Trying a few notoriously dark video scenes from other Blu-rays confirmed this problem, revealing how the 32DB833 generally struggles to resolve a deep, rich, believable black colour. Instead dark scenes look greyed over, costing them shadow detail and generally leaving them looking a bit unconvincing - or, at the very least, out of step with the dynamism and authenticity on show with bright scenes.
There’s a vague sense, too, that the central portion of the picture is slightly darker than its edges, but we don’t want to labour this ‘backlight consistency’ issue as it’s really quite slight.
As with most LED TVs, the 32DB833 lets you adjust the set’s backlight separately to the brightness, and we found that if you pushed this backlight setting right back down to well below its half way mark, black levels did improve in terms of looking less greyed over. However, at this point shadow detailing and the vibrancy of bright scenes had really started to take a hit. So in the end we had no choice but to compromise, living with a degree of greyness in dark scenes so as not to spoil the dynamism of bright scenes.
One other little niggle with Blu-ray playback is that pictures can suffer with a little judder - but this isn’t a deal breaker by any means..
Moving away from HD to a DVD and the Freeview tuner, the 32DB833‘s standard def pictures lack sophistication but do actually get the job done decently well in that they look unprocessed, bright, punchy and acceptably sharp. They can look a little gritty and raw, perhaps, and the upscaling engine isn’t particularly expert at removing digital noise from poor source images. But overall we still felt we didn’t really have much to complain about when it came to standard def considering how cheap the TV is.
We certainly did feel a bit aggrieved by the 32DB833’s audio performance, though. For the speakers struggle in vain to make soundtracks from good action Blu-rays sound convincing; they just don’t have the range to deliver any bass depth; or a wide enough mid-range to be able to open up and embrace loud bits with any authority, or any great treble clarity.
While the 32DB833 arguably gets more things right than you might expect given how cheap it is for what it does, we didn’t feel entirely convinced that we’d want to put one in our living rooms. Contrast in particular just doesn’t seem good enough to make this Toshiba a totally satisfying main TV.
As a second room set, though, where its convenience and price are potentially more important than delivering the absolute perfect picture quality, the 32DB833 makes an awful lot of sense. Especially if you or your other half is keen to make adding a TV to a second room as cable- and clutter-free as possible.