Toshiba 32UL863B review

A 32-inch TV with Smart features and solid pictures

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Toshiba 32ul863b

The Toshiba Regza 32UL863B offers both wired and wireless connection to your network. We'll admit that for our tests we stuck with the former, because we came a cropper getting it to pair with our Wi-Fi.

A combination of a new router, too many confusing acronyms (WPS, TKIP, PBC and so on) and the fact that we've been spoilt by painless, automatic setup on our PlayStation 3, Blu-ray player and laptop meant we gave up after 20 minutes and plumbed in our Ethernet cable. We were eager to play with Toshiba's Smart TV portal, after all.

This currently consists of three options - YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Toshiba Places. The YouTube interface (dubbed XL) looks a bit ropey, but we found it easier to use than the one integrated with Virgin Media's TiVo service. The BBC's VOD platform includes HD playback and the usual garish pink and black colour scheme.

As for Toshiba Places, it's certainly not up to speed with the Smart TV offerings from Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. VOD services run to Dailymotion, Viewster (which is packed with low-budget 1980s horror movies), Box Office 365, Cartoon Network, Hit Entertainment and Woomi, plus BBC iPlayer and YouTube again.

Toshiba 32ul863b

The Social Place offers Flickr - no sign of Twitter or Facebook - and the options of bookmarking videos or pictures as favourites.

App-based games and widgets are non-existent, and you can't continue to watch TV in a PiP window while you browse the service. So it's not brilliant, but it's obviously a work in progress - hopefully it will get more content soon.

Using the Toshiba Regza 32UL863B as a media player, we were able to pull JPEGs and MP3s off a NAS drive with no fuss, but ran into a "Media Playback Error" message with any video more exotic than an AVC HD file - support for DivX, DivX Plus HD, AVI and MKV formats is limited to USB devices.

Another heavily promoted feature of the Toshiba Regza 32UL863B is its built-in camera, which serves two functions.

First, it detects movement in the room and can, if you want, automatically switch the screen to standby to save energy if there's nobody there.

Secondly, it enables you to register your face and make use of Toshiba's Personal TV feature. The idea of this is that different family members can have different presets (preferred volume, channel favourites and so on) and the TV will recognise who is using the set and adjust itself accordingly.

In use, we had difficulty getting the Toshiba Regza 32UL863B to recognise our faces - it was only 30 minutes into Crank 2 on Blu-ray that it popped up a welcome message. We think the camera struggles with less-than-perfect lighting conditions (and possibly bald people). Either way, we can't see this feature getting much use.

Something that should do, however, is the Toshiba Regza 32UL863B's excellent picture adjustment suite. This uses a three tier approach, with settings other than the standard brightness, contrast and similar tucked away in the Advanced and Expert menus.

Everything a dedicated twiddler could want is on offer, from gamma, white balance and colour management to Toshiba's own test card. It's not what you might expect to find on such a well-priced TV.