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Toshiba 40TL868B

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    1 Review
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      08.12.2011 00:47
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      Good TV but just wish it was slightly better!

      Today I am reviewing the brand new 3D offering from Toshiba, the 40" 40TL868B. This is one of 2 new Toshiba LED TV's aimed at entry level 3D customers, the other being an identical 46" version, the 46TL868B.

      I bought the product from www.electricalexperience.co.uk for the bargain price of £489 delivered, an amazing price for a 40" LED 3D TV. As part of the deal, Toshiba have got together with Lovefilm to offer a free Toshiba 3D Blu-Ray player (BDX 3200) with either of these TV's, as well as 12 months subscription to Lovefilm (subject to terms and conditions I believe). An extra bonus was the availability of a free 5 year Toshiba warranty.


      **First Impressions**

      The box arrived and although I was expecting a slim TV, I wasn't quite prepared for just how thin this box was, with my last TV purchase being a rather bulky 32" LCD about 6 years ago. Technology has really moved on since then!

      Having waited all day at work to get my new TV home, I quickly removed it from the box to view it in all its glory and it didn't disappoint. The TV has a brushed metallic Black finish with a flash of Silver along the bottom bezel. The TV is only 92.3cm wide in total which is very similar to the sleek Samsung 40UD653, an excellent size at this price point. The bezel around the left, right and top edge is roughly 1cm wide with the bottom bezel being about 2cm, really helping concentrate the eye on the screen rather than the surroundings.

      Somewhat surprisingly for the size of the TV, it was a lot lighter in weight compared to my old 32" LCD. LED TV's are much thinner than regular LCD TV's due to the nature of the backlighting and this really makes the set much more manageable. This set weighs in at 14.5kg including the stand and is easily managed by 1 person.

      The stand was fairly easy to attach using 4 screws, but it might require 2 people to fit this as it helps to have the TV on a soft, flat surface, high enough up to attach the stand and avoid cracking or breaking something you shouldn't.

      You receive a Black and Silver remote control which isn't the prettiest thing in the world, some basic instructions but no HDMI cable, so you'll have to provide your own if you require any external HD devices to be connected.


      **Setup and Features**

      The setup process is self explanatory as the on-screen instructions are very clear, and soon I had both analogue and digital channels tuned in. The set also has an HD satellite socket on the back (which is unexpected at this price), so if you have a spare satellite feed available you can plug straight into the TV and you will be given the opportunity to search for channels on that satellite feed. Basically, this is like Freesat HD but without the Freesat branding and channel guides etc. It also has Freeview HD as standard for whenever your aerial is ready to receive it. I will be using sky HD as my feed into the TV so a lot of that isn't important to me, although it is a very nice feature set to have at this low price.

      The initial picture out of the box was a bit too bright for my liking, but all of the usual picture settings for backlight, contrast, colour, saturation, tint and sharpness can be tweaked to your liking. For those that like to tweak further, you can fiddle with colour temperature, MPEG noise reduction, active backlight, auto brightness detection and Black/White levels.

      There are a few preset picture modes to choose from and adjust. There is standard mode which is a good starting point, but has the backlight set to 100 by default and high brightness with everything else set to medium. There is a game mode that is designed to reduce input lag (important for gamers as it's the time between issuing a control or command in game and seeing the action happen on screen) and PC mode, along with Dynamic (which is probably the most bright and colourful setting), Hollywood 1 and 2 which are settings to use during day and night viewing and Autoview, which auto adjusts settings depending on ambient light conditions.

      The set has 3 rear HDMI ports and 1 hidden along the left hand side so pretty much future proofed in that respect. 2 USB ports are provided which I believe can be used to apply downloaded TV updates and for viewing and listening to pictures, videos of various formats and audio files. All of the usual PC, SCART, digital audio out and headphone sockets are here as well as an Ethernet connection to connect your TV to the internet. All modern sets are beginning to be integrated into home networks and this one is no different, providing access to You Tube, Hbb TV (http://www.hbbtv.org/) and Toshiba Places. There is an option in the menu for BBC i-Player, but this is currently greyed out and may possibly be enabled through a future update. Personally I prefer accessing features such as these through my computer but I'm sure it must appeal to some people. I find the speed and control of such 'apps' through a remote control extremely clunky and unnatural. There is also a CI+ Cam slot on the side of the TV for those of you wishing to use services such as Top up TV.

