What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 26 May 2009, 5:00pm

Toshiba 37RV635

Tested at £600
60100
3

While the price of the 37RV635 might be enough to get you excited, the picture doesn’t quite have the same effect

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For

  • Price
  • good spec for the money
  • inoffensive picture quality

Against

  • Noisy Freeview images
  • Blu-ray pictures lack clarity and detail
  • not confident with movement

Back in the day, Toshiba seemed to produce a never-ending stream of five-star CRT TVs. Some of its early flatscreen TVs were even What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Award winners.

In recent years, it's fair to say that the company has fallen behind the best in class. Look in our Buying gGuide and you'll find Toshiba on the receiving end of numerous solid four-star reviews.

In the past 12 months, five-star ratings have proved a little more elusive.

Decent spec for your money
Toshiba TVs of late have been extremely affordable, and sure enough the 37RV635 – one of its new 2009 models – will only make a smallish dent in your bank balance.

But, despite being reasonably cheap, it isn't as basic as you might think. The specification sheet shows Full HD, 1920 x 1080 resolution and 24fps compatibility.

Toshiba has also added its Resolution+ upscaling technology, automatic backlight adjustment and Active Vision II picture processing.

Compared with some rivals, the Toshiba looks a little plain; but there's little wrong with being functional rather than fancy. It's a similar case with the remote control's retro appearance.

Functional rather than fancy
On-screen menus don't look as colourful as some but they're neatly presented and setting up the picture won't cause too much consternation.

After watching a combination of Freeview, DVD and Blu-ray, it's obvious that the Toshiba produces an amiable picture, but not one that will cause a major upset.

With Freeview, the Toshiba tries its best to present a detailed, vibrant picture. Colours don't have enough subtlety though, and there's a fair sprinkling of digital noise.

Send in a 576i DVD signal and, while the Toshiba gets an ‘A' for effort, the TV still has its work cut out. Other sets produce greater levels of detail and stability.

Struggles with movement
The Blu-ray of Valkyrie brings greater depth to the on-screen action but movement is handled rather awkwardly and as Tom Cruise rewrites Operation Valkyrie in the forest at night, the black depth just isn't there.

The 37RV635 has managed to buck the trend of four-star reviews, but not in the way we were hoping. Yes, the price tag is appealing, but we'd recommend spending a little more to get to the next level of picture quality.

Don't miss our Supertest of this and six other brand-new 37in plasma and LCD TVs in our July 2009 issue, on sale from June 3rd.