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Toshiba 32UL863B review

John Archer



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Toshiba 32UL863
  • Toshiba 32UL863
  • Toshiba 32UL863
  • Toshiba 32UL863
  • Toshiba 32UL863
  • Toshiba 32UL863B


Our Score:



  • Nice, slim, unfussy design
  • Personalised online service shows promise
  • Loads of set up flexibility


  • Multimedia options feel a little unfinished
  • Black level not the best
  • Standard def playback rather soft and noisy

Key Features

  • 32in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Active Vision M100Hz
  • Built-in Wi-fi
  • Toshiba Places online service
  • Freeview HD tuner
  • Manufacturer: Toshiba
  • Review Price: £429.97

Toshiba’s UL863 range didn’t get off to the best of starts. The 46in Toshiba 46UL863 didn’t float our boat at all, thanks to a combination of a seriously flawed picture performance and a rather half-baked set of multimedia features.

However, we’re more than prepared to give the UL863 series another chance as we take delivery of the 32UL863. For a start, experience suggests that the 32UL863’s considerably smaller 32in screen could well suffer much less from the backlight consistency issues that troubled us so much on the larger model.

Also, online TV services have become a classic ‘movable feast’ this year, with new content getting added week by week. So there’s every chance that Toshiba’s Places system will have blossomed from the rather impoverished effort in evidence when we checked out the 46UL863 back in July.

Toshiba 32UL863

The first comparison drawn between the 32UL863 and the 46UL863 doesn’t benefit the smaller model, though. For its smaller size doesn’t show off the set’s slim, nicely finished design as strongly as the bigger model does, looking much more like just ‘A.N. Other’ dark-coloured flat TV. At least from a distance.

The TV’s rear end is still impressively slim, though, and the bezel is trimmer than you’d usually find with such an affordable 32in TV.

The 32UL863’s connections are plentiful. Four HDMIs should be enough to cater for pretty much any home AV set up, plus there’s a D-Sub PC port (allowing the screen to double up as a PC monitor), and a pair of USB ports. These USBs can be used for either recording video from the TV’s Freeview HD and satellite (though not Freesat) tuners to USB HDD, or for playing back video, photo and music file formats from USB storage devices.

Toshiba 32UL863B

The set also supports playback of multimedia files stored on your PC so long as that PC is DLNA-enabled and, ideally, equipped with Windows 7.

One rather cool thing about the 32UL863’s DLNA capabilities is that they can be enjoyed wirelessly via a built-in wi-fi system. You don’t have to add one of those aggravating - and usually optional extra - USB Wi-Fi dongles most TVs expect you to use if you don’t want to/can’t hardwire your TV into your network.

If you’re thinking of hanging a 32UL863 on a wall, it’s worth noting that most of the connections we’ve talked about here face straight out of the TV’s rear, rather than being positioned more conveniently for side access.


November 23, 2011, 9:31 pm

I will never be buying a Toshiba product ever again. After spending a vast amount of money on a Toshiba 32WLT66 32" 5 years ago for a family member (glowing review on most sites including here) after a couple of years the screen started developing a dark patch in the middle of the screen.

Of course, out of warranty by then. Now the TV is nigh on completely unusable with a massive dark (almost stain-like) patch right in the middle of the screen, the size of a football. What a joke. The old CRT my parents had for 20 years without a hitch. If they had any sense Toshiba would simply offer a no quibble, no time limit panel replacement. But they don't.

(pps - I see TR's haven't fixed this comment box bug. I'm using FF 8.0 on W7 and I can't select anything with the mouse, on the far right side when writing in the comment window.)


November 24, 2011, 1:34 pm

I believe this is a relatively common problem with LCD TVs. Not in the sense that it happens to them all or that it's something that should be accepted but that Toshiba probably shouldn't be singled out as being any worse than any other manufacturer. I think you've just been unlucky.

