Lately, Toshiba has been aggressively targeting more budget-conscious buyers with its TVs, which is probably a smart move given the current economic climate. The Toshiba Regza 32LV713B continues this trend -- it's a no-nonsense 32-incher that eschews fancy features in an effort to keep its price down. At £325, it's certainly cheap, but does it represent good value for money?
Not bad for budget
You wouldn't describe the 32LV713B as a looker, but it's not exactly hard on the eyes, either. At 95mm deep, it's very thick for a 32-inch set, but the glossy black paint job and curvaceous styling on the bezel look reasonably decent by budget-TV standards.
Given the low price point, it's no surprise to find the TV has three HDMI ports rather than the four that are now standard on most mid-range offerings. Nevertheless, you do get two Scart sockets, as well as a set of component inputs, so you shouldn't struggle to connect all your AV gear up to the set.
We're seeing more and more TVs sporting Freeview HD tuners, but the 32LV317B isn't one of them. The tuner used here is only capable of picking up standard-definition broadcasts. Still, if you're a Sky or Virgin Media subscriber, that won't be a major problem for you. The tuner was fast to find all the digital channels, but once they were tuned we found the set was a little slow at switching between them. It's not as bad as Toshiba's 32DV713B in this regard, but it was still noticeably sluggish.
The electronic programme guide (EPG) isn't very good, either. It uses a vertical layout, which makes it difficult to spot clashes between programmes on different channels. Also, when you move between channels in the EPG, the TV automatically switches to that channel, so you can't browse what's coming up while keeping the current show displayed. This is very annoying and makes navigating the EPG slow and tedious.
Its budget price means that its lack of Internet features doesn't come as a shock. Toshiba has added a USB port on the left-hand edge. This can be used to view photos and listen to MP3 files that are stored on USB keys or hard drives. Unlike many of rival sets, such as those from LG, this telly doesn't support video playback via the USB port, so you can't use it to watch your collection of DivX files, unfortunately.
Scrubs up well
The 32LV317B uses a 1080p panel and has Toshiba's Active Vision picture processing, rather than the Resolution+ system that's found on the company's high-end tellies. Feed it with a good Blu-ray disc and you'll find the set can produce impressively rich and cinematic pictures. While black levels aren't quite as deep as you might want, they're still impressive considering the set's low RRP. The display's sufficiently deep black levels, combined with its bright, natural colours, help to produce engaging pictures.
That said, using the 'cinema' preset, we did find we had to reduce the red level slightly as skin tones were looking a little overcooked. This is easy to do thanks to the TV's comprehensive picture controls and, once adjusted, it actually produced very realistic skin tones. We did notice some judder creeping in here and there, and in fast action sequences with lots of quick pans you can see a little motion blur, too.
Budget sets often deal poorly with standard-definition material, such as that from a DVD or Freeview tuner, as their upscalers often aren't up to much cop, but the 32LV713B's performance is reasonably strong in this area. Freeview pictures manage to look quite sharp, although it's best to call on the set's noise-reduction feature to keep a lid on some of the artefacts evident on more heavily compressed channels.
LCDs tend to suffer from relatively weedy sound, but the 32LV713B isn't too bad when it comes to audio. No doubt the thicker chassis has left Toshiba's engineers with more room to add beefier speakers. As a result, the set produces bassier audio than many of its rivals, which helps add more body not just to music channels but also movies and game shows.
The Toshiba Regza 32LV713B is not the most attractive set around, and its line-up of features isn't wonderful, either. But that's not really the point of this TV. Instead, Toshiba has set out to deliver a telly with good picture and sound quality at a very affordable price, and despite the odd niggle here and there, it has succeeded.
Edited by Emma Bayly