      The TV is full-HD 3D enabled although you'll need a pair of £50+ active shutter Toshiba glasses to be able to access such features. As well as that, you'll need either a 3D Blu-Ray player or a full Sky World/HD subscription to gain access to SKY's 3D services. I don't have the equipment to test the 3D element to this TV, but it is full HD 3D as opposed to the 'half' resolution HD found on the Samsung D6xxx series screens.

      Sound is supplied by 2x 10 watt speakers found underneath the bottom bezel and can supply Nicam and Dolby Digital Plus. The bezel actually widens out slightly to the rear of the TV where the speakers are and this help produce sound plenty good enough for any normal user. Everyone always seems to say a surround sound system is necessary with LED screen due to poor sound/speakers. Not the case here, and quite a few sound tweaks are available in the menu's to improve it further if required. Viewing from 10ft away from the TV and I generally have the sound on 15/100.


      **Performance**

      Initially, the picture looked pretty good in SD broadcasts through my Sky HD box but whilst watching some programmes that I had recorded onto Sky+, I noticed every so often there would be a 'tear' or flash across the screen, only for a split second and at random times, but nonetheless really annoying once it catches your eye. I sent my original set back for replacement as I was adamant that this was a fault. However, the replacement also displayed signs of this 'issue' so I'm not really sure what to make of it. I've had a play around with settings and think I may have lessened the instances of this happening by reducing the backlight level.

      I also had a stuck green pixel on the original set but so far the replacement hasn't developed any pixel problems touch wood.

      The HD picture is bright and vibrant through HDMI on both Blu-Ray and Sky HD, whilst SD viewing is tolerable for the screen size. Some artifacts and noise are to be expected here but nothing that spoils the viewing experience hugely, as with most large screens displaying an SD broadcast.

      With this TV being a 100hz set, I've noticed an issue when using Toshiba's Active Vision setting. A 100hz TV can basically display an extra frame in between every frame normally seen on a 50hz picture. The processing chip guesses what it should look like inbetween frames, with the aim of smoothing the action and reducing motion blur, especially on fast moving or panning shots. Unfortunately, with this setting activated it just exacerbates things by causing excess juddering or stuttering on moving objects on screen, providing a really horrible viewing experience and is a seemingly pointless feature.

      XBOX 360 through HDMI is excellent and the set scores well on input lag in industry tests which is important for gamers. I can now sit and play from the sofa comfortably rather than painfully squinting at my old 32" screen!

      The on-screen display and graphical menu are looking a bit aged and possibly haven't been updated from previous ranges. Definitely not much thought has gone into making them look more modern. The built in TV guide for Freeview is also rather poorly laid out, with channel and programme information crammed in and overlapping whilst also being painfully slow to respond to remote commands. Hopefully this is the sort of stuff that can be improved with future firmware updates.

      I feel this TV doesn't have the depth of settings that other more expensive sets have, but it really is aimed at the budget end of the 3D market and I guess you get what you pay for in that sense.


      **Overall**

      The 40TL868B is a terrific looking set that actually looks no more out of place than my old 32" set, but instead of staring at thick ugly bezels, you get a rich, expansive screen that looks extremely smart. I was gong to upgrade to 37" but so glad I went for a thin bezel 40".

      Also, very good sound quality for an LED TV and a great feature rich set for the price I paid.

      I'm going to have to rate this set as 3.5 stars as it could handle fast panning and action sequences better, whilst Toshiba's Active Vision software just makes the picture worse when activated. I think I'm going to tinker with the settings to minimise the juddering/tearing I've witnessed but the positives seem to outweigh the negatives so I'll persevere with it.

      A few more settings options and features wouldn't go amiss, but it has fantastic connectivity options at a very reasonable price.

      You get a lot of features for your money on this stunning looking TV, but it would be nice if it used them more to its advantage.

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