What is the Toshiba 40TL968?
Design & Connections
The Picture Menu houses the standard Picture Mode, Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Colour, Tint and Sharpness sliders. The available Picture Modes are Dynamic, Standard, Game, Autoview and Toshiba’s attempt at providing accurate out of the box settings with the Hollywood modes. In addition to the standard controls we have the Advanced Picture Settings that contain the ‘ColourMaster’ Colour Management System(CMS) which we’ve had our fair share of well documented problems with in the past.
Further controls for the Auto Brightness Sensor, which alters luminance based on ambient lighting; Active Backlight Control; Black/White Level; Noise Reduction; Resolution+ and ClearScan are also found in this area and we’ll cover some of those later in the review but we found no use for either the Noise Reduction nor Auto Brightness Sensor controls. The absence of the Cinema Mode that exists in some of the Toshiba’s is unlikely to be missed as it doesn’t work for PAL content anyhow. The Expert Picture Settings Menu houses a catch-all test pattern and a RGB Filter allowing for a quick colour and tint calibration using just a test disc and blue filter. We can also choose between BT.601 and BT.709 colour decoding or choose to have the TV auto detect. The TL968 has both 2 and 10 point White Balance options but does lack a Static Gamma control that may make calibration tricky.
A new addition appears under the TV Programmes menu, as well as the standard EPG there’s a new MediaGuide EPG powered by Rovi. The guide takes a few seconds to load but the interface is worth the wait and is able to give far more detail than the standard EPG. It’s also possible to arrange programming by genre by Children, Films, Sports and News options. To enable MediaGuide, users must enter the Preferences Menu and access the TV Guide Selection item. Toshiba could certainly make setting up a Wireless connection to your network more simplistic if you don’t have a WPS type router and the signal was quite weak, even in a room adjacent to our wireless router so it took a lot longer to establish than we would have liked.
Overall dynamic range from the Toshiba 40TL968B was good, if not great, but somewhat marred by a panel that was troubled by uniformity problems. Our ANSI test revealed a Contrast Ratio of around 2,500:1 but as you can see from the black portions of the pattern, black level ranged from a good 0.08 to an excellent 0.032 cd/m2 due to the lighter patches around the screen.
The Toshiba TL968 did a decent job with standard definition content, cleanly scaling a 576 signal, with no obvious signs of softening or haloing artefacts. The 968 isn’t a good video deinterlacer, however, with jaggies appearing in the mid portions of our test patterns. Like most recent Toshiba’s, the 40TL968B was also unable to detect a 2:2 film cadence so there is some unnecessary deinterlacing introduced and with it some resolution loss. We’ve criticised some recent Toshiba TVs for their lack of proper 1080p24 support, which meant they weren’t displaying the majority of Blu-ray discs at their optimum but the TL968 is decent in that regard; we could see the odd skipped frame and a touch of undue judder, from time to time, most of the time things ticked over quite well.
Anyone even remotely concerned with enjoying responsive gaming on the TL968B will need to change to the Game Picture Mode else be faced with lag of around 135 milliseconds. The Game mode does the trick in cutting down on any unnecessary processing by reducing input latency to around 49 milliseconds, which isn’t too bad but laggier than some we’ve tested. Panel response isn’t particularly impressive and we did notice some ghosting from time to time but it’s likely most won’t find it an issue. 3D gaming is quite laggy, however, and we took measurements around the 140 milliseconds mark in that mode.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out of the Box – Standard Mode: 52.7W
- Calibrated – Hollywood Mode: 49.2W
- 3D Mode: 72.5W
Toshiba 40TL968 Picture Quality 2D
The problems didn’t stop with the green cast, unfortunately, and the review sample provided suffered with a lot of light pooling, edge bleed and panel banding – the unholy trinity of LED technology. The upshot of those issues were that dark scenes were marred and muddied by the unwanted outpouring of light, obscuring detail; the black bars in material with non-native 16:9 aspect would glow and any panning shots would clearly show up bands of alternating luminance across the screen. We have to accept that LED TVs can be a lottery when it comes to uniformity so we’re more than willing to believe there are better TL968’s out there but this one really wasn’t good. Add those in to the greenish mix of the Hollywood mode and we were left with a bit of a televisual disappointment.
Toshiba 40TL968 Picture Quality 3D
- 3D was very watchable
- MediaGuide EPG is nice
- Lots of screen uniformity issues
- Unworkable calibration controls...
- ...with poor out of box performance
- Not much in Toshiba Places
Toshiba 40TL968 TV Review
Even if the silver trim of the Toshiba 40TL968 isn’t quite to our taste, we can appreciate how it will fit in to some living rooms and it’s certainly sleek enough to impress. Much more to our liking is the fact Toshiba sees fit to equip the TL968 with four HDMI ports, instead of skimping like some other manufacturers we could mention. The beefy, two-tone remote control is fairly unique and we like it. It makes navigating through Toshiba’s menu structures a relative pleasure, even if said menus could use a prune. Toshiba’s Smart TV platform – Toshiba Places – on the other hand, could use a few extra flowers on the bush but there are most of the major bases covered with YouTube and iPlayer apps added to Facebook and Twitter for social networkers, with Skype video calling to top it all off nicely. If the supplied review unit is anything to go by, however, Wi-Fi reception is weak so it can’t be placed too far away from your router should you wish to avail yourself of what’s on offer.
We’ve had issues with Toshiba’s calibration controls, in the past, but not quite to the extent we suffered with the TL968B. They are, quite simply, unusable in their present state and even a gentle massage with either the white balance controls or the Colour Master system led to on-screen carnage. The result of this meant we were left with the default Hollywood picture mode as the best alternative, which wasn’t too bad in terms of primary and secondary colours but anything in-between could be marred by a heavy green cast. That wasn’t the only problem either, and a triumvirate of screen uniformity issues – pooling, bleed and panel banding – only further unhinged the experience. At least the 3D prowess of the TL968 lets us end on a positive note, where it actually outdid that of the 2D in terms of looking natural. Très bizarre!
We’re certainly happy to believe the review sample provided is an unusually bad example of what a TL968 can do but, based on the evidence in front of us, it’s not a display we could recommend at this time.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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