As we would expect, the 32CV505DB’s much-improved black levels also help the set deliver much-improved colours. The same extreme vibrancy and fullness of saturation found on the majority of Tosh’s last-generation LCDs is still there, but now there appears to be a greater tonal range that helps the often tricky skin tones in ”Master and Commander” all look engagingly believable.
The HD image looks pleasingly sharp, too, for a set without a Full HD resolution, suggesting that the scaling undertaken by the Active Vision LCD system is of a pretty high quality.
It doesn’t do any harm to the image’s sharpness, either, that the picture is less troubled by LCD’s smearing problem than I’d have anticipated for under £500. Sure, action scenes like the climactic boarding of the French war vessel Acheron towards ”Master and Commander’s” conclusion do exhibit some resolution loss as the actors charge about. But it really isn’t at all severe.
It’s a relief, too, to find the picture looking crisp and relatively noise-free when watching standard definition – an achievement that seemed beyond many of Toshiba’s previous LCD generation, even the high-end models.
The 32CV505DB’s pictures do betray one or two signs of its budget nature. I’ve already mentioned that there’s a trace of motion blur – more, at any rate, than you’d get with a good 100Hz LCD TV. But also, while dark scenes enjoy superbly deep black levels, sometimes the darkest bits look a touch hollow, thanks to an inability of the screen to resolve the subtlest bits of shadow detailing.
The set’s 24p playback isn’t quite as smooth as it might be either, and finally the screen occasionally makes exceptionally bright picture segments look a little drained of colour. But even added together these relatively minor flaws only place a pretty small dent in my otherwise overwhelmingly positive impressions.
When it comes to audio, the 32CV505DB is not as accomplished as it is with its pictures. It tries quite hard, with SRS WOW processing and a bass booster on hand to give the sound more ‘poke’, and it produces quite a wide soundstage. But the bottom line is that the speakers themselves just don’t have enough raw power – or, more specifically, dynamic range – to really deliver a decent film soundtrack with much conviction. Too much audio information is crammed into the mid-range, leading to slightly soupy bass and moments of actual distortion and cabinet vibration, especially when handling some low-pitched male voices.
Despite being a touch disappointing on the audio front, I really like the 32CV505DB. After all, it also delivers great connectivity, plenty of features and, best of all, cracking picture quality for a knock-down price. Here’s hoping it’s just the first of many new Toshiba TVs that will help put the once reliable brand’s slightly tarnished reputation well and truly back on track.
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