If you live in a small flat or just need a TV for a second room, this 19-inch DV 19DV713B from Toshiba is a real space-saver, especially with its integrated DVD player. Priced at around £200, it's pretty affordable too, but does it deliver good picture quality?
Stand on its own
The TV is finished almost entirely in glossy black with just a slight silver speckled effect used on the bottom of the bezel. Its curvy design is quite pleasing to the eye, but at 76mm it's very deep -- in fact, we've seen slimmer 55-inch sets.
Since the stand is already attached when you take it out of the box, you don't have to fiddle around with screws to put it together. In saying that, the stand can be removed if you want to hang it on a wall -- it has standard Vesa mounting holes so it will work with any standard wall mount.
Good controls, poor EPG
Setting the TV up is very straightforward. The first time you turn it on, an on-screen
wizard guides you through the channel-tuning process. Once this is completed you'll
find that the menu system, although not exactly teeming with graphical icons,
is sensibly laid-out and easy to find your way around. It also offers pretty
comprehensive picture settings. Along with the usual brightness and contrast
controls, it offers 3D-colour-management settings, a
rarity on a small screen like this. The menu also gives plenty of control over the
set's audio. Treble and bass controls are joined by a volume limiter, which may come
in handy on those channels that still think it's acceptable to ramp up the volume
The set's electronic programme guide (EPG) isn't quite as impressive. It uses a traditional bricks-in-the wall layout, but it feels very sluggish to use. 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 a very annoying limitation, and one that we've seen on other Toshiba sets recently. Another issue is that the set is very slow to change channels, sometimes taking up to 6 seconds to switch to an adjacent channel, which grates on the nerves after a while.
Given the TV's small size, it actually has a good line-up of ports, including two HDMI sockets, a set of component inputs, a Scart socket and composite connector. There's also a USB port on the left-hand side beneath the DVD player. This can be used to view photos or listen to MP3 files, but, although the TV is DivX-compatible, it can't be used to play videos. If you want to play DivX files, you have to burn them to CD or DVD and play them back via the DVD player.
The DVD player uses a slot-loading mechanism and is fairly quiet when it's spinning discs. Playback quality is around the same level as a mid-range player and discs are reasonably quick to load. As well as video DVDs, it can also play DivX and Xvid files, and JPEG photos and MP3 files that have been burned to disc.
The set doesn't do a bad job when it comes to picture quality. It produces strong, vibrant colours, although pictures can be a little bit peaky on the reds at times, leading to slightly unnatural skin tones. The picture processing isn't as good as that on larger mid-range sets from Toshiba, but you could argue it's also less necessary on a small TV like this. Freeview broadcasts tend to look pretty sharp and relatively clean. The backlighting is a little blotchy, however, and in darker scenes you can see that the edges of the picture are brighter than the centre, but this is an issue that affects many portables.
The set's panel has a maximum resolution of 720p. Although it can show pictures from a 1080p source such as a Blu-ray player, these are downscaled to fit the native screen resolution. Nevertheless, 720p content does look very crisp and sharp, and on a screen this small, you're unlikely to see the benefit of 1080p anyway.
Portables generally aren't that hot when it comes to audio, but here the 19DV713 is quite a surprise -- it's actually capable of producing full-bodied sound. Dialogue is clean and well centred, and even music sounds punchy with a decent amount of bass for such a small TV.
Overall, the Toshiba DV 19DV713B is a decent portable TV that's capable of producing good pictures and strong sound. The integration of the DVD player will also be a bonus for those who are tight on space. We just wish Toshiba hadn't saddled it with such a poor EPG.
Edited by Emma Bayly