At 37in, the Toshiba 37XV505DB is the size at which full HD pictures start to get really interesting, making it an ideal partner for next-generation high-definition games consoles as well as hi-def disc spinners.

The maximum resolution panel also benefits from an Exact Scan mode that reproduces source material pixel for pixel, meaning there is no need for noise-inducing scaling of any kind.

On top of all that, Toshiba's own Active Vision LCD picture processing engine is on hand to give pictures a final polish.

Freeview upscaling

Although it lacks 100Hz processing, the 37XV505D is able to 'look ahead' at the video signal in order to remove jagged edges and reduce motion blur. Active Vision's Natural Colour mode claims to increase the colour palette four-fold while Real Digital attempts to clean-up digital TV signals by reducing the number of signal conversions.

The 37XV505D also upscales regular Freeview pictures from its integrated tuner, for which an eight-day electronic programme guide is supplied.

Two features are on hand to reduce power consumption: Luma Sens measures ambient light in the room and adjusts the brightness of the panel, though this can be a little distracting and, while it may seem a strange feature to push, the 37XV505D (like all models in Toshiba's XV range) is also one of only a few LCD TVs that can be switched off completely from the remote control.

Simple setup

Tuning in the TV is a simple process. After around five minutes of searching it displays a list of all available digital TV channels. Alongside each is information on the signal strength, although even those labelled 'poor' are displayed well and the signal is stable.

Despite a hideous – and low resolution – design for the digital TV tuner that relies on green, blue and pink, the 37XV505D's electronic programme guide is easy to skip around. Schedules for the next two hours across ten channels are shown on the same screen and the remote proves adept at skipping forward in two-hour chunks, or to the following eight days' schedules.

The remote may look logical enough, but it's not easy to use. It's built around a clickwheel, but because of its Regza Link function that enables it to control a Blu-ray player, most of the buttons have dual use. Buttons are much smaller than they should be and the remote takes some getting used to.

Vibrant hi-def pictures

The 37in size is generally where Freeview starts to break up and look rather poor. The 37XV505D does manage to display a watchable picture and having the digital noise reduction feature switched on definitely helps. There's little MPEG blocking, but mosquito noise creeps over all moving objects.

High-definition material fares much better, but does suggest that the 37XV505D is not the ultimate movie machine despite its cinematic picture quality.

A blast of Sunshine on Blu-ray provides us with vivid reds and oranges alongside bright peak whites and plenty of gloom. On the down side, some colour banding is in evidence when large blocks of colour are displayed, such as a shot of the sun. Instead of a carefully blended picture of yellow moving into orange, the varying shades are quite distinct.

Underpinning the otherwise impressive colour are deep blacks and while the amount of detail that is sucked from the disc is impressive, it's never too much to detract from what is a wholly cinematic experience.

Motion blurring

There are heavy traces of picture noise during scene-setting shots of the spaceship, but other LCD nasties such as jagged edges and resolution loss over fast-moving objects are successfully played down, though not entirely eliminated.

Switch to Grand Theft Auto IV from an Xbox 360 and activate the game mode and the results are similarly mixed. Although there's little smearing, signs of shimmering around moving objects are apparent although the cinematic feel remains.

Toshiba's bargain LCD

Despite a fairly wide soundstage and just enough bass from its SRS WOW audio option, we'd advise attaching a subwoofer direct or directing all sound to an amplifier and dedicated home cinema. There is some distortion at high volumes and increasing the volume via the remote is laborious.

Though never reference level, picture quality is always watchable, making this a decent value set if you're looking to spend £700.