There’s also a ‘Social Place’ area which sounds promising, but at the time of writing it only contained access to Flickr photo and Daily Motion video accounts, plus the ability to communicate with friends via email. The lack of Twitter and Facebook support is a big disappointment. They’ll doubtless arrive at some point, but they really should be there now given how late Toshiba already is with its online platform.
That’s pretty much it with regard to Toshiba Places content right now, moreover, with no sign at all of the extensive lists of smaller apps now common on some rival online TV platforms.
Moving on from the 46UL863B’s features to its picture quality and there's rather less to say, for the bottom line is that its pictures are disappointing.
The main problem is backlight inconsistency. This troubled us with some of Toshiba’s 2010 models, but it appears our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. During some of the darkest scenes we threw at the 46UL863B, we almost felt like we were being forced to focus on just a central portion of the picture by a rough circle of extra greyness hanging over the rest of the picture.
The problem is truly oppressive using any of the set’s relatively bright presets, but it’s frequently visible even when using an extra-darkened version of the already dull Hollywood Pro setting. Actually, the brightness inconsistencies at the edges of the picture are so extreme you can even see them when watching fairly bright scenes. And they get worse if you have to watch from any viewing angle greater than around 30 degrees.
To be honest, this problem instantly kills the 46UL863B for us as a potential home cinema set. But there’s another problem too, namely that its pictures look a bit soft, even when watching HD. The main reason for this is that the screen suffers with pretty noticeable motion blur that even activating the set’s 100Hz processing can’t entirely remove.
The set isn’t without its strengths. Its colours are punchy, capable of looking very accurate and subtly delineated, and devoid of noise. The Resolution system does a great job of upscaling standard definition sources as noted earlier too, provided you handle it with care. And the picture’s general preference for brightness and rich colours over black level response means that its pictures can look very easy on the eye with standard broadcast fodder like news broadcasts and chat shows.
The 46UL863B performed adequately during our input lag tests too, turning in an average of around 26ms (between extremes of 6ms and 40ms). Even at its 40ms peaks, though, the input lag shouldn’t be enough to really impact your gaming performance.
However, we’ve got yet another bit of bad news to finish with. For the 46UL863B’s audio proves to be painfully flimsy, delivering inadequate levels of power, an overcrowded and thin mid-range, precious little treble clarity, and worst of all, practically no bass whatsoever.
We started out feeling confused by the 46UL863B, and that feeling hasn’t reduced now we’re finished with it. Many of its key features promise much but ultimately feel only partially formed, and no amount of headline-grabbing ‘personalisation’ innovations can disguise the fact that Toshiba’s boffins would have been better employed figuring out how to make a better edge LED lighting system.