Toshiba 32SL753B Review

Picture Performance

Black Level

We remarked that when we unboxed and plugged in the Toshiba 32SL753B, it strongly resembled a Samsung LCD TV. Well, when we turned it on, it still resembled a Samsung LCD TV! Everything about the LCD panel fitted to the Toshiba 32SL753 suggests that it is one of Samsung’s SPVA screens, which is excellent news, since this type of LCD panel excels with contrast performance and as such is generally preferred by home cinema users over other types. The latest SPVA LCD panels are capable of producing blacks that were once exclusive to Plasma TVs.

After calibration, we measured the black level as being a satisfyingly deep 0.04 cd/m2, which is in the same ball-park as Samsung and Sony’s own SPVA-based sets. The usual LCD caveat does apply, of course: the screen will get visibly lighter if you sit to either side of the Toshiba 32SL753B; the richest, highest quality image is to be had when you sit face-on.

Black uniformity was good, but as we often experience with side-lit LED LCD sets, the corners of the screen looked a little brighter than the middle. In particular, the bottom-left and top-right revealed a little bit of purple glowing.

Viewing Angle

The Toshiba 32SL753′s off-axis viewing angle performance was considerably better than Samsung’s top-end LED LCD TVs, perhaps as a result of the fact that Toshiba have not pushed the slimness of their TV to the same extremes. Colours, surprisingly, retained a good amount of their punch when viewed off-axis, and although the deep blacks brightened a little and became somewhat purple-tinged, the performance here surprised us. Naturally, there is a small amount of gamma shift present, so the picture loses some depth and appears slightly brighter from the sides, but no LCD-based TV is immune to this issue.

Motion Resolution

Slightly less impressive was the motion clarity displayed by the Toshiba 32SL753B. With the [Active Vision M100] setting engaged, the scrolling test chart from the FPD Benchmark Software test disc showed some flickering artefacts, which we also noticed occasionally during real-world content. In addition to this, the Active Vision system only managed to boost motion resolution to around 450 lines. Other comparable LCD motion interpolation systems have managed to wring out about 600 lines, resulting in slightly crisper motion. With the system disabled, the Toshiba 32SL753 resolved the usual LCD baseline figure of around 300 lines.

In reality, the risk of introducing processing artefacts into the image may not be worth gaining only 150 extra lines of motion resolution, but the choice is with the user, either way.

It’s also worth noting that Toshiba appears to have taken viewers’ dislike of the so-called “soap opera effect” into account. The phrase “soap opera effect” relates to the fact that when viewing high-budget film content, viewers expect to see a cinema-like, 24 frames per second reproduction, without the TV synthesizing additional “inbetween” frames to make the motion appear smoother and video-like (soap operas, of course, tending to be low-budget video productions, hence the phrase). Indeed, with [Active Motion M100] turned on and [Film Stabilization] set to “Normal”, the Toshiba 32SL753B refrained from smoothing motion, presenting the movement of film material in a “hands off” manner (except for very brief hiccups while the TV confirms the presence of film content). It’s great to see Toshiba join Sony, Toshiba, and LG in the faithful presentation of films.

Predictably, during real-world material, some LCD motion blur was visible on the Toshiba 32SL753B. As is often the case with SPVA panels, the most obvious smearing was in dark areas of the picture. In fact, sometimes the Toshiba 32SL753′s own on-screen menu (which is black and grey) would display a brief after-image when we cleared it from the screen.

High Definition

When we had a look through the outstanding-looking Ponyo Blu-ray Disc, we noticed that the finest details in this 2D animated film appeared very, very mildly pixellated in the horizontal direction on the Toshiba 32SL753B. There was clearly some sort of mild image processing going on, so we pulled out the most detailed Blu-ray Disc we could think of: the “flat” (non-curved version) of Warner’s How The West Was Won.

Sure enough, the fine details in the opening “CINERAMA” logo were visibly aliased, and during the film itself, the tiniest details appeared slightly hazy on the Toshiba 32SL753 (test patterns also confirmed the effect). Although we could recover some of the missing detail, this required us to turn up the Sharpness control and introduce some very slight ringing into other parts of the picture.

Of course, it’s likely that only very observant videophile users would notice, and even then they’d have to be sitting close to the screen. The majority of users will likely never see a problem, but it still begs the question: why can’t manufacturers simply make a video monitor which shows video signals properly, without tinkering?

Except for this minor road-bump, the picture quality of the Toshiba 32SL753B was pleasing. Most of this is attributable to the panel’s contrast performance, which is excellent by LCD standards. During most viewing conditions, blacks appeared suitably deep, and unlike most Plasma displays, this was still the case with some ambient light present. The quality held up suitably well when viewed from the sides, and on-screen video looked pleasingly realistic thanks to the calibration work we’d performed on the 32SL753. The panel’s inability to show fully saturated Red didn’t really bother us without a perfect reference, thanks to the fact that the brightness of the colour was correct.

Standard Definition

The Toshiba 32SL753B did a reasonably good job of suppressing flickering/jagged vertical edges during deinterlacing, and successfully reproduced all of the fine details in SD resolution test charts, meaning that standard definition material won’t look any softer than it has to. This LED LCD TV does feature Film Mode detection, meaning that with the [Film Stabilization] mode set to “Normal”, it at least attempts to show material with Film-like motion with maximum clarity. Unfortunately, when we ran the film cadence tests from the HQV Test Disc through the TV, it failed to engage the correct deinterlacing mode, resulting in detailed areas of the film-derived images (think striped shirts, car grilles, etc.) flickering slightly.

ITV channel on Toshiba 32SL753B

During actual viewing, the Toshiba 32SL753 did sometimes show standard-def Film material optimally, but as per the gruelling HQV test material, it would occasionally fall back and use Video deinterlacing instead, resulting in the small jaggies.

BBC4 on Toshiba 32SL753B

Also noteworthy is the Resolution+ feature, which Toshiba has given significant promotion to in the recent past. We’ve never been truly amazed by this feature, and we stand by our previous assessment of it being a glorified edge enhancement algorithm. With overcompressed, softened Digital TV material, enabling Resolution+ will superficially compensate for some lost detail, but will also make mosquito noise artefacts more visible too. Resolution+ is a nice option to have, but it is by no means a must-have feature.

Console Gaming

Fast-paced online games felt slightly sluggish at times on the Toshiba 32SL753, and sure enough, input lag measured at 31ms when compared to a lag-free CRT display. This is enough to put players of “one hit and you’re dead” games at a frustrating disadvantage, but should suit inherently slower-paced genres like RPGs fine.

We also gave the Nintendo Wii port of Okami a spin on the Toshiba 32SL753B. This somewhat blurry-looking, watercolour-inspired game (which we ran in 480p resolution via Component video) never looks technically astonishing on any display, but we did notice that the game’s many thick black outlines left visible streaking when we raced through the Japanese landscapes because of the LCD panel. We weren’t surprised by this, though, given SPVA panels’ well-known black smearing quirks. On a much brighter note, Okami‘s gentler pace and its lack of reliance on split-second movements and reactions meant that the Toshiba 32SL753′s 31ms input lag didn’t bother us here.

Audio Quality

Normally we don’t pass comment on a television’s built-in speakers, since more often than not, they tend to be passable for casual TV viewing, but little more. The speakers on the Toshiba 32SL753B are certainly usable, but they have an unusually hollow, thin sound which isn’t up to the same standards as Samsung’s even thinner LED-sidelit LCD TVs. Toshiba does provide some audio controls, most usefully a basic 5-band equaliser which can be tweaked to provide a superficially punchier sound, but we especially recommend using external speakers with this display for everything except casual viewing.

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