Toshiba 37RV635D television review

4 out of 5
£600

For

Resolution+-assisted pictures, connections, operating system

Against

HD pictures without Resolution+, sound from on-board speakers

When it comes to LCD TVs, Toshiba is one of the most dependable names in the business. From entry-level up to flagship, it has a canny knack of delivering feature-packed TVs at reasonable prices – and the company’s RV series looks to follow in that fine tradition.

Throwing out some of the luxuries found on the pricier XV and ZV models (Dolby Volume and 200Hz processing for instance), the 37RV635D is designed for tighter budgets, but the appearance of core goodies like the much-lauded Resolution+ processing still makes it a tantalising proposition.

For the uninitiated, Resolution+ is Toshiba’s powerful processing technology, which enhances detail and edge sharpness to make standard definition pictures look more like high-def.

It comes courtesy of a new single-chip processing solution called MetaBrain, which also controls Active Vision II processing and Auto View – the former polishes up contrast, colour, movement and detail while the latter automatically adjusts the backlight according the content and the room lighting.

On the outside, the 37RV635D’s understated black bezel and illuminated Toshiba logo make it an attractive set, and its connections are equally eye-catching. There are four HDMI inputs, three on the back and one on the side, plus Component, PC and two Scart inputs. It’s topped off by a CAM slot for pay TV and a USB port, which can be used to view JPEGs from flash drives.

The set’s 1920 x 1080 resolution is ideal for Blu-ray playback, as is the set’s ability to handle 24p signals. Those who like to tweak the picture to perfection will find lots to play with, including gamma level adjustment and various noise reduction modes.

Toshiba has also worked hard to drive down electricity consumption on its latest TVs, and the Eco Panel used here drinks around 20% less than previous Tosh panels – good news not only for your electricity bill but also for the environment.

One thing we love about Toshiba TVs is their inherent user-friendliness, and the 37RV635D is no exception. The menus have had a revamp this year and look marvellous, with bright colours, smart logos and foolproof architecture, and the remote’s intelligent button layout makes them easy to control.

Onto performance, and the success of this set’s pictures depends largely on whether or not you’ve got Resolution+ turned on. At first we disabled it and high-definition pictures looked decidedly disappointing, lacking that definitive crispness you look for from a 1080p source.

But turn it on and everything snaps into sharper focus – edges are harder and fine detail is punchier. The difference is so dramatic, in fact, that it makes you wonder why Toshiba didn’t just make this the regular picture.

After waving its magic wand over standard-definition Freeview pictures, they look pleasingly crisp. If the source material contains a lot of noise then the processing will emphasise it, but good-quality channels look terrific.

In other areas the Toshiba does a decent job – blacks are good with only a touch of grey mist here and there, colours are rich and realistic, dark scenes are nicely handled and motion is smooth.

Sadly the Toshiba doesn’t defy expectations with audio – energetic action scenes sound as anaemic as we feared they would, lacking the low-frequency oomph needed to get the heart racing. It’s much more at home with less strenuous material like the news or EastEnders, delivering dialogue with a clear, controlled tone.

Verdict

Thank goodness for Resolution+. Had it not been included, we might have had a fairly unremarkable TV on our hands. But this effective picture tech saves the 37RV635D from LCD ignominy, bringing high- and standard-definition pictures up to scratch. Decent features, plentiful connections and a reasonable price tag are further reasons why you should give it a chance.