Toshiba 42VL963

The second of two Toshiba TVs in this test, this 42VL963 started faring better than its sibling as soon as we turned it on. The issues regarding the LED backlight on the 40TL963 are less persistent in this set. Admittedly, there are some patches of unevenness, it doesn't interfere with the picture on the screen. As with the 40in set, this TV has both Freesat and Freeview HD tuners. A standard-definition episode of How I Met Your Mother is good to watch, with Freesat channel delivering crisper images than Freeview, as usual. Switch to Star Trek on Blu-ray, and there is a good level of detail delivered, alongside clean images and stable motion. Contrast is yet again the weakest factor in this set-black levels just aren't deep enough, leaving whites and highlights to look decidedly muted and glum. The edges of the grand USS Enterprise, against the backdrop of deep space and bright pinpoints of stars and lens flares, are not rendered with as much punch and clarity, which makes watching the film less exciting. Toshiba 42VL963 Play Hugo in 3D and you'll find the Toshiba's smooth motion, handling working to full effect, with minimal flicker to distract you from the film. The 3D is passive, so as is usually the way it's more comfortable for longer viewing sessions compared with an active set. Toshiba has included four pairs of lightweight glasses so you don't have watch 3D films all on your own. Passive 3D, and a decent upscaler DVD upscaling remains its redeeming feature, with neon displayed with minimal noise, and once again scenes in natural sunlight have much better colour balance and warmth. On it's own, this TV is nice to watch, but it falls short in terms of outright clarity and subtlety when compared with the Samsung and Sony sets in this test. A more direct rival to the 42VL963 in terms of price, passive 3D capabilities and their leanness of picture colour would be the LG set. While both sets are relatively on a par, if we were forced to pick we would choose the LG thanks to it's intuitive and friendly interface. The Toshiba's menu interface is slightly clunky compared with the more streamlined designs of rival sets in this test. The bulky, button remote control is as responsive as we like, and navigating the sluggish TV programme guide quickly becomes somewhat irritating. As with the 40TL963, we had similar problems with adjustments to brightness, contrast and colour tone. There quite a list of additional processing: Digital Noise Reduction; Active Backlight Control; Ambient Light Sensor; Active Brightness Sensor; Active Vision. It s interesting to play around with all these options, but we'd recommend turning pretty much all of them off. With them on, they keep trying to adjust the picture on the screen and the constant adjustment is distracting.

Toshiba 42VL963

We'd also suggest pairing the TV with an amp and decent speakers or a soundbar, as the thin sounding Toshiba has a sibilant edge that can be grating. Smart features are abundant in the Toshiba Places smart hub. There are various online services like BBCi Player and Acetrax providing on demand music and video content, while social networking services like Facebook, Twitter and email make sure you're never disconnected from the outside world. There's both wired and wireless connectivity on board, which means you can stream any multimedia you have stored on your computer, NAS device or even smartphone straight to your TV. The Toshiba 42VL963 may not yet be leading the pack in terms of performance, but it's a good set at a reasonable price with plenty of attractive features-and as such, it well worth a place on your shortlist. Need a Job? Look main job search engine "JOB ofmine"!

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