This 47in LED TV is the middle child in Toshiba’s new L74 range (also comprising 42in and 55in screens) and the first we’ve seen of its 2014 models.
Last year was a mixed bag for Toshiba TVs: their sharp, vivid picture and smart platform made a fine impression, but they were let down by a sluggish interface – and it’s a feeling of déjà vu with this test.
The bright, vivid, high-definition picture returns. Toshiba claims its 2014 TVs are 75 per cent brighter than last year’s models due to a new backlight system – and it can’t be denied.
It’s certainly flashy: The Jeremy Kyle Show studio is a bright, lively blue. Crowd colours are punchy and appealing, while contrast is equally arresting. Skin-tones are far from the most natural we’ve seen, though, and finer details are glazed over.
Switch to Skyfall on Blu-ray and the Toshiba can’t quite keep up with the film’s initial chase scene, which is full of intense action and jumpy camera shots.
There are traces of judder throughout. Turn on the TV’s motion processing and, while steadier, you get significant blurring in return – roof tiles lose definition and even the outline of Bond is compromised.
There’s no denying the screen’s sharpness once the fast motion stops, though. In slower scenes, outlines are precise and the picture is clean.
Passive 3D content is clear and bright too, as the Toshiba gives a decent sense of depth (the TV comes with four pairs of passive glasses, which is generous).
Standard definition is decent, but lacks crispness and detail compared with the best TVs.
Sound is less of an issue, as Toshiba has improved the bass and delivers a more expansive soundfield. Volume isn’t an issue either.
The TV’s speakers (driven by 30W of amplification) sound big and loud – it avoids the small, tinny qualities still so common in slim TVs. Even so, a soundbar such as the LG NB4530A (£300) would still be a big help here.
Design & interface
The full-screen home menu is clear and colourful, and comprises two pages – the first a gateway to apps and media, the second featuring customisable Twitter feeds and the Media Guide Replay.
The latter is Toshiba’s own recommendation service, which – unlike any other we’ve seen – suggests future programmes (based on the user’s past viewings) and automatically records them.
Providing there’s a USB hard-drive plugged in, broadcast TV can be paused while you, say, go make a cuppa, while Toshiba’s Personal Video Recording (PVR) feature records a programme behind the scenes too, so you can pick up where you left off. Handy.
We’re stumped by the interface’s lag as it dilly-dallies through functions. Pages are often slow to open, juddering from one to the next. The TV’s remote does it no favours, either – it’s large, flat and not nice to hold.
Press the Home button and the screen takes its time to react. The visual design is tastefully low-key. Thin, glossy-black frames border the screen’s top and sides, with a matte-finish at the bottom.
The TV is on a metal stand, but it can be wall-mounted too, thanks to a flat-back panel and connections on the side. The TV has four HDMI – as well as Scart, component, composite, PC and USB – inputs, plus one optical and headphone output.
Overall, this TV has a bright, vivid picture, but we don’t see much progression from last year’s models. Toshiba needs to do better.
MORE: Best TVs 2014