If you want the cheapest small TV with halfway-decent picture quality, look no further than the Toshiba 32C120U.
Cheap TV comparisons are like cheap boxes of chocolate. As long as you temper your expectations, you never know what you're going to get. Toshiba's 32C120U is currently selling for the insanely low price of $250 on Amazon -- ranking it among the top few on that site's Best Sellers list for the last couple of months. Amazingly, given the price, it doesn't suck.
In fact, in picture quality the 32C120U competes well against our current favorite 32-incher, the Samsung UN32EH4000. The Toshiba's main weakness, color accuracy, is easier to overlook when weighed against its advantages, including black-level and bright-room performance. It's not nearly as stylish as the fetching, thin-bezeled Samsung, but for this cheap at this size, how much do you really care?
The 32C120U offers a nice array of tweaks, including the ability to adjust the grayscale slightly and choose from among a bunch of different gamma settings. The DynaLight backlight control is another nice little perk.
I was frankly surprised how good the Toshiba's picture looked for a TV this inexpensive. Its black levels were the deepest among cheap 32-inch TVs we've tested, beating out those of the former champ, Samsung's EH4000, by a substantial margin. Its color accuracy is flat-out poor, however, so the Samsung is still our overall choice in this category. That said, the Toshiba earns the same 6 in Picture Quality we awarded the Samsung, largely on the strength of its other picture-quality virtues like shadow detail and bright-room performance.