Once we'd spent some time fine-tuning the picture, we were pretty happy with the Freeview image quality. The TV seems perfectly capable of showing fine detail, although some Freeview channels are transmitted at such low quality that no amount of processing and tweaking can save them. We're looking at you, ITV2 and More4.
Hi-def sources are a different matter, though, and we were actually bowled over by the effortless way the TV managed to handle 1080p Blu-ray material. Take, for example, District 9. Viewed on this TV, there was a tonne of detail, including the grain present in the original movie. The alien spacecraft looked stunning, and, when the windows shatter in the city's buildings, you can see every pane individually smash.
Even the black levels -- with the backlight tuned down -- are acceptable. An LED-backlit or plasma TV could do better, but, considering it's a budget screen, we're pleased with what the 40LV713B managed. The TV will also adjust the backlight depending on what's on the screen -- that's handy for darker movies or scenes that take place during night time.
No Freeview HD
The digital tuner in the 40LV713B is fairly basic, and doesn't support the new HD broadcasts from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. You do, however, get a normal Freeview service, with audio description -- useful if you have sight problems. At the time of writing, with the World Cup just starting, it would be lovely if the TV could show the HD channels, but we also appreciate that adding features like that just drives the price up, and that's not what this TV is trying to achieve.
Photo and music playback
The TV's one concession to modern features is a photo and audio playback option. Just plonk a USB memory card in the side-mounted socket and off you go. We doubt many people will ever use this feature, but it's one more thing to consider before you get your wallet out.
Toshiba seems keen to sell the 40LV713B on its ability to accept a PC input. That's hardly rare in TVs these days, but we can see the logic. For example, this TV would make a truly excellent companion for an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Indeed, we can see this being a pretty popular TV among cohabiting students at university, where life consists of watching The Jeremy Kyle Show while drinking lager, followed by an afternoon of running over prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto IV.
As well as a VGA input, which is useful for PC owners and people with a pre-HDMI Xbox 360, the TV also has a sound input, in the form of a 3.5mm jack. That means you can use the TV's built-in speakers for your gaming audio. As we've said though, the sound quality of the 40LV713B is hardly awesome, so perhaps consider another option for audio.
The TV also has a reasonably unimpressive grey-to-grey response time of 8ms. This is quite slow for gaming, and you might find this specification disconcerting if you're very worried about smearing. In fact, though, it's quite unlikely to be a major problem for most people. If you are concerned, perhaps head to Comet to have a play with the set before you buy it.
The Toshiba Regza 40LV713B is cheap, but it offers decent picture quality for the money, and a screen size that's likely to keep most people happy. Its audio quality is disappointing but, if you have either a hi-fi system or surround-sound receiver, then you can bypass the built-in speakers and get a much more immersive gaming or movie experience.
Overall, we liked the 40LV713B. Its better-than-expected HD video performance means it's definitely worth a look for PS3 owners who enjoy hi-def movies and already have their own speaker system.
Edited by Charles Kloet