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Aside from lacking HD channels, the Toshiba 40BL702B's electronic programme guide (EPG) is poor indeed.
Our main issue is with how it sits within the TV itself; press the EPG button on the remote control and both the picture and sound of whatever channel you were watching is instantly killed. That's a real shame, because as well as lacking integration, we're aware that other, far less used parts of the Toshiba 40BL702B's user interface float transparently over live TV channels.
In design terms the EPG itself is a simple spreadsheet of white lettering on a black background. Listing now/next information in place of the usual arrangement of EPGs into blocks of time, it at least covers plenty of channels - 11 in total - on a single screen.
It's actually possible to switch to a timeline-style EPG using the Fastext buttons, which also enable navigation to future days' schedules. Working quickly and efficiently, it's a pleasure to use, but it's too late; having to navigate it in total isolation from live TV is ridiculous.
We like the central user interface, which is built around a basic lineup of picture/sound/media browser icons that have been spruced up - at least in terms of colour - compared to Toshiba's entry-level sets. The division between Picture, Sound, Settings, Install/Retune, Channel List and Media Player is sensibly simple and logical.
The remote control is a huge improvement on other TVs in its 2012 range, too - here a two-tone metallic and gloss black coloured, long, slim, responsive remote uses large and clearly labelled buttons. They're tactile, too, but perhaps not as rubbery as they should be; it's a little too easy for fingers to slip across the buttons, which ultimately makes it more difficult to grasp and quickly issue commands.
The Toshiba 40BL702B's digital file support is impressive, with the media player software able to play MPEG1/2, XviD and DivX-encoded video in AVI containers, MP3 and WMA music files, and both JPEG and BMP photos.
Some Test Match Special broadcast on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra via the Toshiba 40BL702B's digital tuner reveals decent handling of dialogue, and this is repeated across Freeview channels.
And while we shouldn't get carried away with what is a rather basic audio performance from its stereo 6W speakers, the Toshiba 40BL702B does manage to deliver a more rounded sound than many of its super-slim rivals.
Engaging AVL mode adds some power, but be wary of using the surround sound option; it doesn't do what it says, and instead seems to relegate sound effects that are otherwise accurately placed. During The Pianist, some mortar fire that's given impressive power and impact by the Toshiba 40BL702B's speakers is suddenly pushed to the sides of the sound stage.
A UK price of £417.90 (around £655) for a 40-inch Edge LED TV has to be judged fair value, although we do have concerns about the quality of the LCD panel used.
Blighted by blur and not fitted with much in the way of upscaling tech, we'd head either for a smaller version of this television (the 32-inch 32BL702B won't stretch a standard definition picture beyond breaking point) or spend an extra £100 or so and choose the 40RL953, which adds smart TV and a Freeview HD tuner.
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 Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),