Standard definition pictures on the 32XV505DB really don’t look very hot at all, if I’m brutally honest, with the Active Vision LCD processing tending to leave one or two rough edges as it goes about translating standard def PAL content to the screen’s Full HD pixel count. Common ailments include exaggerated MPEG noise, noticeably more motion blur than you tend to see with HD, and a slightly unstable, flickery look to proceedings that might, perhaps, have been stopped if the set had 100Hz processing.
Actually, once I’d noticed this flicker on standard definition, I also occasionally spotted it with HD, such as in the trees and the battlefield of the long-distance shots of the English Army about to charge Wallace and his motley Scottish crew in the first battle.
A similar thing happened with the TV’s colour toning. It was during standard def viewing that I first became aware of some slightly strange colour toning issues, especially in low-quality digital feeds, and once I’d ‘tuned in’ to the problem I also found slight colour problems with HD footage. For instance, some skin tones look slightly orange or salmony, while some greens tend to look rather washed out.
What’s more, in standard def mode some skin tones can look a little patchy, as the MPEG blocking prevents the TV delivering the sort of ultra-smooth colour blends a Full HD TV might normally be expected to produce.
Obviously I tried to counter these blocking issues with the TV’s MPEG noise reduction circuits, but in order to reduce the digital artefacts to the sort of level I was happy with, the processing had to soften the picture too much for comfort.
When it comes to audio, the 32XV505DB is in the same boat as the 32CV505DB. Which is to say that it sounds rather average, truth be told, as a wide soundstage and solid amount of bass are countered by an over-crowded mid-range, a slight lack of raw power, and even a tendency to suffer cabinet hums when pushed really hard.
I’d thoroughly expected to find the 32XV505DB, with its Full HD pixel count, winning me over even more easily than the cheaper, HD Ready 32CV505DB. But for me, it’s the CV model that’s the more pleasing proposition overall – especially when you consider that the 32in market is more likely to still be watching predominantly standard def fare on their new TVs than the people buying the really big-screen stuff.