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Toshiba hasn't done any major tweaking to the menu system on this year's TVs. Hit the Menu button – which is unhelpfully hidden away amid a cluster of other keys at the bottom of the remote – and up pops a black box in the middle of the screen, with a row of icons along the top and the relevant options listed below.
It's clear, concise and fairly easy to read from a typical viewing distance, but lacks the slickness and pizzazz of rival menu systems from the likes of Sony and LG.
The layout also feels longwinded in places, particularly when you want to access modes like Resolution+, which is buried in a submenu and should have been a lot easier to find. But in general the unfussy menu design makes it easy to find what you're looking for, which is a blessing as there's a wealth of options to discover.
The Picture menu puts all the basic adjustments on page one for casual viewers (including a range of presets), but tucks more advanced settings away in a submenu for those who want to calibrate the picture properly.
These include 3D Colour Management, Base Colour Adjustment and detailed colour temperature settings, the latter enabling you to tweak the balance of red, green and blue in the picture. You can also alter the black/white level, static gamma, noise reduction and loads more, while a Control Visualisation shows you the results of your adjustments. Videophiles will be in heaven.
Operating the set is a piece of cake thanks to the thoughtfully arranged remote. The central menu controls are ideally placed for the thumb, while the Return and Enter keys are positioned exactly where you'd expect to find them. Most of the other buttons are clearly labelled and carefully arranged – the only slip-up is the aforementioned poorly positioned Menu button.
Freeview is a mixed bag. The onscreen information banners are superb, packed with information (including the audio codec used and whether the programme is native HD or not). It also displays information about the current and subsequent programme, as well as recommending programmes that have just started on other channels. You can't browse any further ahead than the next programme, but hats off to Toshiba for such a intelligent, user-friendly design.
The eight-day Freeview EPG also looks great, with a programme grid that fills the screen, but during our test it was glitchy, surprisingly slow to populate and sluggish when moving from programme to programme. It's also a shame that you can't continue watching live TV as you browse.
It's great to see Toshiba embracing DLNA networking on such an affordably priced set, but it's a pity that it'll only work with Windows 7 laptops. We tried it out with a Vista laptop and although the TV could see the relevant folders, it wouldn't display the files within them.
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