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Toshiba 46TL868B review: Toshiba 46TL868B

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The Good Sharp HD images; Strong 3D performance; Narrow bezel adds to the design appeal; Deep black levels.

The Bad Poor Internet features; standard-definition performance could be better; Weedy speakers.

The Bottom Line We like the 46-inch Toshiba 46TL868B's narrow bezel, bright and sharp HD pictures and strong 3D performance. However, the weedy speakers and lacklustre standard-definition performance let the side down.

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6.5 Overall

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The 46-inch 46TL868B sits towards the middle of Toshiba's line-up of LED TVs and includes active shutter 3D technology, as well as Toshiba's Places Internet TV platform.

You can pick it up for around £730, which is quite cheap for a TV in this class.

If you buy it before Christmas from participating retailers, you can also get a free Toshiba Blu-ray player and one year's subscription to LoveFilm.

User interface and EPG

Rather than using the new, twin-circle design that Toshiba employs for the menu system on its higher-end models, this set sports the older, flatter-style menus. They appear in a black box that's overlaid on the current video source. There are a series of tabs across the top with icons to represent their functions, such as picture, sound, tuning and set-up controls. As you select each of these, the rest of the space in the box is taken up with the various settings associated with each option.

The black and white presentation isn't exactly a feast for the eyes and it's a long way from the user-friendliness of LG's menus. But they're quick to navigate and most of the features that you'd want are included. For example, under the picture menu, you'll find full 3D colour management tools, as well as settings for the Active Vision processing, noise reduction and backlight control.

Toshiba 46TL868B menus
The menus aren't exactly inspiring to look at.

Following Panasonic's lead, Toshiba has kitted this TV out with two tuners -- one for Freeview HD and another that can handle HD satellite feeds. Sadly, the satellite one isn't compatible with Freesat HD. Instead, when you connect it to a dish, it simply tunes all the free-to-air channels that it can find, including all the regional variations of BBC One and Two, as well as a load of foreign language channels.

Worse still, the electronic programme guide (EPG) doesn't actually work for satellite channels. As a result, it's only really the Freeview HD tuner that's of use on this set.

The EPG for the Freeview tuner doesn't have much in the way of visual panache, but it does at least show a lot of channels and programming information on one screen. It's a shame that it's a tad sluggish to navigate around using the remote control though.

Toshiba 46TL868B EPG
The EPG looks dull but it presents lots of information in one go.

Digital media and Internet features

One area where Toshiba has been lagging behind the competition recently is with Internet TV features. Like its other smart TV models, this set uses the Places system. This has recently had a minor update that adds support for Acetrax, which is welcome as the other movie on-demand option, Viewster, has an appallingly bad selection of movies. The Places system is split into different hubs for video, social networking, music, news and games.

The video hub is fairly well populated and now offers apps for Dailymotion, Box Office 365, Woomi and Cartoon Network. There are also links to the BBC iPlayer and YouTube apps, but if you click on them it simply tells you to access them from the TV's main menu rather than the Places system -- so no marks for user-friendliness there.

Toshiba 46TL868B Places
The Places Internet platform needs a lot of work if it's going to catch up with rival services.

The rest of the hubs are so barren that you can practically hear the tumbleweed rolling around. In the music hub, you'll only find the Aupeo radio app, for example, while the social networking hub merely has Facebook and Flickr apps.

All in all, despite the addition of Acextrax, Places still doesn't offer the depth and breath of content that you'll now find on LG and Samsung's Smart TVs.

As you would expect on a mid-range model such as this, there's also built-in media playback features. You can access movies from a PC across your home network. Alternatively you can play them back via hard drives or memory keys plugged into one of the set's USB ports. Local playback via USB worked fine and the set played MKV, DivX and Xvid files without breaking a sweat.

However, when it came to media streaming, it would only play videos fed from a Windows 7 laptop -- it refused to work with our NAS drive or a Windows Vista PC. Even then, it would only stream Xivd and DivX files, as it didn't seem to be able to see our MKV files. This is shoddy, seeing as most other manufacturers now support MKV streaming.

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