This is not the cheapest model in Toshiba's range - that distinction goes to the SD-130 - but at around £50 it's a remarkably affordable deck from such a trusted manufacturer.

And when you look at the spec sheet you'll be even more impressed. Topping the list is PAL progressive scan via component video outputs.

You may argue that someone with a prog scan capable TV will have a bigger budget at their disposal for buying a DVD player,but this deck gives even cost-conscious buyers the option of upgrading to progressive scan in the future,without having too pay much of a premium. (The SD-130 does away with the prog scan if you're not interested.)

Connections at the rear include an RGB Scart output,composite video output and an electrical digital audio out for connection to a home cinema sound system.Stereo audio outs complete the options.

The feature count is fairly comprehensive.There is a zoom,slow motion and frame-by-frame playback, high-speed picture search,PAL/NTSC playback,repeat and A-B repeat play and a program play mode.

Disc compatibility includes R and RW,although the manual states that only -R and -RW versions of recordable DVDs are playable.There's no support for DVD-Audio or SACD, but DiVX files are supported. JPEG images can be displayed in a slideshow format,and the pan-and-zoom feature is available as well.The JPEG Digest function displays nine thumbnail images at a time,making it easier to locate the pictures.

We found this deck to be very easy to use.The manual is uncluttered and actually well written,which is becoming a bit of an anomaly in today's home entertainment world.

The onscreen menu is classy and the remote is one of the most attractive we've seen - a very stylish black and silver affair that sits nicely in your palm.

The 150 turns in a very commendable performance on a range of scenes.We threw a particularly difficult sequence from the classic rugby DVD Living With Lions at the deck and it did well.

There is quite a lot of pixelation, with moving objects and crowd scenes - always difficult for DVDs. However,it did just about as good a job as our much more expensive reference deck.There were a few more digital artefacts in evidence, but not enough to really stand out.

On more forgiving material the Tosh is actually very good.Colours are very rich and have a nice level of depth to them,while the image as a whole is sharp.

Looking at a DiVX file, the picture is obviously less impressive than DVD,but it is a long way above VHS and the old Video CD format.

The Tosh resolves a decent amount of fine detail from DiVX files and presents a very watchable image. It also plays them with a minimum amount of fuss.Trick-play functions do not work quite as smoothly as they do with DVD and the zoom does not work at all,but these are minor problems when compared with the convenience of downloaded material from the internet.

Audio performance is good,but nothing special,as you might expect from a deck where some corners must have been cut.Movie soundtracks are perfectly acceptable when routed through a decent sound system,with good dynamism and clarity.

CD audio is okay,but the limitations of the deck are apparent in the lack of the highest quality. There's no problem with this on such a deck - it is not intended for audiophile use,as demonstrated by the lack of compatibility with the high-end audio formats.

A capable deck,then,with a more than useful range of features and a price that is really competitive. You would expect a fairly no-frills approach to such a model,but Toshiba has managed to add a few to this budget deck, making it a very desirable piece of kit.