A quest for other features inevitably leads to an exhaustive trawl through the 32C3030D’s onscreen menus – and highlights the first big problem we have with the TV. For navigating the dated-looking menus is made into a really quite irritating experience by a remote control that responds painfully sluggishly to your button presses. At least things aren’t as bad as with some of Toshiba’s previous remote control howlers, but we still winced every time we were forced to tinker with a setting or two.
Anyway, if you can be bothered to hunt for them the main highlights include MPEG noise reduction for reducing the blocky look to low-bandwidth digital broadcasts; the ability to switch the colour tone to something more suited to PC than video playback; and the facility to fine-tune the colour tone manually to within an inch of its life. Assuming you haven’t got anything better to do, of course!
After the tweaking comes the viewing and it has to be said that watching the 32C3030D doesn’t turn out to be a particularly enjoyable experience either. One particularly severe problem with its picture quality is its black level response. The night-time assault by the Black Pearl on the Fort during the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie on Blu-ray is at times quite difficult to make out, as the tell-tale low-contrast greyness washes over proceedings to an extent that makes the claimed 4,000:1 contrast ratio look laughably optimistic.
As a further knock-on effect of the 32C3030D’s black level shortcomings, dark parts of pictures also look strangely hollow, as the TV fails to resolve subtle background details. Hmm…
As if all this wasn’t troubling enough, the dynamic backlight system that’s supposed to improve black levels goes through its motions too obviously for our liking, occasionally causing the picture to seemingly flicker as the lamp’s output bounces up and down.
And still we’re not done with the problems, as shifting our viewing angle a little to the side – and when we say ‘a little’, we really do only mean around 30-40 degrees off axis – leads to a fairly drastic reduction in the picture’s colour richness and contrast levels.
This phenomenon was once common place on LCD TVs, but we’re really not accustomed to seeing it so overtly now. And curiously it didn’t seem nearly so severe a problem on the 42in version of this set. Go figure. Obviously the problems listed above don’t make the 32C3030D a good friend of dark scenes or living rooms where some of the seating positions are way off to the side.