Toshiba 46TL963 review

The 46TL963 is Toshiba’s high street champion. Neither supermarket fodder nor high-end hero, it combines internet connected Smarts with 3D compatibility, and has a trendy, slim-line chassis. At first glance it should be a no-brainer purchase – but there’s some devil in the detail.

 The 46TL963 is certainly well made. It has two tuners (Freeview HD and generic DVB-S2 satellite) plus generous connectivity: four HDMIs, component, Scart, phono AV, PC VGA, a digital audio output, a CI slot, Ethernet and a pair of USB ports.

This is also the first Toshiba model we’ve seen to offer Rovi’s enhanced EPG. You can flip between the regular Freeview TV guide (no live window, but ongoing channel audio) to this information-rich internet-connected version via a menu toggle. The Rovi guide allows you to nose through contextual info, including plot synopsis, cast and crew. The only catch is the slow loading time required, typically 18 seconds.

Toshiba 46TL963 side

Picture and sound quality

The 46TL963's image quality is above average, thanks to a solid HD performance and adept motion handling. With Active Vision processing on Standard the screen delivers a respectable 1000 lines of moving resolution, creating very few artefacts in the process. Avoid running Active Vision on High, as this creates overt artefacts around moving objects: teams in Euro 2012 suddenly appeared to be playing in translucent puffer jackets.

Black level uniformity isn't perfect, thanks to uneven LED edge-lighting (pools of light were visible on our black test image), but contrast is good. The 46TL963’s standard-definition Freeview performance is average and highly channel dependant, but HD channels looked great.

Audio quality is surprisingly good, courtesy of some decent speakers which deliver welcome mid-range wallop.

Unfortunately, the 46TL963's 3D effect is mediocre. Active Shutter 3D images seem dark and there’s clear double imaging; the number of Chinese lanterns on the menu of Tangled (Disney Blu-ray) effectively doubling when you don the specs.

No glasses are included, but you can choose between two models: the FPT-AG02G cost £59 per pair, while the rechargeable FPT-AG01G cost £80 per pair.

Toshiba’s internet TV proposition is more convincing. Toshiba Places boasts BBC iPlayer, DailyMotion, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, among others.

Video formats and recording

Video file playback from USB is accomplished. The 46TL963 can play AVI, MKV, WMV, MPEG, MOV and VOB. However across a LAN things rather deteriorate, with none of the aforementioned video suffixes accessible.

Thanks to a firmware upgrade, promised in mid-2012, you'll be able to connect a USB hard disk and use it to record, pause and rewind live TV. You can use one USB port for an optional Wi-Fi dongle.

46TL963: Specs

  • Screen size/resolution 46in, 1920x1080 pixels
  • Contrast ratio: 1000000:1 dynamic
  • Brightness: 400cd/m2
  • Speakers: 2x10W
  • Built-in tuner(s): Freeview HD, DVB-S2
  • EPG: 7-day
  • Inputs: 4x HDMI, 1x Scart, 1x Composite, 1x Component,1x VGA
  • Outputs: Digital audio coaxial S/PDIF, headphone jack
  • Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi via optional USB adaptor
  • Ports and slots: 2 x USB 2.0, CI slot
  • Physical dimensions (w/o stand): 1056 x 555 x 37.7 (top)/56 (bottom) mm (w/h/d)
  • Weight: 18.5 kg
  • Average power consumption: 66W
  • Warranty: 1 year return-to-base
  • Screen size/resolution 46in, 1920x1080 pixels
  • Contrast ratio: 1000000:1 dynamic
  • Brightness: 400cd/m2
  • Speakers: 2x10W
  • Built-in tuner(s): Freeview HD, DVB-S2
  • EPG: 7-day
  • Inputs: 4x HDMI, 1x Scart, 1x Composite, 1x Component,1x VGA
  • Outputs: Digital audio coaxial S/PDIF, headphone jack
  • Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi via optional USB adaptor
  • Ports and slots: 2 x USB 2.0, CI slot
  • Physical dimensions (w/o stand): 1056 x 555 x 37.7 (top)/56 (bottom) mm (w/h/d)
  • Weight: 18.5 kg
  • Average power consumption: 66W
  • Warranty: 1 year return-to-base

OUR VERDICT

There’s little doubt that you get a lot of screen for your money with the 46TL963. Its HD performance is generally fine, the cosmetics are swish and there’s a reasonable selection of catch-up and video on demand. Just don’t buy it if you want clean 3D or need to play multimedia files across a network.

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