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Toshiba Regza UL (42UL863B) review: Toshiba Regza UL (42UL863B)

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The Good Classy design; facial-recognition software; integrated Wi-Fi; Freeview HD and satellite tuners.

The Bad Internet offering is a mess; competing TVs offer better picture quality; weedy audio.

The Bottom Line Toshiba has packed the 42-inch Regza 42UL863B LED TV full of interesting features. Unfortunately, the telly's disappointing where it really counts -- audio and picture quality.

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6.5 Overall

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The Regza 42UL863B is one of the first Toshiba TVs to feature the company's new Smart TV Internet platform. It also has a built-in camera that can detect different users' faces and automatically switch between presets. All this will set you back around £600, which isn't too pricey for a 42-inch, 1080p, LED-illuminated LCD TV.


In terms of appearance, the 42UL863B is an improvement on Toshiba's previous TVs. The brushed-metal effect on the narrow bezel, as well as the chrome strips that run down either side of the TV, look quite sophisticated. It's surprisingly slim too, measuring just 35mm deep.

Toshiba has added two tuners to this set. The first allows you to pick up Freeview HD broadcasts via a standard aerial, while the second is a high-definition satellite TV tuner. Unfortunately, the latter doesn't conform to the freesat HD spec, so, when you tune the channels, you simply get all the free-to-air channels available from the Astra 19.2°E satellites, including all the different BBC and ITV regional variations. This is quite messy, especially as the electronic-programme-guide data isn't always supported either.

Next to the satellite and aerial feeds, you'll find the usual line-up of sockets, including four HDMI ports, a set of component inputs, a Scart socket and a VGA input. These ports will cover off most people's needs when it comes to hooking up their AV devices.

Toshiba has also included two USB ports. If you plug a hard drive or memory key into one of these, you can either record the channel you're currently watching, or schedule recordings via the rather basic but functional EPG. Although the TV has both terrestrial and satellite tuners, you can only use one source at a time, so you can't record BBC One on the terrestrial tuner while watching BBC Two on the satellite tuner, for example.

Media streaming

As well as including an Ethernet port, Toshiba has also built Wi-Fi into the set, which is to be applauded, as most manufacturers still only support Wi-Fi via optional, and usually expensive, USB dongles.

What's not so impressive is this model's media-streaming features. We couldn't get it to play commonly supported file formats, like Xvid, DivX and MKV, over a network. That's bizarre, as it played these files back from a hard drive connected to its USB port without any problems.

Internet features

The 42UL863B supports Toshiba's new Smart TV platform. This gathers together online content into a system called Places. Unfortunately, it's not very impressive. For example, although both iPlayer and YouTube are listed in Places, selecting them actually brings up an error box that tells you to exit the Places menu and instead access these services from the main menu. That's pretty shoddy interface design.

Toshiba Regza 42UL863B Places
The Places online platform leaves something to be desired.

There are some interesting offerings in Places, including BoxOffice365, the Viewster on-demand service, and video-sharing site Dailymotion, but, on the whole, it lags behind Sony and LG's platforms.

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