Toshiba 32sl738

The 32SL738's use of edge LED lighting has to be its stand out feature, partly because you wouldn't expect to find it in play on a £500 32in set and partly because it enables a stylish, strikingly slender body.

The backlight also helps Toshiba rustle up a mighty claimed contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. As ever, this figure needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, given the impossibility of realising that amount of contrast in 'real world' conditions, but the figure is at least illustrative of the differences in how CCFL and edge LED technology work and suggests how much better the latter has the potential to be if it's done well.

Price-driven compromises are manifested in the lack of an Ethernet port and three HDMIs where Toshiba nearly always manages four. There is a multimedia-capable USB port, though, as well as a D-Sub port that enables the screen to double up as a PC monitor.

Heading into the onscreen menus uncovers a pretty extensive set of adjustments including a selection of picture presets as well as adjustments to backlight output and colour temperature, with the latter extending so far as give you control of the gain level of each of the red, green and blue colour components.

Even more surprising on such an aggressively priced – and apparently stripped down – TV is the stuff tucked away in its 'Advanced Video' menu. This includes noise reduction options, a multi-level colour transient Improvement circuit and an 'Adaptive Luma Control' option that adjusts the brightness and contrast based on analysis of the incoming image.

Other tweaks include the option to deactivate the default active backlight if you find its continual brightness adjustments distracting, the ability to limit or set to full the HDMI RGB range and a flexible colour management facility that enables you to manipulate the hue, saturation and brightness settings for all six of the main colour components (meaning cyan, magenta and yellow, on top of RGB).

Even the audio features menu has a couple of noteworthy features, including a lip-synch mode, a bass booster and a pseudo-surround sound processor.

The set includes a bit of picture processing too, in the form of Toshiba's Active Vision LCD. Potentially significantly, it has neither 100Hz processing for reducing motion judder and blur nor Resolution+ for upscaling standard-definition.

Hopefully, the fact that the 32SL738 only has to upscale standard-def to an HD ready rather than a full HD panel will mean that Resolution+ isn't missed all that much. There's no Freeview HD tuner or any built-in online capability, though, and you can't stream material from DLNA PCs.