The 37RV635D 37-inch LCD TV is the latest high-end addition to Toshiba's RV LCD TV series, which blends cutting-edge features with stylish looks at affordable prices.
The most significant of the new features is MetaBrain, which is a single chip that controls a range of picture processing technologies.
These include the Resolution+ mode that has been designed to bridge the gap between standard and hi-def material by boosting detail and edge definition; Active Vision II processing, which enhances colour, movement, detail and contrast and AutoView that maintains the optimum image settings by analysing the content and the surrounding light conditions in the room.
Among the connections you get a side-mounted USB port that enables you to view JPEG photos from flash drives in glorious high definition using the 'Media Player' feature.
The set also sports a full HD 37-inch Eco Panel that is claimed to use about 45 per cent less power than previous Toshiba LCDs and so could save you at least £20 per annum in electricity.
Ease of use
Toshiba's onscreen menus have been refreshed recently and are now easier to use than before, although the graphics don't seem as sharp.
Hit 'Menu' and you get a large black box in the middle of the screen with icons across the top representing each group of options (Picture, Sound, Preferences and so on). The modern fonts and stylised icons look funky and, best of all, are extremely responsive. The picture menu boasts a comprehensive range of tweaks.
The EPG and digital TV info banners are equally well presented, and the entire GUI is putty in your hands, thanks to the excellent remote, which has also been revamped. It's now much shorter and with bigger buttons, including one labelled 'Quick' that calls up a sub-menu covering key options like aspect ratio and picture mode.
On the whole, the 37RV635D delivers enjoyable rather than incredible pictures. It's at its best with HD material, doing a solid job of reproducing the detail-packed 1080p Blu-ray transfer of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The procession of wrinkly faces and exquisite scenery is sharp enough at first, but look closely and there's a faint aura of softness that stops the set pulling you into the picture as the best LCD sets can.
Unlike last year's ZV models, though, Toshiba hasn't disabled Resolution+ for hi-def material, so you can boost the sharpness of 1080p images. And doing so sweeps away that softness and brings BD images up to scratch.
The scene in which a naked nursing home resident raises a flag in the garden as the rain lashes down provides the perfect example – the house in the background, the surrounding trees and the drops of rain are all suddenly thrown into crisper focus with defined edges when Resolution+ is activated.
Blacks still don't plumb plasma-like levels of depth, but are good enough. The set's colours are also well judged, particularly where skin tones are concerned and tonal gradations are smooth.
Standard-def material is a mixed bag. The Office on DVD via Scart and HDMI looks noisy and gauzy in places over both connections. Resolution+ does a great job of sharpening up detail, but can exaggerate artefacts (such as the mosquito noise surrounding The Office's main title text). But movies on DVD fared much better, with less visible noise and a far deeper, richer results.
Freeview channels depend on the quality of the original broadcast, so you need to use Resolution+ judiciously; crank it up to the +5 setting on a poor-looking channel and it'll emphasise the artefacts, but on a quality one it produces some stunning pictures.
The built-in speakers, which are hidden away below the screen, predictably fail to muster the sort of bass oomph needed for pulse-racing movie thrills, even with Dynamic Bass Boost ramped up to High.
However, the set's sound capabilities are ideal for everyday TV viewing, conveying speech and music crisply, while the cocktail of sound modes do a fine job of expanding and enhancing various aspects of the audio output.
As an added bonus, the set can decode Dolby Digital Plus bitstreams from a Blu-ray player connected via an HDMI input.
The £700 price tag for this feature-packed set seems reasonable enough, not least because you get Resolution+ processing into the bargain. Overall the 37RV635D is another solid, easy-to-use TV from one of the most reliable brands in the business.
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