Usability

The new Toshiba TV user interface is obviously a work in progress, or has been, because it's been tweaked since we reviewed several TVs by the brand this summer.

Gone are the handy shortcuts to BBC iPlayer and YouTube apps, which means there's no escaping the rather unfriendly Toshiba Places portal.

Nor did we like the Toshiba 46TL968's remote control, which is scarred by tiny buttons and feels unnatural to hold.

Toshiba 46TL968B review

Operating Skype, using the clip-on Freetalk Conference II camera supplied with the our review unit, was a smooth experience, with both video and sound quality impressive.

The inputs list doesn't include either the networking option or any of the two USB slots, all of which must be accessed from the carousel's Media Player icon.

In our test with a USB flash drive we managed to play AVC HD, AVI, MKV (including chapters), MP4, MPEG, WMV and WMV HD video files, as well as MP3, M4A and WMA music, and both JPEG and BMP photos.

Toshiba 46TL968B review

Over a network it wasn't quite so expansive, with video streaming limited to MOV, AVI and MP4 files.

We're happy, though having to choose between USB and networking, then between photo, video and music before we even get to find a file, is rather long-winded. Toshiba's treatment of digital files isn't a user interface at all, but a mere root file system.

The grid layout is nice in theory, but none of the thumbnail spaces ever actually fill up with pictures.

Toshiba 46TL968B review

With Freeview HD, there's also a choice between the bog-standard electronic programme guide supplied by Toshiba, and a web-powered platform called MediaGuide devised by Rovi.

The former includes schedules over two hours for 13 channels in what looks like a spreadsheet, though it's perfectly functional and easily shows up preset recordings (if you attach an HDD) and reminders.

The latter, however, is better looking and more dynamic.

Toshiba 46TL968B review

Though it's fast enough and rarely (fiddly remote aside) gets frustrating, we did notice one or two niggles; while navigating the carousel the brightness often visibly changes suddenly for no apparent reason, and on one occasion the entire TV froze and reset itself from standby.

Sound

Audio is probably the Toshiba 46TL968's main weak point. Armed with two 10W speakers and two special preset modes, Dual 1 and Dual 2, the Toshiba 46TL968 nevertheless fails to conjure enough in the way of low frequency audio to lend high-octane sequences of Pacific enough depth.

Toshiba 46TL968B review

The width is nothing to get excited about, either, though for everyday TV watching it just about suffices.

Value

The Toshiba 46TL968 may purport to be a 3D TV, but there are no 3D glasses in the box. That's a huge shame for a TV costing this much, especially as the brand often supplies up to four pairs in its sets that sport the Easy 3D system. We're disappointed by the remote control, too.