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Toshiba Regza DB (32DB833B) review: Toshiba Regza DB (32DB833B)

Many people will appreciate the Toshiba Regza 32DB833B's integrated Blu-ray player, but this 32-inch LED TV's other features aren't all that impressive, and its lack of a Freeview HD tuner is disappointing.

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Niall Magennis
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Niall Magennis

Reviewer

Niall has been writing about technology for over 10 years, working for the UK's most prestigious newspapers, magazines and websites in the process. What he doesn't know about TVs and laptops isn't worth worrying about. It's a little known fact that if you stacked all the TVs and laptops he has ever reviewed on top of each other, the pile would reach all the way to the moon and back four times.

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3 min read

Toshiba's 32-inch, 1080p Regza 32DB833B is one of the first LED TVs we've seen to come with an integrated Blu-ray player. It's an entry-level set, but the LED backlighting and the Blu-ray player add to the price, with the result that the TV will set you back around £520 online, which isn't all that cheap for a 32-inch model.

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5.5

Toshiba Regza DB (32DB833B)

The Good

Integrated Blu-ray player; slim chassis; rich colours; good black levels.

The Bad

No Freeview HD tuner; weak audio; no Internet features.

The Bottom Line

Many people will appreciate the Toshiba Regza 32DB833B's integrated Blu-ray player, but this 32-inch LED TV's other features aren't all that impressive, and its lack of a Freeview HD tuner is disappointing.

Hooray for Blu-ray

The TV is reasonably stylish, and almost identical to the Regza 42HL833B that we looked at recently. In fact, both models share the same chassis, with the difference being that this one has a Blu-ray drive fitted on the left-hand side, whereas that space on the 42HL833B is simply blocked off.

From the front, the TV looks handsome, thanks to its glossy black finish, cut-away corners and the aluminium strip that runs across the bottom. The plasticky stand feels rather flimsy, though, and the overall build quality of the set screams 'budget' rather than 'premium'.

One big annoyance that this TV shares with the 42HL833B is that it doesn't have an integrated Freeview HD tuner. Instead, the tuner only allows you to watch standard-definition Freeview channels. If you want hi-def services, you'll have to resort to using an external set-top box, which is pretty lame for a 2011 model.

Also, the TV's electronic programme guide isn't all that great. The presentation is very dull and it uses a vertical layout, rather than the more traditional, horizontal, bricks-in-the-wall approach. This can make it difficult to spot programme clashes across different channels. Nevertheless, the EPG is fairly speedy to navigate.

Presumably, Toshiba felt it could cut back on the number of ports on offer due to the presence of the integrated Blu-ray payer. We think Toshiba's cut back too far, however, as you're left with just two HDMI ports, when most 32-inch TVs now come with four sockets. Nevertheless, the HDMI ports are joined by a set of component inputs, as well as a single Scart socket.

The Freeview EPG uses a vertical layout, making it difficult to compare what's on different channels at the same time.

The TV also has two USB ports. The first is mounted on the main chassis and used for digital-media playback. The media-playback interface is very basic -- it's little more than a file browser -- but the format support is good. The set had no problem playing HD MKV files, along with Xvid and DviX videos.

The second USB port is attached to the Blu-ray player housing and can only be used for storing BD-Live downloaded content. The Blu-ray player also has an Ethernet socket. This is, again, only used for accessing BD-Live content. There's no support for media streaming via Internet TV services like BBC iPlayer.

The Blu-ray player is noticeably louder than the integrated DVD players we've seen on other TVs -- there's an audible whirr when the drive is spinning. Still, it isn't all that distracting and the player is quick to load discs. It also offers better-than-expected playback quality. Images look very crisp and detailed.

Picture imperfect

In terms of overall picture quality, the 32DB833B is a mixed performer. Colours tend to look quite perky but, if you're not careful, they can be rather over-enthusiastic, especially reddish hues. As a result, under some of the more aggressive picture presets, newsreaders can look like slightly red in the face, as if they're suffering from high blood pressure.

Also, the 32DB833B lacks Toshiba's Resolution+ upscaling system, so Freeview pictures look rougher and more noisy than they do on the company's mid-range models. That said, black levels are quite deep, although this does seem to be achieved at the expense of shadow detail.

In short, the 32DB833B lacks the finesse of many mid-range rivals, but its pictures are still quite watchable.

Sadly, as with many of these thinner TVs, the audio quality is less than inspiring. The downward-firing speakers are small and weedy, with the result that they don't produce much bass, and even dialogue tends to sound hollow and indistinct.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Regza 32DB833B is a decent-enough TV, and the integrated Blu-ray player will be a boon for those who want a compact set for the bedroom or kitchen. But the 32DB833B's picture and audio quality aren't massively impressive, and we can't help feeling slightly cheated by the lack of a Freeview HD tuner.

Edited by Charles Kloet