Toshiba Regza CV510
One of Toshiba's least expensive flat-panel TVs for 2008, the 32-inch 32CV510U defines the phrase "good enough." Its picture outclassed that of the cheapest such set we've tested this year, the Insignia's NS-LCD32-09, but many people buying at this screen size are probably shopping more on price than picture quality anyway. Nonetheless, we consider it worth mentioning that the 32CV510U came up with respectable black-level performance, balanced by less-than-accurate color. For shoppers who want to avoid the absolute cheapest HDTVs yet still save some cash, the Toshiba 32CV510U makes a tempting target.
The by-now-standard, glossy-back finish dominates the Toshiba's rather pedestrian look, with a thin strip of speaker below the screen, rounded edges on the corners of the cabinet and a blocky-looking, non-swiveling matte black pedestal stand providing the only accents. The company hid a set of AV inputs on the left side of the cabinet. The 32CV510U is one of the more compact 32-inch LCDs we've seen, measuring 31 inches wide by 22.4 inches tall by 9.8 inches deep and weighing 30.6 pounds including the stand.
Toshiba's menu system remains unchanged from last year, and we found it generally easy to get around the picture settings. Its remote is also the same, and while we appreciate that the numerous keys allow easy access to a multitude of functions, we would have liked to see more differentiation among the buttons. The clicker can command three other pieces of gear, and all of the keys glow in the dark.
The 32CV510U's feature set is about average for the breed of entry-level 32-inch sets, beginning with its perfectly adequate 1,366x768 native resolution (1080p would be wasted at this screen size). Toshiba's fine selection of picture controls includes four preset modes that cannot be adjusted and a fifth, called Preference, that allows adjustments to be remembered independently per input. Somewhat confusingly, trying to adjust any of the modes automatically switched the picture mode to Preference. We appreciated that Preference settings can be preserved against accidental erasure by engaging the "Theater Lock."
Other picture settings include three color temperature presets that each allow further adjustment via a pair of gain controls (for Blue and Green only; we'd like to see Red included at least); a 10-position gamma slider, a pair of controls (DynaLight and Dynamic Contrast) that modify the image on the fly; two species of noise reduction; and a Color Master color management system that allows adjustment of the six primary and secondary colors. Check out Performance below for more details and our complete picture settings.
We really appreciated having five aspect ratio modes for high-def sources, including one that eliminates overscan completely. A rather paltry three modes are available for 480p, but all five are present for 480i standard-def sources. The 32CV510U lacks a picture-in-picture option, although you can freeze-frame the moving image to catch a phone number, for example.
We would have also liked to see an energy saver mode that affected power consumption by reining in peak brightness. There is a "power saver" mode that limits consumption when the TV is in standby mode (that is, turned off); disengaging it allows the set to turn on a bit faster, but it burns a lot more juice. Happily, the power saver setting is engaged by default.
The Toshiba's solid connectivity equals that of most 32-inch name-brand HDTVs, beginning with a pair of HDMI ports, a VGA-style PC input (1,360x768 maximum resolution), two component-video inputs, one AV input with composite and S-Video, an RF input for antenna or cable, an analog audio output and an optical digital audio output. That side panel offers another HDMI input as well as second AV input with composite video.
The Toshiba 32CV510U produced a perfectly good picture compared with those of the competition, especially at this price range. Its image quality is anchored by relatively deep black levels and bogged down by less than accurate color, especially in dark areas.
During the course of our standard calibration, we tweaked the Toshiba's scant grayscale controls, and while we were able to improve the too-blue Warm preset, we weren't able to approach the kind of accuracy allowed on sets with full controls, such as the Samsung LN32A450. We also played with the Color Master system and achieved a slight improvement in the primary and secondary color points. We couldn't do much with green, the worst offender, but even it wasn't too bad to begin with. Check out the Geek Box below for all the results and our full picture settings to see how we got them.
