The first model from Toshiba’s new 2010 TV range, the 40LV713DB, is both refreshing and slightly disturbing all at the same time.
What’s refreshing is its sheer simplicity: it’s a no-nonsense, stripped down TV built with at least one eye always on its final, eye-catchingly cheap price (we’ve found it going for just £550).
What’s slightly disturbing is the sight of a brand as respected as Toshiba continuing to flog the price pony for all its worth, rather than using its undoubted talents to try and make some much-needed margin at higher levels of the TV marketplace. We know the brand did some serious volumes of sales last year on the back of its aggressive pricing strategy, but can any brand get by on volume alone in these still dark and gloomy times?
For with our pure consumer hat firmly on, the bottom line is that the 40LV713DB’s £550 price tag provides you with a ridiculously affordable way to get your hands on 40in of surprisingly good LCD picture quality.
Not that the 40LV713DB exactly had us at hello, though. For actually, we found its design rather cumbersome, thanks to the large expanse of glossy but overtly plasticky bezel that sprawls out from the screen’s edges. Not to put too fine a point on it, the 40LV713DB looks kind of cheap.
Its connections have a couple of unpleasant surprises up their sleeves too. First, there are only three HDMIs when most of Toshiba’s budget models last year managed four. And second, there’s no Ethernet jack, which can mean only one thing: the set doesn’t carry a Freeview HD tuner.
This won’t matter much, of course, if you’ve already got a Sky or Freesat HD installation supplying you with your HD goodies. But we suspect it might be enough to immediately put off a chunk of those people in the UK lucky enough to live in a Freeview HD reception area.
The lack of Ethernet provision also means that the TV has no DLNA support or online features, leaving as its only significant multimedia talents its carriage of a VGA PC port and a USB input that can play JPEG stills and MP3 music files.