Toshiba's LED TVs are like buses. You wait ages for one to come along and suddenly a load of them turn up at the same time. Hot on the heels of the slim Regza 40WL753Bthat we looked at last month comes the even slimmer Regza 40VL758B, which is priced at around £800. This model also has a new, more stylish look, thanks to a tie-up with Danish design guru Jacob Jensen.
We thought the 40WL753B was pretty waif-like, at just 40mm deep, but Toshiba has managed to get the 40VL758B down to a mere 29mm. It's not just the slimness of the set that's impressive. The Jacob Jensen design team has also come up a sexy new look whereby the front of the TV seems to be made out of a single sheet of glass that's been pressed on to a chrome frame. This glass also overhangs the set slightly to create a great-looking, transparent edge. It all adds up to a rather classy finish, rivalling some of the best designs from Samsung and LG.
You'll have no problems hooking up your external gear to this TV either, as it has a wealth of connections, including four HDMI ports and a set of component inputs, as well as Scart and VGA inputs. The only slight compromise is that, due to the slimness of the chassis, the Scart socket has to be attached via a small adaptor cable, but that's really not much of a hassle.
Along with the usual AV connections, there's an Ethernet socket and two USB ports. One of these USB ports is for the optional Wi-Fi dongle, while the other can be used for playing back music, photos and videos from an external hard drive or memory key. We tried it with some DivX and MKV files and the playback quality was excellent. The Ethernet port can also be used for media playback as it lets you stream files from DNLA-certified devices such as a Windows 7 PC. Unfortunately, it wouldn't work on our Windows Vista PC or the Universal Plug and Play server built into our network-attached storage drive.
YouTube and iPlayer
We had more luck with the iPlayer service, which played videos without any problems. That said, we did find that the 40VL758B took longer to buffer the video before playback started than Sony's iPlayer-equipped sets, and it was also slower at skipping back and forth through a video steam. So Toshiba still has some work to do in this department.
Nevertheless, the Bl758's EPG is rather good. It's cleanly laid out and is quick to navigate around. As the TV has a Freeview HD tuner, you'll also find HD services from Channel 4, BBC and ITV nestled in among the usual line up of standard definition channels.
Toshiba has used edge-mounted LED backlighting for this model and also added in its Resolution+ upscaling technology as well as Active Vision M100 HD Pro 100hz picture processing. The LED backlighting helps the set produce really bright images and colours are very rich and engaging. Sharpness was also impressive, especially when watching films on Blu-ray, but thanks to its Resolution+ upscaing prowess, the TV does a decent job of sharpening up standard definition Freeview signals too.
Although not completely free of motion issues, the 100hz processing does for the most part manage to reign in motion blur and any nasty judder. However, it's not all rosy, as although this TV really can produce cavernously deep black levels, there are some inconsistencies with the backlighting. For example, if you're watching a movie with a title sequence that has white text against a black background, there's some noticeable grey blotchiness across the black areas of the picture. Also, as with the WL753, this model's contrast performance isn't quite as good as it could be, with the result that it fails to tease out some finer shadow detail in darker movie scenes.
On the audio front, this set certainly isn't the beefiest sounding model on the market as its speakers don't really muster up all that much bass. But this is a common problem on slim line TVs, and at least the WL758's speakers are reasonably loud and deliver crisp, clean dialogue.
The 40VL758B is a great looking TV that produces bright pictures with rich, natural colours. However, its contrast performance isn't quite up there with the best and its internet features are also disappointing.
Update: We've had confirmation from Toshiba that the YouTube implementation on this set is indeed currently broken. The company said it will soon release a firmware update to address the issue, however.
Here's Toshiba's full statement: "As a result of a recent specification change, owners of some early Regza VL758 and WL768 series models are required to perform a small firmware upgrade in order to enjoy full YouTube functionality. This firmware upgrade will be available shortly, and will be available for download from www.toshiba-om.net. This change only affects a very small number of units, and later shipments of these products are unaffected".