Toshiba 55VL963 review

Toshiba's 55-inch LED TV is smart and affordable

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Great Value

Cycling through the picture presets on the Toshiba 55VL963 is a bit like blind-tasting baked beans. Some are unpalatably rich, while offers are washed out and watery.

The best transpires to be Hollywood 1. A tasty concoction of fine detail, controlled colour and nuanced blacks, it's a world away from the horror show that is Dynamic, or frankly anything with AutoView enabled.

While the screen is designed to give maximum eye-candy for minimum effort, there is a fair amount of calibration control offered deep in the menus. There's not much that can be done about the gently crushed blacks, compressed to provide maximum contrast, but there's shadow detail in darker scenes to be extracted.

Toshiba 55VL963 review

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Night scenes are convincingly nocturnal and pleasingly smooth. Colours are fruit-bowl rich, with reds and golds looking particularly ripe.

When watching an HD source, ensure that you have the screen ratio set to Native to prevent the set enthusiastically overscanning. There are some backlight uniformity issues caused by the edge-mounted LEDs, but nothing too serious.

In truth, this is not a screen that handles motion resolution with any great skill, despite the Active Motion AMR400 branding. With AMR disengaged, the panel unsurprisingly looks bleary with motion. We clocked clarity at around 650 lines. In Standard and Middle modes, the Active Motion processor delivers a noticeable improvement, up to around 800 lines.

Toshiba 55VL963 review

Motion artefacts, usually seen as smudgy blurs around moving objects, are not intrusive, although horizontal pans did exhibit minor judder. Things smooth over on the High setting, but motion nasties become evident as a result.

Arguably this is a bit academic; since all of the set's Active Motion options create a phasey stutter with certain horizontal 1080i movement (standard test footage of a car travelling across the screen appears to ripple).

This quirk isn't evident with AMR400 turned off. Admittedly as a foible it's not generally evident, but it still registers a processing fail in our book. Let's hope the issue can be addressed with a firmware update.

The TV's 3D is polarised passive, rather than Active Shutter. Four pairs of lightweight glasses are provided in the box, and you can always add more by filching used Real 3D eyeware from your local multiplex.

There's a drop in resolution compared to Active Shutter's Full HD presentation, betrayed by jaggy verticals, but the viewing experience is undeniably comfortable. And if you sit square on, double imaging and flicker isn't an issue, either.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-S2, DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Product FamilyVL963
3D Type3D
Smart TVYes
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size139.7 cm (55")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEU Ecolabel, RoHS
EthernetYes
Analog TunerNTSC, PAL, SECAM
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)26 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
VESA Mount Standard400 x 400
Operating Power Consumption185 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio7,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand795 mm
Width with Stand1234 mm
Depth with Stand288 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports2
3D TechnologyPolarized
3D ConversionYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Motion Interpolation Technology400 Active Motion Rate
Enhanced Refresh Rate100 Hz
Height736 mm
Width1234 mm
Depth43 mm
Brightness360 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesVL963
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesTeletext, Digital Noise Reduction, Ambient Lighting, Auto Program, Auto-off
ManufacturerToshiba
Product Model55VL963
Product Name55VL963 LED-LCD TV
Manufacturer Part Number55VL963G
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Response Time10 ms
SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)22.10 kg