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Toshiba Regza XV (37XV635DB) review: Toshiba Regza XV (37XV635DB)

Despite being available for a mere £600 or so, the 37-inch Regza 37XV635DB LCD TV actually sits in the upper echelons of Toshiba's current range. That means it boasts three key features: the Meta Brain video-processing suite, a 1080p resolution, and 100Hz processing for improving the way motion looks on the screen.


Toshiba Regza XV (37XV635DB)

The Good

Excellent standard-definition pictures; solid black levels for the price; 100Hz system is subtle but effective.

The Bad

Picture isn't very bright; HD material looks slightly soft; limited viewing angle.

The Bottom Line

The Toshiba Regza 37XV635DB's 100Hz engine definitely helps it improve on the picture quality of the company's cheaper TVs. Its sound is better too, and we love the effect that the Resolution+ processing has on standard-definition material. The TV's relatively high price compared to other Toshiba sets makes its lack of brightness and HD sharpness slightly less palatable, though, especially as most of the company's recent TVs don't suffer from these problems

Minimalist charm
The 37XV635DB's appearance is both satisfying and slightly disappointing. While not particularly imaginative, its glossy black bezel has a chunky, minimalist character that means it's far from ugly. Disappointingly, though, the design and build quality don't seem to be particularly improved over those of Toshiba's lower-cost models.

The Toshiba logo under the screen illuminates when the TV is on. We quite like this feature. If you find it annoying, you can turn the light off in the menus.

The 37XV635DB has a decent set of connections, including four HDMI ports, a PC jack, an SD card slot capable of handling JPEG photos, and a USB port for playing back photo, DivX movie or music files. The 37XV635DB even ships with a built-in media-player application, as well as the option to adjust the way photos appear on the screen during slideshows.

What the 37XV635DB's design lacks in imagination it makes up for in minimalist appeal

The multimedia support sadly doesn't extend to an Ethernet port for accessing either the Internet or files on a PC. We suppose, though, that it really isn't fair to expect this kind of feature on such an affordable TV, especially when it's got so much happening in the picture-processing department.

Processing powerhouse
The 37XV635DB sports 100Hz processing, which comes embedded within Toshiba's proprietary Active Vision M100 HD Pro engine. The 100Hz processing is intended to reduce LCD's traditional motion-blur issues, while the rest of the Active Vision M100 HD Pro system works on boosting colours, contrast, noise reduction and so on.

The 37XV635DB's other big processing party trick is Resolution+, Toshiba's proprietary engine for rescaling standard-definition sources to fit the set's 1080p native resolution. All TVs have to use some level of scaling technology, but our experience of Resolution+, which draws on technology developed for Toshiba's Cell PC processors, is that it does a much better job than most rival systems, especially at the sort of low price points Toshiba is targeting these days.

Although we suspect the healthy list of picture presets that the 37XV635DB ships with will be enough to satisfy most people, hard-core tinkerers certainly won't feel short-changed by the amount of options contained within the set's on-screen menus. Among the unexpected finery on offer is a startlingly expansive colour-management tool, static-gamma-level adjustment, a black-and-white-balance slider, and even the option to adjust the power of the Resolution+ system.

You can also turn off the 100Hz and Resolution+ systems entirely if you so desire, although this isn't something we'd recommend, as both systems really can improve the set's picture quality.

Strong colours, good blacks
This is especially the case with Resolution+, which works a near miracle in the way it adds detail and sharpness to standard-definition sources without making them look gritty or noisy -- provided you never set the Resolution+ processing any higher than its '3' default.

The 100Hz system, meanwhile, definitely reduces the slight resolution loss with motion experienced on Toshiba's current non-100Hz sets. The 37XV635DB doesn't go as far as some rival TVs in this respect -- there's still some judder, and blur isn't completely removed. But, crucially, by adopting a fairly gentle 100Hz approach, the 37XV635DB's pictures are free from the 100Hz processing side effects that you could otherwise see.

Colours look well-saturated and enjoy plenty of blend subtlety too. Although there's more greyness during dark scenes than you get with the best LCD TVs these days, for its price, the 37XV635DB's black-level reproduction is actually pretty accomplished. High-definition pictures look clean and stable, too.

Despite being rather muffled at times, the 37XV635DB's audio sounds more accomplished than the efforts of Toshiba's cheaper TVs. This, we suspect, is down to the set's Dolby Volume and Audyssey EQ processing. The former equalises audio so that you don't get sudden volume jumps between sources or when adverts come on, while the third-party Audyssey EQ continually analyses the audio signal to ensure the TV always sounds as good as it can.

As you'd expect at this price, the 37XV635DB isn't perfect. For instance, when calibrated to deliver the most realistic colours and best black levels, the picture looks slightly starved of brightness compared to the pictures of many rival sets. Also, slightly suspect colour tones occasionally creep in during dark scenes. Finally, even with the 100Hz processing engaged, HD pictures don't look as pin-sharp and detailed as we've seen them look on a few other LCD TVs. We suspect, however, that many people will find the 37XV635DB's excellent sharpness with standard-definition material ample compensation for the latter point.

Although we're not entirely convinced that the 100Hz engine brings enough to the party to justify the Regza 37XV635DB's price hike over its cheaper siblings, this set is nonetheless a typically solid performer from Toshiba, especially if the majority of your TV diet is standard- rather than high-definition.

Edited by Charles Kloet