Different people want different things from a flatscreen telly, and the Toshiba 40BL702B has been specified to appeal to those only after the basics. Reasonably slim and uncontroversially designed, it does away with smart TV, 3D and even Freeview HD, and as such should be considered a basic television for those of us with subscription TV set-top boxes.
Heaped with various ins and outs and able to handle a plethora of digital video, music and photo files, the Toshiba 40BL702B reaches parts that not all entry-level TVs reach. It also offers an above average audio performance and great colours, while cutting out features that some users won't want to pay for - with the end result being a low price for considerable screen real estate.
Motion blur is the main negative on a screen that fails to impress even with its cost-cutting attitude and low price taken into account. Picture noise is evident, as is some lacklustre upscaling of standard definition sources, which leaves its lack of a Freeview HD tuner seeming a crucial oversight. Even its basic digital tuner is scarred by a poor EPG that cuts sound and picture during use.
Although dogged by motion blur and a generally poor handling of standard definition sources, Toshiba's back-to-basics 40BL702B might appeal to Virgin Media, BT Vision and Sky subscribers with no wish for Freeview HD or smart TV, although when judged on picture alone there are more versatile options.
Toshiba's 40RL953 is marginally more impressive (and expensive) and includes both Toshiba Places (the brand's smart TV platform) and a Freeview HD tuner.
In the wider market, we'd recommend either Samsung's UE40D5520 or Panasonic's TX-L37E5B. The former boasts smart TV, a Freeview HD tuner and startlingly good picture quality for less than £600 (around $940), while the identically priced latter - though three inches smaller - has perhaps the slickest smart TV service and an excellent all-round performance.