The Toshiba 32DB833 is a 32-inch full HD TV with a built-in Blu-ray player. This solves the perennial combi problem of (mis)matching hi-def screens with standard-definition DVD drives and enables both components to perform to their full potential.
The 32DB833 isn't the first TV to carry an integrated Blu-ray player, of course; Sony's EX43B models were the first, and the 32-inch version was still available at the time of writing. The Toshiba 32DB833 has a massive price advantage over its Sony rivals, though, coming in at around £250 cheaper than the equivalent (same size) model.
This makes the Toshiba model more viable as a second room TV, where budgetary concerns tend to be particularly important. But decent performance would make it a good main living room candidate, too.
As well as the 32DB833, Toshiba does a 42-inch version – the 42DB833. Or, if you're not persuaded by the argument that an HD screen should have an HD source built in, Toshiba has the 22-inch 22DB833, 26-inch 26DB833 and 32-inch 32DB833 TVs, all of which feature built-in DVD players instead. Naturally, these are cheaper than the 32DB833.
The Toshiba 32DB833's integrated Blu-ray player is clearly the TV's star attraction, and it has been integrated into the set's chassis surprisingly elegantly. Its side-entry slot sits just behind the screen's left edge, and adds impressively little to its depth.
The design of the Toshiba 32DB833 design is quite pleasing, thanks in part to its slenderness by combi standards, and also to its aggressively angled bottom corners and the addition along the bottom edge of a slim metallic strip.
The relative slenderness of the Toshiba 32DB833's design owes much to its edge LED backlight. Given its focus on affordability and convenience, Toshiba's design to eschew traditional CCFL lighting in favour of this more fashionable system is a real surprise, but the potential gains in picture quality make it a very welcome one.
The 32DB833's connections are solid rather than spectacular. You only get two HDMIs, but then the built-in Blu-ray player takes one potential external HDMI source out of the equation.
Also available are a USB port and a LAN socket. The USB jack serves two purposes: it can provide storage support for the BD-Live online function delivered by the current Blu-ray spec, or it can be used for playing music, photo and video files from USB storage devices. The LAN port, however, has just one purpose: to deliver BD-Live. You can't use it to access the internet or any ring-fenced online content services.
The USB port isn't your only multimedia option, though. The Blu-ray section can play CD-R/RW or DVD-R/R DL/+R/+RW discs carrying DivX, DivX HD, MP3, JPEG and WMA files. The Blu-ray deck will, of course, also play normal DVDs and CDs.
Heading into the Toshiba 32DB833's on-screen menus reveals another surprise in the shape of a colour management toolset, which allows you to adjust the hue, saturation and brightness of the red, green, blue, yellow, magenta and cyan colour elements. There are facilities for tweaking the gamma and black/white balance too, as well as all the more basic options you would expect of any modern TV.
Such extensive picture calibration flexibility might seem a bit over the top for a 32-inch convenience TV, but if you care enough about picture quality to be interested in buying a full HD source/screen combi, it seems logical that you might also want to put some effort into getting pictures to look as good as possible.
The Toshiba 32DB833 additionally gives you the option to turn the dynamic backlight system off, and there are separate standard and MPEG noise reduction circuits that can be set to various levels of power or turned off entirely.
It's slightly disappointing – if not entirely surprising, considering the price – to find that the Toshiba 32DB833 only has a standard-definition Freeview tuner rather than an HD one, and that its refresh rate is limited to 50Hz. On a more promising note, the set's dynamic contrast ratio claim of 3,000,000:1 is promising, to say the least.