Toshiba Regza 37C3030

Tosh's entry-level contender stakes its claim

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Our Verdict

For its price, this is a strong LCD contender. But you do make compromises for this saving


  • Decent contrast ratio

    Excellent colours


  • Black levels can be overbearing

    Moving objects not overly well handled

The first of Toshiba's 2007 LCD range is, as its eye-catching asking price suggests, from the company's entry-level line-up. Let's just hope Tosh hasn't sacrificed too much of its customary quality to make such a tempting price feasible.

With its matt black-grey surround the 37C3030 is reasonably smart - and it feels pleasingly robust, too.

Connectivity delivers everything you might expect, with twin HDMI support, a component video input, a PC jack, a subwoofer line out for adding extra bass to your audio, and a CAM slot for adding pay TV channels to a Freeview tuner.

The only thing missing is a four-pin S-video jack.

With its 1366 x 768 native resolution and 500cd/m2 claimed brightness output, the 37C3030 fits the entry-level LCD profile perfectly. But it also stands out handsomely in one respect: a claimed maximum contrast ratio of 5000:1, achieved via an automatic backlight-adjusting dynamic contrast ratio feature.

Toshiba has endeavoured to include its oft-admired Active Vision LCD image processing on the 37C3030 - though the company's 'M100' 100Hz-style circuitry is saved for models higher up Toshiba's range.

Other notables include MPEG noise reduction circuitry, EPG support for the digital tuner, and all manner of colour flexibility.

For what it's worth, the 37C3030 can accept 1080p sources - but obviously down-converts them to fit the 1366 x 768 panel.

Performance-wise, the 37C3030 gets some things very right, and a couple of things strikingly wrong.

In the 'right' column resides the potency of the TV's colours, which enjoy almost scary levels of intensity. The Sky News studio, for instance, looks almost radioactive - though in a good way.

Our Kill Bill: Vol 1 Sky HD broadcast, meanwhile, enjoys good amounts of detailing; the picture is engaging; and there's a real sense of solidity and dynamism to proceedings that eludes most budget sets.

In some ways the Dynamic Contrast system delivers too, adjusting the backlight during dark scenes to deliver a really quite convincing black level.

At times, however, this black level looks rather overbearing, leaving dark areas hollow, and the shift in light output can also be too obvious for comfort.

The 37C3030 also loses noticeable resolution where moving objects are concerned, undoing the good work of the fine detail response during busy action scenes.

I was also unnerved by the sheer aggressiveness of the image presentation which can rather overstate MPEG video noise in digital sources - unless you really rein in the set's brightness, contrast and colour settings.

Sonically, Toshiba's 37C3030 produces more frequency range and soundstage power than I expected from such a low-priced set, especially one incorporating a 'hidden' speaker design.

Although no picture rival for the best in its class, Toshiba's 37C3030 is certain to do well with price-conscious buyers. Just be wary of its limitations.