Two key features of higher-specced Toshiba TVs that the 26AV505DB certainly does NOT have, though, are any sort of 100Hz processing, and Toshiba’s Active Vision LCD system, with its focus on improving colours, details, contrast and motion handling. Hopefully the loss of these two important video processing tools won’t be felt too keenly.
Heading into the TV’s slightly small onscreen menus reveals that the 26AV505DB isn’t wholly without user tweaks, though. You can, for instance, opt to deactivate the dynamic backlight system if you’re finding its brightness dimming (during dark scenes) too aggressive or distracting. There’s also a 3D Colour Management tool that lets you tweak the individual colour elements of the overall picture, as well as both standard and MPEG noise reduction routines, various thematic picture presets, and a contrast booster.
What really matters about the 26AV505DB, though, is that its picture performance is very far indeed from the disaster ground I’d feared it might be.
The proof of this can be seen in three key areas: black levels, motion handling and colour response. For while not actually excelling in any of these crucial departments, the 26AV505DB certainly handles them better than any of the uber-budget competition.
With black levels, for instance, while there’s definitely a degree of greyness over dark scenes, such as the one in ”Batman Begins” where The Scarecrow sprays his hallucinogen into Batman’s face, that degree of greyness isn’t severe enough to really disconnect you from what you’re watching. It just hides a few background shadow details and leaves dark scenes marginally short of depth versus the best LCD TVs – none of which is remotely unacceptable for the 26AV505DB’s money.
Especially since there’s also precious little evidence of overt backlight ‘jumping’ caused by the dynamic backlight, and no sign of the dreaded backlight pooling problems that have so blighted one or two other TVs I’ve seen recently.
In terms of motion, again it’s a matter of degrees. For while there certainly is evidence of motion blur, with both standard and high definition sources, it’s seldom if ever really nastily distracting. In fact, it’s minimal enough that you kind of get used to it over time. So while I would obviously have loved 100Hz processing or something similar to keep motion blur out completely, the absence of such features doesn’t seem too high a price to pay for the 26AV505DB’s raw affordability.