Toshiba 40BL702B review

Edge LED TV ideal for Virgin or Sky subscribers

Toshiba 40BL702B review
The Toshiba 40BL702B lacks Freeview HD, smart TV and 3D, for those who don't need them

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Aside from some basic picture presets (Cinema, Game, Dynamic and Natural) and the usual tweaks for colour, contrast, brightness and sharpness, there's not an awful lot at hand for calibrating the Toshiba 40BL702B.

Some 'advanced' picture settings are listed in the on-screen menus, but lead only to tweaks for colour temperature, colour shift and film mode, the latter of which has little-to-no discernible effect on images.

With Freeview pictures, we're struck at first not just by how inky and intense the black areas of the picture are - even within mixed brightness scenes - but also by how empty and uniform those sectors are. Impressive in their intensity, there's nevertheless zero shadow detailing within them.

Toshiba 40BL702B review

Colour in general is accurate, with a restrained, though vibrant palette featuring luscious reds and cool blues. Although the Toshiba 40BL702B's ability to create almost true black in part lends other colours a bold tone, that tendency for blocky, impenetrable black areas can leave some images looking a little odd.

It's also noticeable that the Toshiba 40BL702B struggles with blurring over movement - an old LCD panel problem that's usually solved by 100Hz scanning. A horizontal panning shot around the grand interiors of Windsor Castle in BBC One's The Queen's Palaces produces an uncomfortable pulsing as each object blurs into the next. Meanwhile, a slow, vertical shot from the top to bottom of the battlements outside are also stepped and blurred.

It's understandable that on such a big screen, standard definition channels should look rather soft, but many Freeview channels also suffer from a sheen of picture noise. It's clear that these relatively low data rate digital channels are being blown up too big to fit on this relatively basic 40-inch panel.

Toshiba 40BL702B review

Turn to DVD and that lack of upscaling is again obvious. Our test disc In Time suffers from mosquito noise around moving objects and jagged edges, and could do with Toshiba's often successful (but missing here) Resolution+ upscaling circuitry.

To put that in perspective, the same DVD viewed earlier in the week on an 80-inch projection screen had no such issues.

Making use of the Toshiba 40BL702B's Full HD resolution panel, our Blu-ray discs of The Pianist and Avatar look far better, with some luscious colouring and detailed close-ups being the norm.

Toshiba 40BL702B review

That motion issue remains, as does a tendency for picture noise and over-egged black, but mixed brightness night time scenes impress, as do skin tones in a reasonably enjoyable performance. A particular highlight is a snowflake scene in lamplight, which is deftly handled to show off the Toshiba 40BL702B's skill with detail and local LED dimming.

Throughout our review we found the Toshiba 40BL702B's panel to be of almost uniform brightness - with just a slight pique in luminosity in one of the corners - while the viewing angle is wide. However, contrast fades quickly if you watch from even slightly above or below the centre of the screen.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),