Toshiba

Since it's the Toshiba 32DB833 TV's headline feature, it seems logical to thoroughly investigate how the set performs with a few Blu-rays played through its own, integrated player. Unfortunately, it doesn't take very long to spot a problem here.

It's clear during any dark scenes that the Toshiba 32DB833's contrast performance is average, at best. Parts of the picture that should look black instead look grey and a bit washed out. There's also a gentle sense of there being slightly more light around the edges of the screen than there is at its centre, although this is a relatively small point that you won't likely see unless you're watching the set in a more or less blacked out room.

You can improve the set's black reproduction a little by brutally reducing the backlight setting. But even with this reduced to less than 30 per cent of its maximum light output, dark scenes still looked a little grey – and with this little brightness in play, bright scenes start to look a bit muted and dull, too.

The best compromise is to have the backlight set to around 50-55 for everyday viewing in normal living room conditions. No matter what level you leave the backlight set to, the picture lacks shadow detail due to either crushing when the backlight is set low, or the influence of the grey mist effect when the backlight is high.

There's quite a bit of judder to be seen during Blu-ray playback, and there's no processing that can help reduce this.

On the upside, motion blur is only relatively minor for such an affordable TV set. Also, fine detail response with HD footage is impressive on the Toshiba 32DB833, helping pictures look sharp and definitively HD despite the relatively small 32-inch dimensions of the picture.

This suggests that there's nothing conspicuously wrong with the Blu-ray player component of this combi, even though it doesn't deliver that lovely sense of solidity and purity that good-quality standalone players can manage.

Preset colours are rather rough and ready, but you can improve them nicely with only a few minutes of tweaking via the colour management system. You never end up with the same sense of blend or tone subtlety and richness that you get with the very best TVs, but within the context of a 32-inch LED TV with a built-in Blu-ray player that costs just £550, there really isn't much, colour-wise, to complain about.

Toshiba

Bright scenes from Blu-rays can look pretty great overall – certainly better than there is any right to expect from such a cheap combi – but dark scenes are consistently problematic, especially if you expect to be using the set regularly in a very dark environment where the contrast shortcomings will be emphasised.

Standard-definition pictures look a little unsophisticated, particularly where colours are concerned. But the TV does manage to upscale standard-definition sources to the Toshiba 32DB833's full HD resolution pretty capably – adding decent sharpness while simultaneously suppressing some of the noise found in most standard-definition digital broadcasts.

It's good to see, too, that there's only marginally more blurring when watching standard-definition than there is with HD.