Toshiba Regza 37RV753B television
Toshiba's Regza RV series offer an affordable television set, but lacks all the latest features you'll find on models higher up the range. The 37RV753B brings with it a Freeview HD tuner and the likes of DNLA-certified home networking, so represents a good choice for those looking to make the most of their TV without spending a fortune. There are varying specs across the RV range, so it is worth taking your time to check the model number and make sure you know what you are getting.
The RV753 isn't a slim and sexy model like some out there, instead retaining a depth of 94mm, thicker than some rival models a few years back. If wall-mounting is your intention for your brand new set, then perhaps you'll want something a little slimmer. With that in mind, the flat elliptical base offers a sturdy foundation and a good degree of swivel to get the viewing angle you want for your room set-up.
The bezel of the RV753 doesn't boast minimal specs either, a distinct glossy black plastic border runs around the 37-inch screen. The screen has a matte finish to it, and whilst it lacks the impact that some glossy screens do when sitting in a darkened room to watch a movie, it's worth remembering that most normal television viewing is done in varying light conditions where the matte finish deals with reflections from lights and windows better than some glossy models would.
At 37 inches you get SD performance that doesn't show as many nasties as larger sets down to the simple practicalities of pixel density. As a Freeview HD set, of course, you get the addition of broadcast HD with the inclusion of a DVB-T2 tuner.
Around the back, connectivity is respectable with 4x HDMI, one of which includes an audio return channel (ARC) to transfer your audio to a compatible connected AV receiver, allowing direct volume control of your home cinema system. The onboard speakers are reasonable with a fair amount of depth to them.
You get a full range of video inputs, as well as digital and analogue audio connections for older home theatre equipment, if ARC isn't an option. A common interface slot allows the addition of extra paid-for TV services. You also get USB and Ethernet connections.
The Ethernet connection gives network access to DNLA certified sources and it happily saw our Linksys by Cisco Media Hub. The interface is a very basic file/folder browser system which leaves a little to be desired, but navigation is fast enough, and breaks things down into movies, music and photos.
Unfortunately the organisation and navigation is slightly different for each section, so it doesn't blend together like a cohesive media server offering, feeling a little piecemeal, but we'd rather have these features than not. The same service is offered via the connection of a USB stick.
We managed to get it to play back music with no problems, although the display is a little uninspiring, with the artist and track name moving around the screen next to a giant musical note. The picture viewer will let you set-up a slideshow from your images, with a press of the Quick button on the remote giving you a pop-up menu to change controls on the fly. For videos, we didn't manage to get it to play through any of our normal test files.
The EPG is clear, although we don't like the fact that it doesn’t give you a preview of what you are currently watching. The EPG offers up 14 channels across 2 hours, but offers easy jumping to the next set of 14 channels using the P (program) buttons, which makes for easy jumping up to the likes of 50, 51 and 52 where you'll find the current crop of HD channels: BBC HD, ITV HD and Channel 4 HD.
There was a distinct buzzing that came from our test RV753, which occurred when we switched off the shocking Dynamic picture mode. After a little tweaking of the settings, it became clear that this was caused by the backlight dimmer, so any picture mode that had the backlight set to anything less than about 93% would give an audible buzz. Unfortunately this applies to the AutoView picture mode, which automatically changes to suit the environment and content being shown. To avoid the buzzing, we found we had to stick to Standard and turn the backlight up to 93%, which takes the edge off some of the power saving credentials this TV boasts.
But we were impressed with the performance, apart from the buzzing, out of the box in terms of picture quality, balance and colour. The response time is a little slow and the blacks aren't very deep, but at this price for this size of screen, that's probably to be expected.
There are a range of technologies included that aim to enhance the picture performance. The headline technology here is Resolution+, which Toshiba claims will upscale and improve SD images to near HD quality. We remain to be convinced on this. The same applies to various noise reduction technologies, which in some cases will obscure fine detail, so should perhaps be used with caution.
We were also impressed with the standard def pictures from Freeview and the crispness of the HD broadcast content. Of course the best performance can be had from Blu-ray, taking advantage of the Full HD screen, although the 50Hz screen doesn't give you as smooth an experience on those sweeping pans as you'd get from the latest 200Hz screens, but we've seen far worse 50Hz screens.
The Toshiba Regza 37RV753B is likely to be popular because it gives you a reasonable size, the Freeview HD tuner and a modicum of home networking, at a price that is pocket-friendly, with the likes of Tesco stocking it for £499. That said, at the time of writing, there are a number of fantastic deals to be had on TVs - just make sure you are buying the technologies to stand you in good stead in the future.
There are better looking sets out there and whilst this particular Tosh model won't win any awards in the skinny stakes, it covers the basics well enough. The screen technology isn't the latest and the buzzing from the backlight dimmer did ring a few alarm bells, giving a final result that is a bit of a mixed bag.