As for the comments box, I'm not sure what the problem is?

kwg uk

November 24, 2011, 3:57 pm

I have just read a cracking review of the 37" version. It would be interesting to see what Trusted Reviews thinks of this size set. The Freeview & Freesat tuners would be very useful. Even after switchover I still cannot get ITV3, ITV4, Film 4 & a few others so have to use a sky box - taking up valuable shelf space. It would replace my excellent Sony 32EX503. The Toshiba hasn`t got 3d - to me its a gimmick, too expensive. I never use Sony`s online offerings. The 37" Toshiba UL863 looks tempting.


November 24, 2011, 5:40 pm

Hi Ed,

I'm pretty alarmed that this problem is kind of glossed over, generally speaking, as an issue that can effect LCD's and that it shouldn't happen...and oh, well. Tough luck! I think that after spending the best part of a thousand pounds on an idiots lantern (TV), that the damn thing should work for decades of trouble free use. That's not an unreasonable thought process. I think that its' outrageous that this should happen and a manufacturer simply wipe their hands of it. Toshiba have supplied a product with an inherent (and documented) fault. Owning to the nature of this product, I feel that they should fix the issue even after 5 years.

As for the comment box - In FF8 & E9 on a W7 machine, just type a few of lines of text into a fresh comment box then try to select the text on the far right hand side with the mouse - about 3/4's of the way to the right of the comment box - and you can't.

Chrome on the same setup is fine.


November 30, 2011, 3:59 am

Electric Sheep;

It is disingenuous to blame one company for a defect that is a general issue for LCD displays and not specific to one manufacturer. Every TV manufacturer will have this issue in their products, and they will most likely deal with it in the same way. It is also completely wrong to suggest that CRT is 'more reliable' as the history of LCD in mass market TV is less than 10 years, so no realistic comparison can be made. If you want to compare then it should be with the data from CRT production in its first 10/20 years, which I would expect would not be favourable to CRT at all.

Though the process of continuous improvement is much accelerated these days it still takes time to reduce or eradicate issues, especially ones that require a radical rethink of material construction or manufacture technique and every display type has its own inherent shortcomings. Plasmas generally do not last much more than 5 years, are known to suffer higher defect rates than CRT or LCD and until relatively recently the purchase cost was high – do you apply the same logic to this display?

LCD technology, although with us for some time as a display on PC's and in other small scale products, has changed massively in a very short space of time. It only became a display of choice for mass market TV in the last decade and it was an expensive option compared to CRT. In those days there were many problems with uniformity, black level, colour fidelity, response time, memory effect and reliability. New technology will always have numerous issues in its infancy as manufacturers develop them, understand the root causes and solve or improve these issues over time. At the time of the 66 series (2006?) the learning curve was still steep for all manufacturers. It was the same for CRT – in the early days it was a horrendously unreliable tech, a situation that lasted for decades with the electronics (live chassis with voltage drop rails was the norm in those days) causing spectacular failures and the tubes themselves rarely lasting more than a few years. It was only through the 1970's after the advent of the Trinitron tube that things changed radically, research and development accelerated and quality/reliability improved to the point that a CRT lasting 5+ years became the norm rather than the exception.



December 2, 2011, 9:02 pm

@RonRoyce I hardly think that 'disingenuous' is the correct term. I'm sorry, I do not wish to get into a debate with you, as we clearly are coming at this from very different viewpoints. Suffice to say as a consumer, having spent a thousand pounds on a TV, I expect it to last considerably longer that 5 years. Everything else said is just noise.


June 20, 2012, 6:59 pm

Electric Sheep.

Why is it noise?

I am merely documenting how the "new" technologies would have had issues that curtailed their longevity in the past, and in the case of CRT it took decades to make it as reliable as it eventually became, and in the 1960's/1970's TV's were incredibly expensive relative to income. LCD is no different, some issues take may years to find and fix, or in some cases improve to a more acceptable level.

And yes it is disingenuous because you single out a single company for an issue which, in all likelihood, affected all LCD TV manufacturers to varying degrees, and they probably all reacted in a similar way.

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