We generally like Toshiba TVs. They tend to offer decent value for money and rarely disappoint in terms of performance. Consequently, we were excited to see the company's new LED-edge-lit LCD TV, the 46-inch, 1080p Regza 46SL753B, which offers some superb features and a decent screen size for a pretty reasonable sum of money. It's available now for around £1,100.
We usually have a go at Panasonic for its dull designs, but it seems Toshiba needs a tongue-lashing as well. The 46SL753B isn't totally hideous, but it doesn't look especially inspired either. It's got a thick bezel, which makes it look cheaper than it should, and the LED edge lighting doesn't seem to have cut down the set's girth considerably either. It certainly isn't impressively thin.
Take a look at Samsung's TVs and you'll get a much better idea of what's possible when a set's showered with love and affection at the design stage. Does any of this matter, though? Not really, but, if you had the choice between a slim, sexy TV and a hulking great box of black plastic, which would you choose?
It's not just us saying this either. In recent polls, members of the public have indicated that the size and style of a TV is the number-one factor in their purchasing decision, ahead of even picture quality. Outrageous.
Dolby Volume reduces advert trauma
For some time now, advertisers have used the rather unpleasant trick of audio compression to make their messages appear louder than the programme you're watching. While this means their products get more attention, it can result in you jumping out of your seat and waking up everyone in the house with your shrieks. Dolby Volume is intended to help reduce the problems associated with such changes in volume by managing the output levels.
We like this feature. If it's doing its job correctly, you'll never notice it, because all sounds will be at the same level, from your Blu-ray movie to that ghastly shopping channel on Freeview. This feature should be included in every TV ever made, and we're very happy to see it included in the 46SL753B.
Toshiba claims the TV supports media playback from USB sticks and SD cards. But the support seems to be for audio and photos only -- we certainly couldn't get any of our usual test videos to work. With rivals such as Samsung and Sony offering MKV playback via external storage devices, we can't help but feel that Toshiba is lagging behind slightly.
Viewing photos is a pleasure, though. Although the TV doesn't show thumbnails as quickly as we'd like, the quality when they're displayed on-screen is stunning. If you were having a party, this would be a terrific way of inflicting your snaps on guests.
We like the inclusion of an 'autoview' mode that adjusts the TV's picture quality based on what you're watching and the environment the set is in. We used this feature a fair deal, and it gave us a pretty likeable overall image. For people not interested in calibrating their TV, we'd certainly say this is the mode to go for.
On the other hand, the TV's movie mode is less impressive. We usually rely on this option to get our high-definition movies looking like they do in the cinema. In this case, though, they tended to look too muted, spoiling. It's far better to tweak the settings yourself, and we were happy with the TV's configuration options, which are numerous and comprehensive.