Toshiba 42VL963 review

Ambitious but oh-so-slow Edge LED telly with passive 3D

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  • Design
  • Active Vision smoothness
  • Passive 3D performance
  • Four pairs of 3D glasses


  • Lacklustre smart TV
  • No Wi-Fi
  • Slow, unresponsive GUI
  • No wireless networking

With Freeview HD, 3D, Full HD and smart TV apps all wrapped up in an edge-to-edge glass design, Toshiba's 42VL963 might appear, at first, to be an everyman TV that's in prime position for a place in the nation's living rooms.

And though Toshiba, as a brand, has a heritage in putting together irresistibly good-value packages of the latest features, the 42VL963 is a reminder to never buy a television without first having a full hands-on demo.

It may have some usability issues that we'll discover later, but this 42-inch Edge LED TV hides them well.

With the lights on, the 42VL963 is quite the looker, with a single piece of glass covering almost the entire front of the TV.

Behind is a bezel about 10mm wide that surrounds the visible panel, while its depth of 34.7mm is also quite an achievement, though this does taper out slightly at the bottom.

Toshiba 42VL963 review

The Toshiba Places smart TV portal – including BBC iPlayer – makes an appearance on the 42VL963, though it's a wired affair here; there's no Wi-Fi on board.

 Toshiba 42VL963 review

A Freeview HD tuner features, as does one-touch USB recording, while the 42VL963's got plenty of picture-boosting processing features, too.

Toshiba 42VL963 review

Movie-centric picture presets are available – 'Hollywood1' and 'Hollywood2' (the latter has a touch more contrast and the back light is turned up a tad) – alongside dedicated settings for a games console and PC.

Toshiba 42VL963 review

Toshiba 42VL963 review

There are also a couple of far-out choices; ColourMaster, AutoView (where the 42VL963 monitors surrounding light levels and alters the brightness levels itself), Active Backlight Control (which dynamically boosts contrast and black levels) and Active Vision (a frame interpolation tech that lends smoothness to Blu-ray discs in various strengths).

All that said, the reason to choose this particular model over others is the inclusion of a polarised panel for passive 3D – with 3D specs in the box reaching the magic number of four; families rejoice.

Also available

The 42VL963 is accompanied by the 47-inch Toshiba 47VL963 and 55-inch Toshiba 55VL963 in the VL Series.

Those after an active shutter 3D alternative should head for Toshiba's otherwise-identical TL9 Series, which stars the 40-inch Toshiba 40TL963 and 46-inch Toshiba 46TL963.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-C (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyVL963
3D Type3D
Smart TVYes
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityCEC
Analog TunerNTSC
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)15 kg
Backlight TechnologyLED
VESA Mount Standard400 x 400
Operating Power Consumption122 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio7,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand634 mm
Width with Stand995 mm
Depth with Stand235 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
3D TechnologyPolarized
3D ConversionYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Motion Interpolation Technology400 Active Motion Rate
Enhanced Refresh Rate100 Hz
Height579 mm
Width995 mm
Depth42 mm
Brightness360 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemAudyssey EQ, Dolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesVL963
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesDigital Noise Reduction, Ambient Lighting, Auto Program, Teletext, Hotel Mode, Auto-off
Product Model42VL963B
Product Name42" Smart 3D LED TV
Manufacturer Part Number42VL963B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The 42" VL963 offers the latest 3D and Smart TV technologies delivered in a sleek sheet of glass design to offer a complete TV solution. Experience sharp, vivid, lifelike images in 2D or 3D with incredible depth and viewing comfort. Super high speed AMR400 processing delivers stunning colour, clarity and fast moving image quality. 2D to 3D conversion and 3D depth control allow you to enjoy all your existing content in 3D.

Package Contents
  • 42" Smart 3D LED TV
  • 4 x Pairs of 3D Glasses
  • Remote Control
  • Batteries
Response Time10 ms
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)12.90 kg