Toshiba Regza 37AV615DB
Big screen, small price
Review Many of you will no doubt throw up your hands in horror at the thought of buying a mere ‘HD Ready’ television, rather than a ‘Full HD’ model. However, the fact of the matter is that most owners of HD televisions still spend most of their time watching ordinary SD television programmes or DVDs, so it doesn’t make a huge difference whether their set offers the HD Ready 720p resolution or Full HD at 1080p.
Toshiba's Regza 37AV615DB LCD TV
Of course, you don’t want to buy a set that will need to be replaced in a couple of years time if Blu-ray or Freeview HD really start to hit mass-market adoption levels, but a 720p set can still provide good HD picture quality even when converting 1080p content down to 720p. So if all you want is an affordable flat screen TV to replace an aging CRT, then an entry-level model such as Toshiba’s Regza 37AV615DB could fit the bill nicely.
Priced at £500, the 37AV615DB is the largest model in Toshiba’s AV61 range, and browsing a few online retailers confirms that it is, indeed, one of the cheaper 37in screens currently on sale. Toshiba has also launched 26in and 32in versions as well, priced at about £350 and £399 respectively, with all three models sharing the same 1366x768 resolution.
It doesn’t make a great first impression as you lift it out of the box. The plain black plastic panelling looks fairly nondescript, but seems rather lightweight and flimsy. However, it did survive being dropped off the back of the van when it was delivered to us, so the build quality can’t be that bad.
A quick look around the back of the unit reveals a Freeview TV tuner, two HDMI interfaces, component video, two SCARTS, and VGA interface and audio input for connecting a PC – although we hooked up our Mac Mini easily enough using a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor. There’s a third HDMI interface on the left-hand edge, along with composite video and stereo inputs, headphone socket and CI slot for Pay-TV cards, while the right-hand edge holds a simple control panel for turning the set on and off and selecting channels.
The usual sockets: additional interfacing is available from the side panel
That array of connectors should be adequate for most people, and we had no problems hooking up our test rig of TV aerial, Sky+ box, HD-DVD player and Mac Mini. The initial set-up process could have gone a little more smoothly, though. The manual indicated that an ‘Initial Setup’ menu should appear automatically when you turn the set on for the first time. Unfortunately, all we got was a message telling us to ‘please scan for channels’, without indicating how to begin the scanning process.
Shock as TheRegister gets hands on gear that's fell off the back of a wagon
"However, it did survive being dropped off the back of the van when it was delivered to us"
- Ello ello ello, what do we 'ave 'ere them? Dodgy gear? fell off the back of a wagon did it sir?
1080P LG 37" bought for £489 ...
before xmas08 from Dixons online (gasp!) ... got £10 random discount voucher and free delivery.
Cracking TV, excellent DVI monitor @ 1080P, nuff said
Isnt most broadcast HDTV 720p/1080i?
If so on a 37" I think I'd rather watch the usual crap at 720p than 1080i.
Either that or have a TV that will work at its best with the most all round resolution for its screen size.
I have had 2 of them with in a month both had same problem, sound would go off when watching a channel and you would get a high pitch noise would come from tv, then all tv etc would lock up, only way to fix it was to unplug it from mains.
apart from that its a good starter tv, has almost all you want.
I am now looking for a different make of tv, as the toshiba have all been sent back and a full refund given.
Resolution and Aspect Ratio - not the same thing
"Freeview channels displayed correctly, but the signal from our Sky+ box was initially displayed at its standard 576p resolution, which left it with big black borders on either side of the image."
For a start, if it's a standard Sky+ (not HD) box, it'll be 576i not 576p.
Secondly, 576 is the number of vertical, not horizontal pixels, so that wouldn't affect black bars on the sides of the image anyway.
Thirdly, the SD resolution doesn't tell you the aspect ratio in itself. An SD PAL signal is usually encoded as 720 x 576 but the signal contains an Active Format Descriptor (AFD) which tells the TV how to present the video on screen. So basically a 16:9 widescreen programme in SD PAL may have the same 720 pixel horizontal resolution as a 4:3 programme - it's just that the pixels are effectively wider in the widescreen version.
So marksi is right. If the TV puts black bars either side of the image, it's doing it so that you can enjoy your favourite TV characters without fat heads.