Yes, we had to do a double take at the 32AV615's price, too. Surely a 'big' brand can't really be selling a 32in LCD TV for less than £400? Well, we've checked and double checked and the price is definitely correct.

Which raises just one big question: what's the catch? The main one is the 32AV615's lack of Resolution+ processing.

This scaling circuitry, found on all the TVs higher up Toshiba's current range, does a remarkably good job of re-sizing standard-definition pictures to suit HD Ready/full HD LCD screens. So it will doubtless be sorely missed on the 32AV615.

Another niggle is that the screen can't take 1080p feeds (just 1080i), and the provision of three HDMIs where other Toshiba TVs have four. At this price, though, we'd have tolerated just two.

The set sports no multimedia accoutrements such as USB or SD ports, either, and only boasts an HD Ready resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels versus the full HD resolutions of most of our other contenders. But while we know some people are fixated on screen resolution, experience suggests that a good 32in HD ready TV can look better than an average full HD one.

More potentially troubling is the screen's relatively low claimed contrast ratio of 18,000:1, although quoted figures are notoriously untrustworthy as a guide to real contrast performance.

From here on in, though, the news is mostly good. For instance, the onscreen menus contain a surprising amount of tweaks for such a budget screen, including an adaptive luma control, colour transient improvement, and flesh tone adjustment.

Tosh side

Performance

More importantly, the 32AV615's picture quality is startlingly good for the money. Colours, for instance, are rich, reasonably natural and even quite subtle – a million miles from the murky mess usually found on ultra-budget TVs.

Objects moving across the screen don't blur or stutter as much as expected, either, and although certainly softer than with Toshiba's step-up 32AV635, standard-definition pictures are still eminently watchable, despite not having Resolution+ to help out.

HD images, meanwhile, are really quite sharp despite the set's modest resolution. Even black levels are a cut above the grey mush usually witnessed on really cheap TVs, even though their depth does come at the expense of rather a lot of shadow detail at times.

With some pretty run-of-the-mill audio to accompany its pictures, the 32AV615 fails to outgun any of its rivals in this test in terms of pure performance. But what really matters as far as we are concerned is that the 32AV615 surpasses everything we've seen at anything like this price.

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