The Toshiba 32CV505DB is, at least, decent enough to look at.

There's nothing new about its glossy black design, but the addition of a little speaker strip in the middle of the bottom edge gives it at least a grain of individuality.

Limited spec

Connections are also more than acceptable for a TV at this price, especially as they include three HDMIs, a PC port and a subwoofer line out.

The 32CV505DB feels the price pinch in the features department, however. Unlike the slightly more expensive Panasonic TX-32LXD85, this Toshiba doesn't have 100Hz processing to make motion look clearer.

Nor does it have the special 24p mode found on higher-spec Toshiba sets. However, it will play 24p pictures translated simply into 50Hz; has MPEG noise reduction; and carries a light metering system it can use to auto-adjust images to suit your lighting conditions.

Plus, it retains the small matter of Toshiba's Active Vision LCD processing engine.

Active Vision benefits

As with similar picture processing systems found elsewhere, Active Vision LCD comprises a series of algorithms aimed at boosting colours, detailing, contrast, and motion handling.

And the 32CV505DB is equipped with the very latest version of the Active Vision system, so hopefully it will improve on the patchy system used on last year's Toshiba models.

Improved black levels

Happily the 32CV505DB's performance certainly does show signs of improvement - considerable signs. Particularly striking is the leap forward in black levels.

For where previous Toshiba 32in models have tended to suffer rather with greying over of dark scenes, here the 32CV505DB handles the numerous dark scenes of our Blu-ray test movie of Master And Commander: The Far Side of the World really well, achieving genuinely black blacks.

Suddenly the set's extravagant 30,000:1 contrast ratio claims don't seem quite as extravagant.

Bright pictures

The 32CV505DB also advances the Toshiba cause with its colour response. The bright scenes on the Galapagos Islands look vibrant, bright and saturated to perfection, for instance.

Also, the tricky skin tones on show during sequences below deck also look predominantly natural. We also found ourselves appreciating the 32CV505DB's sharpness with HD material too, even though there's no 100Hz on hand to help motion out.

Yet more good news concerns the 32CV505DB's standard definition playback, which definitely seems less troubled by video noise and strange skin tones than many previous Toshiba TVs.

An undeniably budget LCD

The 32CV505DB can't completely escape its budget status. While motion blur is minimal, it is still there.

Also, while black levels are good, some dark scenes look a touch hollow thanks to a lack of shadow detailing.

Next, bright picture elements can look a little 'over-exposed', and 24fps playback is a touch juddery. Finally the set's audio is rather undernourished.

That said, you only really spot these problems if you go looking for them. For the majority of the time it's the good stuff that reigns supreme, especially when you've taken that £600 price tag into account.