For our main image-quality tests we set up a comparison that included four other 32-inch LCDs: the Samsung LN32A450, the LG 32LG30, the Sony KDL-32M4000 and the Insignia NS-LCD32-09. We checked out No Country for Old Men on Blu-ray via the Sony Sony PlayStation3.
Black level: The Toshiba was among the better 32-inch LCDs in our comparison at producing a deep shade of black, coming in just a bit brighter than the Samsung and darker than any of the rest. The darkness of its letterbox bars, the shadows during the initial sunrise shots over the desert, and the black of Anton's outfit, for example, all appeared a bit deeper and richer than on the other models, aside from the Samsung, although the difference certainly wasn't drastic compared with the Sony and the LG--the Insignia, for its part, was noticeably lighter than the others.
The Toshiba's shadow detail, as evinced by the scrubs and hillsides in the dawn light, for example, was nicely rendered for a smaller LCD, and the default "0" position for gamma preserved it well. Again, only the Samsung's shadows appeared more realistic.
Color accuracy: The 32CV510U didn't put in as strong a showing here. We had to back down the color control to avoid giving skin tones, like Carla Jean's pale face after returning from her mother's funeral, a reddish tinge, which of course hurt saturation and made colors seem less punchy. Darker areas, like her black dress, also appeared a bit too bluish thanks to a less-accurate color temperature after calibration, and as with many LCDs the blackest parts of the image were also a bit blue, although not as bad as the Insignia or the LG. On the other hand, primary colors were a big improvement over previous Toshiba LCDs we've reviewed, so the blue of the sky and the river as Llewelyn swims away, for example, looked relatively natural and lacked that overt cyan tinge we complained about before.
Video processing: Unlike many HDTVs, the Toshiba passed the tests for de-interlacing 1080i film-based material, and it also handled video-based de-interlacing well. According to our resolution test patterns, the 32CV510U delivered more detail with 720p material than with 1080i or 1080p, so we recommend setting your HD sources to 720p when possible.
Uniformity: The screen on our review sample exhibited average uniformity for a small LCD. A small brighter spot was visible in the upper-right corner, and the edges appeared just a bit brighter than the middle, but neither of these issues became bothersome when we watched the movie. As with all LCDs, the dark areas became washed out when seen from off-angle-- in our comparison the Toshiba fell right in the middle in this area, besting the LG and the Insignia but a bit worse than either the Samsung or the Sony.
Standard-definition: The 32CV510U exhibited average standard-def processing. It resolved every detail of the DVD format according to the resolution patterns, although the finest details in the stone bridge and grass from the Detail screen appeared softer than the other sets. It didn't remove jaggies from the edges of diagonal lines very well, however, which showed up in the stripes of a waving American flag, for example. The Toshiba's noise reduction did a fine job of cleaning up the "snow" and moving motes in HQV's low-quality shots of skies and sunsets, although while it didn't engage 2:3 pull-down detection as quickly as the other TVs in our comparison, that's not a big deal.
PC: According to DisplayMate, the set could not resolve every detail of a 1,366x768 source via HDMI, and as a result, text and other onscreen elements looked softer than they should. When we tried to test the VGA input it didn't work as we'd hoped; the most ideal resolution our video cards (across three test PCs) made available was 1,280x768, not the ideal 1,360x768. Toshiba's manual claims the set can handle 1,360x768 via VGA, however, and the 1,280x768 sources looked very good, for their part, resolving every detail. Update: We tried again with yet another PC and a 1,360x768 source, and the Toshiba performed perfectly, resolving every line of detail.
|Before color temp (20/80)||7455/6756||Poor|
|After color temp||7009/6319||Poor|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 496K||Average|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 192K||Average|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.635/0.332||Good|
|Color of green||0.279/0.591||Average|
|Color of blue||0.147/0.048||Average|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Yes||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|
|Toshiba 32CV510U||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||131.34||61.2||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.3||0.14||N/A|
|Cost per year||$41.15||$19.44||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Average|