The most common question asked by our readers is: 'Which 32-inch TV should I buy?' There's a number of reasons why 32 inches is an incredibly popular choice. It's the most cost-effective size, and most people don't have unlimited budgets to blow. Such sets are also popular as bedroom TVs for students and people who just don't have that much space.
Whatever your motivation for getting a 32-inch TV, you're going to have to go with LCD technology, unless you opt for one of LG's small plasmas. As a rule, LCD is a much better technology for these smaller TVs and will remain so until becomes mainstream.
But is the 32-inch, 1080p Toshiba Regza 32RV635DB LCD TV, available for around £500, worth your hard-earned cash?
Getting to know the TV
The 32RV635DB offers several advantages over older Toshiba models. The first we noticed is the new menu system. In the past, we've criticised Toshiba for having ugly and outdated menu systems. This has become even more noticeable recently with the likes of LG and Samsung really improving the look and feel of their TVs. Toshiba seems to have agreed with us, and the menus on the 32RV635DB are much improved.
It's also significant that the company seems to be allowing users to make a great deal of settings tweaks. In the past, we haven't always been able to adjust the picture of Toshiba sets as comprehensively as we'd have liked. But now Toshiba seems prepared to let you fiddle with everything to get the picture set up as you'd like it. If you get into a pickle, there are reset buttons in all the submenus that will return the TV to its default settings.
But, in fact, we found the TV required very little messing about with. When you first set it up, the TV gives you a number of options. It asks if you're in a shop or at home, and it uses your answer to set itself to the appropriate brightness. The set-up process also lets you decide if you want to tune in analogue or digital channels, or both. We picked digital only, because watching analogue in central London is like having your head repeatedly smashed with a breeze block. Set-up takes pretty much no time at all, which is terrific.
Picture and sound quality
We've always liked the picture quality of Toshiba TVs, and we're pleased to see that the 32RV635DB manages to continue this tradition. In some ways, it appears that being small helps this TV to offer a strong Freeview picture, and that's no surprise really -- the more you stretch a standard-definition image, the worse it will look.
For the most part, we were impressed by the TV's ability to cope with the noise, blocking and general mess that is broadcast digital TV in the UK. Sure, it's no Pioneer, but it holds its own -- especially at this cheaper end of the market.
Toshiba has included its Resolution+ system on this TV too. Essentially, this system is supposed to make standard-definition pictures look like high-definition ones. It does nothing of the sort.
We always get very cross when manufacturers make claims that have no basis in fact. Indeed, earlier this year a Toshiba spokesperson told a room full of journalists that upscaling YouTube to 1080p was a possibility. The fact is that you can't generate information that isn't there, and the old adage of 'garbage in, garbage out' holds true, even in these days of upscaling. So, what does Resolution+ actually do? It sharpens the image at the edges, which means that the picture might look slightly more detailed but you're likely to see halos on hard edges.