much standard LCD TV issue these days.
There’s nothing like the same flexibility witnessed with many Toshiba TVs, either, when it comes to tweaking the look of the 22DV713B’s pictures. The only pleasing finding is an option to adjust the backlight output as well as the more standard contrast and brightness controls.
Kicking off our assessment of the 22DV713B’s performance with Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD, it’s an immediate relief to find the disc slot much more willing to take in discs than Sharp’s scarily stubborn 22DV200E. This is even the case if you haven’t pre-selected the 22DV713B’s DVD ‘channel’; you just pop a disc in the slot, and the TV automatically switches into DVD playback mode.
Oddly the TV frequently refused to go into anamorphic widescreen mode with DVDs until the main film started to play (staying 4:3 for trailers and menus) - and also didn’t always auto-adjust to the right aspect ratio with some widescreen signals from an attached Sky HD box, come to that. But this is a relatively minor irritation in the great scheme of things.
In picture quality terms, the 22DV713B’s DVD playback is generally impressive for such a cheap TV - though there are certainly shortcomings.
The biggest strengths are the image’s brightness and surprisingly natural colour palette. Sub-26in LCD screens frequently come a cropper in both these departments, but the 22DV713B pumps out enough lumens to work within a kitchen or even conservatory environment without over-cooking colours.
This means that while the colour palette on show is certainly vibrant - with excellent rendering, for instance, of the rich red soldier coats in Pirates... - subtle fair like skin tones and vegetation are handled with unexpected authenticity.
Pictures look decently if not spectacularly sharp on the 1,366 x 768 screen too (with a rider we’ll come back to in a moment), and images look pleasingly stable thanks to a general absence of overt MPEG decoding noise or the slight twitching witnessed with low-quality DVD players.