Toshiba 37ul863b

Something we noticed immediately was light leakage from the clusters of LEDs strung around the top and bottom of the 37UL863B's LCD panel. Patches of light are visible not only in each corner, but in several other places above and below, too, and it gives an uneven brightness – and has a generally negative effect on the quality of black areas of the image, which never look completely convincing.

That issue is least threatening when the backlight is dulled; the muted, though natural looking and impressively cinematic presets of the Hollywood Night and Hollywood Pro modes (Hollywood Day is slightly brighter, and self-explanatory) do just that, toning down the otherwise high brightness. Either are a good basis from which to prepare your own image, and we found Hollywood Pro closest to our own tastes. This is where blacks looked most convincing despite the backlight's shenanigans. Deep and rich enough to make a movie enjoyable, they're nevertheless not completely profound and there's little detail within black areas.

A case in point is the shadowed areas of the Marines' uniforms in our test disc, the Band of Brothers follow-up, Pacific on Blu-ray, which tend to blend together and display relatively little detail. In brighter jungle scenes the hi-def detail is more obvious, with close-ups of the Marines during the tense Guam landing exemplary. Colour is also a strong suit, with vibrant saturations that sit on the right side of reality.

This isn't an especially juddery panel with 24p sources, and though motion blur isn't ruinous either, the 100Hz mode does make a slight difference. Left on the 'smooth' setting can create a picture that seems a little too forced and over-processed; on 'standard' power it's more natural.

Blu-ray can look a touch grainy, but overall we like the 37UL863B's cinematic performance. Switch to Origins of Us on BBC HD channel and the same strengths remain, while a standard definition version of Later With Jools Holland appeared to benefit from tweaking the Resolution+ mode to mid-strength, though background picture noise remains.

If you forgive the lack of fine shadow detailing, this is actually a very versatile panel that's adept at producing enjoyable images from all video sources. And for a budget set, you can't ask for much more than that.