Hands on: Toshiba Regza VL series review

Toshiba going aggressive on passive
Toshiba going aggressive on passive

Toshiba has followed in the footsteps of a growing number of manufacturers and decided that passive 3D does have a place in the home, with the launch of the VL Regza series.

Unlike LG who believes that its passive 3D technology is on a par quality wise to Full HD 3D active shutter, Toshiba has merely said that it is using passive 3D in its mid-range TVs as the glasses are cheaper, so it is a good value-for-money alternative for family and group viewing.

Anyone who has been to see a 3D movie in the cinema will feel right at home with the passive 3D glasses used as they are made by RealD. So, as long as you don't mind looking like Buddy Holly they are comfortable to wear and you don't have to muck around with matching the glasses with the TV's sensor.

Toshiba vl series

The main imaging problem that's associated with using polarised glasses is that there is noticeable darkening of the image.

In the case of the VL series, the LED backlighting helps combat this but it is the addition of Active Vision M400HD picture processing technology which makes sure that any darkness is compensated for.

In our tests it seemed to work well. The footage we viewed was punchy enough and detail and colour seemed like it was enhanced a decent amount.

Toshiba vl series

When it came to footage that was fast-paced – again, usually something polarised glasses struggle with – it was evident that the 200Hz processing power was working its magic to make sure the scene flowed as it should.

There was still ghosting of images, though, and more blurring than if you were watching the same footage in 2D.

Toshiba has clearly got picture quality at the top of its agenda for the VL series. This is evident in a new feature called auto-calibration, which uses a USB-connected measuring sensor that transmits data to the TV, where a range of test images are created and analysed to enhance picture quality.

Toshiba vl series

It's a feature you would normally see in the custom install market, so it is great to see it appearing in what is essentially a mid-market TV range.

Although 3D is the headline feature for the VL series, Toshiba has also added its web platform into the television.

Called Toshiba Places it allows you to access a number of web apps, from social networking to video streaming.

Although the UI for the platform looks great, the app list still feels limited. As it is constantly updatable, though, there should be more enticing apps down the line.

Toshiba vl series

At the moment, iPlayer, YouTube and Flickr will be the ones which will get the most use.

Audio-wise, it was great to see that there's a subwoofer built into the set, something which definitely gave the VL series' sound more of a kick.

Add to this Freeview HD, 4x HDMI and 2x USB slots and what you have is a very capable 3D TV.

With the arrival of the VL Regza series, the 'passive vs active' debate is set to continue. While there's no denying that technically active 3D offers better picture quality, it can't compete with passive for price – on the glasses at least – and that is something Toshiba is utilising.

Toshiba vl series

The Toshiba Regza VL series UK release date is early June, with pricing to be announced.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.