There have been several worthwhile price reductions on LCD television, but none as significant as on the Toshiba 32XV505. We last looked at this set in August 2008, when it would have set you back £650. No one is going to be disappointed at finding £200 lopped off the price tag.
And yet even this hefty reduction isn't enough to elevate the Toshiba out of its four-star comfort zone. The fact that all but one of its rivals have had (admittedly more modest) price cuts eats into its advantage, of course, but the simple fact is that the Toshiba 32XV505 doesn't quite have the chops of the cheaper Sony KDL-32V4000 screen, let alone be able to hit the heights of its Samsung (LE32A558) opponent.Mixed Blu-ray performanceA quick glance at our Blu-ray of The Dark Knight wouldn't immediately alert you to the fact, though. It looks good, carrying plenty of detail even in busy scenes, and drawing edges confidently. Contrasts are impressive too, and motion is gripped tenaciously.
Look a little closer, though, and the black levels aren't as downright black as more accomplished performers, nor do they carry the same amount of information. There's a hint of coarseness and softness to skin-tones, and a rather ruddy colour balance no amount of tweaking of the (simple, comprehensive, but unhelpfully small) menus can eradicate.
Noticeably noisy tunersThat tendency to coarseness and softness isn't helped by a switch to DVD content, but then it seldom is.The same can be said of the XV505's onboard TV tuners, which can be noticeably noisy in extremis.
That's not to say that TV pictures are less accomplished than on, say, either of the Sony sets – but the Sonys have areas of class-leading expertise that the Toshiba can't challenge.
More after the break
Take all these factors into account, add in insubstantial sound which is entirely unprepared for a big HD action set-piece, and the Toshiba's got ‘four stars' written all over it.