Toshiba 46yl863 review

If there's one thing that's been consistent about Toshiba's picture quality with its latest range of TVs, it's their inconsistency. You really don't know what you're going to get from one television set to the next.

Thankfully, the Toshiba 46YL863 is definitely one of the brand's better moments. In fact, for most of the time its pictures are pretty spectacular, with the Cevo Engine giving pretty much everything a real sheen of extra quality.

HD pictures are hugely punchy for a start, as rich, vivid colours are driven off the screen with one of the most potent brightness performances around - even after images have been calibrated to deliver the optimum contrast performance.

It's not just the richness of the colour palette that impresses, either. Colour tones can also be nicely calibrated to deliver a well-balanced, natural-looking and ultra-nuanced range that gives images that subtle extra sense of accuracy and naturalism that we always look for in the very best TVs.

Toshiba 46yl863 review

Further boosting the Toshiba 46YL863's colour performance is its mostly impressive black level response, which finds the screen able to produce a convincing - and evenly lit - performance with dark scenes.

Just make sure you tone down the backlight output to around its 60 level; if you don't, dark scenes can look a touch greyed over, and small inconsistencies appear in the image's corners.

The amount of detail in HD images is terrific, with every last pixel of picture information finding its way onto the screen in noise-free perfection - and without the image looking harsh or grainy.

Motion is handled very well too - the TV's claimed '400Hz' system (a 200Hz plus a 2x blinking backlight, presumably), as driven by the power of the Cevo Engine, really does cancel out pretty much all judder and blur, even at its lowest, most natural, setting.

If you're a purist who hates such processing systems on principal, though, fear not. Even in their 'nude' mode, the Toshiba 46YL863's pictures suffer with startlingly little motion resolution loss.

Toshiba 46yl863 review

Cevo again proves its worth in 3D, if you engage the TV's Resolution+ system. Even when applied to a Full HD 3D Blu-ray, Resolution+ somehow manages to make the images look much sharper, richer, deeper, more precise and more detailed. It's like shifting a slightly out of focus projector back into focus. Phenomenal.

Yet more evidence of the Cevo Engine's potency can be seen in the way the Toshiba 46YL863 upscales standard definition pictures.

Normal Freeview broadcasts from the (HD-capable) tuner are presented with much more sharpness than they inherently contain. And yet this extra sharpness is delivered at the same time that the TV manages to smooth out any compression or other noise that might be in the image.

This is always a sure-fire sign of some superior video processing at work.

For all the Cevo Engine's sterling work, though, the Toshiba 46YL863 can't claim to be perfect. First, as noted earlier, dark scenes can expose a little backlight inconsistency, unless you tone down the backlight output setting quite considerably.

A much worse issue, though, is the crosstalk ghosting noise evident on the Toshiba 46YL863's 3D images. It shows up clearly on all the crosstalk-inducing scenes we exposed the TV too, such as the Golden Gate Bridge sequence in Monsters Vs Aliens. But it even crops up at times - especially when watching Sky 3D - where we wouldn't have expected it to.

What makes this especially disappointing is that it undermines so much good work with almost all other aspects of the Toshiba 46YL863's 3D images.