It has an IPS display with a matte finish, uses passive 3D technology and has Edge LED backlighting. It also supports connected services, including DLNA. The media player is far from being the most powerful we've ever seen, and can't handle many video formats.
When we began our technical tests, we discovered that the display suffered from more ghosting than average, with a ghosting time of 21 ms, despite more impressive models coming in at under 10 ms. It did a better job of colour reproduction, with a deltaE of 2.2 without requiring any calibration from the user. Other black marks against its name included problems with gamma, clouding (at least on the unit we tested) and a weak contrast ratio of 635:1. The best current TVs can easily reach 5000:1. This is a frequent problem with IPS displays, which have the upside of having wider viewing angles than MVA and PVA displays.
Native 3D content looked great, with a real sense of depth of field, very little crosstalk for an LCD screen and very comfortable lightweight passive 3D glasses. They're also much cheaper to replace if you need an extra pair—and don't need recharging, of course.
The VL863 produces average quality sound for a TV in this category, with speakers capable of delivering in the mid-range and treble but without much bass.
The energy consumption is kept in check at 88 W for this 42'' version.
For more information, we suggest you read our full test of the 47'' version, the Toshiba 47VL863.
Everything we said in the original article holds true—the only thing that's different is the size!
The only exception is that some manufacturers fit different sized televisions with panels from different sources. In that case, our comments are only valid for the panel that we originally tested. Contrast, black levels, colour handling and ghosting are all subject to change from one panel to another.
Manufacturers who do fit the same panel in all of the TVs in a range can expect the same results across the whole range. The only factor which could be prone to slight variation is the brightness, producing slightly different contrast. According to our own tests, and assurances from manufacturers, the results of one TV can accurately be applied to others in the range.
- Top quality 3D display
- Lightweight 3D glasses are comfortable to wear / Accurate colour reproduction (deltaE: 2.2)
- Matte finish doesn't suffer from reflections
- Low energy consumption: 88 W
- Not much crosstalk and less eyestrain than with active 3D technology
- Low contrast ratio: 635:1
- Media player doesn't support enough video formats
- Lots of input lag: 66 ms or four whole frames
The Toshiba VL863 is a perfectly decent passive 3D TV. The new matte design looks great and it does a good job of reproducing colours. It could have set its sights on a four-star rating if it hadn't been for a disastrous contrast ratio of just 635:1!