Toshiba 32C3030 £700

31st May 2007 | 23:00

Toshiba 32C3030

You have to get the best seat for this one

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

A solid enough stab by Toshiba at hitting an entry-level price point, but it looks a little tame when set against its rivals

Like:

<p>Good price</p><p>Bright colours</p><p>Decent connectivity</p>

Dislike:

<p>Black level and viewing angle issues</p>

The 32C3030 looks really quite snappy in its skinny black finish. And it hits all the right connectivity notes courtesy of two HDMIs (both, capable of receiving 1080p), a component video input, PC support, digital tuner support, a subwoofer line out, and a digital audio output for passing on multichannel audio streams received via the HDMIs.

It's great, too, to find Toshiba's Active Vision LCD processing system on this entry-level model, which sets out to improve the picture's black levels, motion handling, colours and detailing.

In terms of key specifications, the screen sports the inevitable (for this money, at least) 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, and contrast is quoted at an impressive-looking 4000:1, achieved via a dynamic contrast system that adjusts the backlight output depending on the brightness of the particular scene that's being shown.

Other noteworthy features within the 32C3030's rather long-winded onscreen menus include MPEG noise reduction for cleaning up messy digital broadcasts, unusually flexible colour fine-tuning, and an option to switch the colour balance to suit PC rather than video sources.

In action, the 32C3030 is slightly disappointing, for two reasons. The worst of these is its black levels. Dark scenes look noticeably greyed over, and rather hollow thanks to a lack of greyscale subtlety. The automatic backlight adjustment seem less refined than systems found on rival models making its machinations a touch too obvious.

Our other concern is its rather narrow viewing angle, as watching from even as little as 30-40º off axis, if you happen to be sitting anywhere near the screen, results in fairly drastic loss of colour and contrast. That said HD sources look crisp and detailed, colours are vibrant and generally very naturally toned. And we have to admit motion doesn't lose as much resolution as we might expect.

Audio is decent enough for general TV viewing purposes, but if you want it to also be a keen movie machine, a fairly fundamental lack of bass from the built-in speakers will probably require you to use the set's subwoofer output sooner rather than later.

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