The missing Freeview HD tuner does not, however, signal a dearth of features in general on the 40LV713DB. It’s got a Full HD resolution, for instance, and it carries a slightly ageing version of Toshiba’s solid, all-purpose Active Vision picture processing.
Then there’s the startling amount of image setup flexibility contained within the 40LV713DB’s onscreen menus. Particularly amazing for £550 is the set’s provision of a genuine colour management system, allowing you to adjust the hue, brightness and saturation of the six main colour constituents, as well as the gain value of the red, green and blue colour components.
But we also got plenty of calibration mileage out of separate backlight and brightness adjustments; a Cinema Mode for enhanced playback of film sources; an adjustable colour transient improvement tool; and something called an Adaptive Luma Control, which can be set to any of 10 levels of potency, and automatically adjusts the contrast and brightness levels in response to the content of the image being shown at any given moment.
The fact that we even get to mention the word ‘calibration’ in a review of a £550 40in LCD TV is quite something. Especially as our calibration efforts actually yield real results, helping the 40LV713DB produce pictures way above its price station.
Two things, in particular, allow the 40LV713DB’s pictures to stand out from the usually very underwhelming sub-£550, big-screen LCD crowd.
First, its colours are excellent: vibrant, subtle when it comes to showing blends and tone shifts, and usually natural in tone once you’ve calibrated away the out-of-the-box tendency to push pinks and skin-tones too aggressively. This marks a considerable improvement over the slightly muted look to colours of Toshiba’s 2009 budget models, and actually allows the 40LV713DB to stand proud in colour terms against TVs costing hundreds of pounds more.
Second, and much better than is common so far down the TV price index are the 40LV713DB’s black levels. Again there’s a clear step forward from last year, resulting in dark scenes that suffer with only minor amounts of low-contrast grey clouding.
Furthermore, the backlight appears very even across the whole screen, avoiding the sort of backlight consistency distractions that frequently blight some cheap – and some not so cheap! – LCD TVs.
More good news finds the 40LV713DB’s pictures looking much brighter post calibration than the rather muted images noted with last year’s budget Toshiba models. Also, high definition sources are presented with likeable sharpness and plenty of fine detail, and this sense of crispness and cleanliness with HD material only breaks down slightly with motion-packed scenes, despite the fact that it’s only a 50Hz TV.