If you’re not yet willing (or can’t afford perhaps) to make the jump to a 4K TV, there’s still plenty of life in Full HD sets like Tosh’s L74 LED-backlit LCD TVs.
The L74 series comes in 42in for around £600, and 55in (£949) sizes as well as the 47in model (£750) tested here.
Headline features include a Dual-Core Engine processor, passive 3D-readiness with four pairs of glasses included, and Freeview HD reception.
Toshiba’s Smart TV Cloud includes a Gracenote-powered MediaGuide EPG for Freeview channnels. This powers TiVo-like MediaGuide Replay functions, which learn what you like based on what you’ve viewed and recorded previously, and auto-records programmes you might like.
You’ll need to add an external USB hard disc for to use these TV recording and timeshifting features, and there’s only a single Freeview HD tuner so you can’t watch one channel while recording another.
Toshiba 47L7453DB: look and feel
Thinness is a given in TVs these days and it’s certainly that while the slim black bezel and sliver frame metal stand combined make for an aesthetically pleasing if not particularly distinctive set.
A healthy set of connections includes four HDMI inputs, a component video input, one RGB-capable Scart input, optical digital audio and analogue stereo audio outputs, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, PC input and a CI slot many of which are conveniently located along the left side of the TV.
There’s no fancy voice, gesture or motion-based control functionality though you can use a Toshiba Cloud TV smartphone and tablet app to control it. An ‘old school’ remote control is stuffed with buttons but they’re logically arranged. Jabbing a ‘Quick’ button brings up a menu giving you speedy access to key features and another takes you straight to the portal.
Setting the TV up is straightforward enough, including connecting it your network (Wi-Fi is built in). It automatically scans for Freeview channels and you can create a favourites list.
Toshiba 47L7453DB: Freeview
There are two EPGs for Freeview channels, depending on whether you’re offline or connected to the internet.
When the TV is offline you can browse a basic 7-day guide which can be used to schedule recordings Otherwise you get the MediaGuide (also available as a mobile app), again with info up to seven days ahead (and for part of the previous day too), covering TV channels only in an attractively-presented grid format.
Programmes are colour-coded (eg blue for News) but there’s no genre-sorting for channels and you can’t view your favourites only. You can use it set up reminders and recordings – including series recordings – and browse through cast and crew info where available, as well as view synopses for film and TV.
Unfortunately, the MediaGuide Replay function (which can be disabled) isn’t very smart. It lacks the thumbs up/down rating feature or other config options that TiVo has and didn’t record much during our test period that we actually wanted to watch.
Toshiba 47L7453DB: Smart TV Cloud
The Smart TV Cloud portal also recommends live TV, allowing you you see what programmes are trending on Twitter along with relevant Tweets, and then jump to watching them.
As well as Twitter, apps include BBC iPlayer, Netfliix, BBCSport, BBC News, YouTube,, eBay, Blinkbox, Knowhow Movies, LiveSport.TV, Vimeo and Deezer. There are games too but there’s no 4oD, ITV Player, Demand 5, Facebook, Amazon Prime Instant Video or Now TV.
You also get a web browser with zoom for easier viewing at TV distances and picture-in-picture functionality, but the lack of Flash support is rather limiting.
Media files such as video, photos and music can be played from USB, via MHL over WiFi and from network storage or connected devices (we were able to stream from our PC running Windows 7/Windows Media Player). If you have a WiDi-enabled computer you can stream content from that too.
There’s also keyword-based search functionality (again using Gracenote) which can hunt for content across TV, movies, media, recordings and available celebrity info, though this can take time.
Toshiba 47L7453DB: performance
Picture performance is solid if not outstanding with ‘CEVO’ picture processing claimed to restore colour and brightness to compressed broadcasts that is ‘lost during the recording process’, and an extensive number of settings to play around with including noise reduction.
Black levels are reasonable – with some tweaking – and fast-moving images such as running water handled well.
Of the picture modes, we found AutoView and Standard a tad too bright with ‘Hollywood Pro’ delivering the best overall balance of natural-looking colours and detailed images.
Native HD TV from the BBC’s channels in particular looked sharp, and switching on ‘Resolution+’ upscaling brought a small degree of added smoothness to SD TV from our HDMI-connected TiVo and low-quality video files. The 2D to 3D conversion functionality, however, was underwhelming whatever the source even with the settings ramped up.
The onboard 30W speaker system is augmented by virtual DTS Premium Sound and proved adept at generating a reasonable amount of bass while ensuring dialogue remains audible even from noisy material such as blockbuster movies.
Toshiba 47L7453DB: Recombu’s verdict
This TV won’t replace a proper PVR like TiVo or Sky+ and is lacking some killer apps, but it’s capable of delivering decent pictures and sound, albeit at a price that’s a little high.