If there's one trend that stands out above all others in the TV world right now, it's eco-friendliness. So it's no great surprise to find Toshiba joining the green fray with the 42RV635D: a 42in LCD TV that carries a special 'Eco-Panel' designed to run at a lower wattage than your typical LCD panels. Which is all well and good, of course, so long as the set's bid to save the planet doesn't end up spoiling its picture quality!
The home for the new Eco panel is similar to the decently attractive design found on Toshiba's cheaper 37AV635D, reviewed last week. Which is to say that a pleasantly slender bezel is finished in a very high gloss black, with a rather fancy illuminated Toshiba logo standing out boldly along the bottom edge. The only differences are that the 42RV635's desktop stand is a bit smaller and cooler, and that there's a gradual fade to grey in a 2cm or so section of the 42RV635's bottom edge, above a strikingly - or should that be worryingly?! - slim speaker grille. I should probably add here for anyone wincing at the thought of a luminous Toshiba logo that the illumination can be deactivated.
The 42RV635D is well connected for its money, with highlights of four HDMIs, a D-Sub PC input, and a USB port that can play JPEG pictures. I guess it would have been nice if the USB jack could have handled MP3s and video files too, but that's probably not a very reasonable expectation given how cheap the 42RV635D is.
Driving the eco panel, meanwhile, is Toshiba's MetaBrain technology. This includes two key video processing elements: Toshiba's Active Vision II engine, and Resolution+.
Briefly, for those of you not familiar with these two systems, Active Vision II is one of those 'all-purpose', multi-faceted picture processors that pretty much every brand now employs on its TVs in one form or another. The more interesting Resolution+ is Toshiba's proprietary - and usually hugely impressive - attempt to turn standard definition pictures into something more akin to high definition by adding resolution and edge definition while keeping a firm lid on video noise.
Another interesting element of the MetaBrain is its AutoView feature, a picture option which looks at both the image content and the amount of ambient light in your room when automatically calculating the picture's optimum brightness and contrast.
The 42RV635D's screen specifications are thoroughly decent for its price point. The native resolution is a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080, while its contrast ratio is reckoned to be 50,000:1 - a considerable leap up from the 37AV635.
The 42RV635D's brightness is only reckoned to be 450cd/m2 versus the 500cd/m2 of the 37AV635D, a reflection, perhaps, of the RV series' Eco Panel design. But I wouldn't expect this to be a problem in any but the brightest of viewing rooms. In fact, it's entirely possible that the 42RV635D's lower light output will actually improve pictures, by making it possible to produce dark scenes with less of the grey misting problem still common on LCD TVs - especially affordable ones.