The Toshiba 46TL868 boasts an inevitable active contrast system - though you can turn this off if you find its machinations distracting. Then there’s an interesting and welcome black/white level adjustment that essentially allows you to adjust the set’s black level/shadow detail balance. Plus, finally, you can adjust the strength of the set’s Active Vision motion processing (we’d recommend ‘off’ or ‘Standard’ - nothing higher).
While the 46TL868 mostly delivers more features than you might reasonably expect, it doesn’t ship with any active shutter 3D glasses. If you want to use the TV’s 3D capabilities you’ll need to factor in £60-£70 per pair of glasses you need.
The 46TL868 also, inevitably, doesn’t sport the CEVO Engine processing power that made the flagship Toshiba 55WL863 so impressive. Still, notwithstanding a couple of flaws, there’s actually plenty to admire about the 46TL868’s images.
For a start, they’re exceptionally colour-rich for such a cheap 46in TV. Bright, colourful images really ‘pop’ off the screen, and the range of tones the screen can deliver is a real cut above the budget norm.
There’s a decent amount of subtlety in the colour palette too - so long, at least, as you don’t stick with the overwrought Dynamic picture preset, and calm the backlight and contrast a little if using any other picture preset than the two provided ‘Hollywood’ ones.
These Hollywood settings should deliver, we would expect, the most ‘accurate’ image for movie fans using their TV predominantly in a dark room. But actually we found the Hollywood presets took too much punch out of the picture and worse, left some decidedly odd colour tones, especially where reds and skin colours were concerned. We found a toned down version of the Standard preset produced more balanced and enjoyable results.
The 46TL868 is also capable of more brightness than you might expect from such an affordable TV - especially given that its average 118kW per annum of power use bags it a grade A energy rating.
Crucially, though, this bright look to images doesn’t come at the expense of a decent contrast performance. Indeed, dark parts of predominantly bright images look impressively black, if a little short of shadow detail.
HD feeds look very sharp too - especially as the 46TL868 proves remarkably assured at suppressing LCD’s still-common tendency to blur and smear motion. This holds reasonably true even if you turn off the Active Vision processing - though personally we preferred to leave it set to Standard, at least while watching TV (as opposed to Blu-rays).
As for the 2D ‘flaws’ mentioned earlier (we’ll get on to 3D in a moment), the first concerns the set’s presentation of standard definition pictures. For while they’re certainly not the mushy disaster often seen on really cheap TVs, they do tend to suffer a noticeable flattening of the colour range. Though on the upside, there’s a reasonable degree of sharpness, and this is delivered without exaggerating MPEG and other noise as much as might have been expected.
The other problem is predictable to anyone who’s seen as many Toshiba TVs as we have this year: a degree of inconsistency in the set’s backlighting. Two distinct ‘jets’ of light sneak diagonally into the picture from each top corner. However, the problems in this respect are neither as aggressive nor as extensive in terms of the amount of picture they cover as they have been on numerous other Toshiba TVs this year. Especially if you keep the backlight output set to its 65 level or less.