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Toshiba’s 2013 A/V line-up for 2013 revealed

Toshiba’s 2013 A/V range has been announced for the UK, with Full HD and 4K TVs, along with Blu-ray players and sound bars

Toshiba confirmed which models from its 2013 A/V line-up will be making their way to the UK last week, and gave us some hands-on time with the entire range of TVs, Blu-ray players and sound bars so we could give you some early impressions. With other manufacturers beginning to trickle out their TVs and Toshiba planning to launch in late April, read on to find out if it’s worth waiting for the range.

Toshiba’s entire TV range has been redesigned with a more consistent, minimal appearance across the board. A green circular power button at the bottom right is clearly visible on every set, right down to the entry-level machines, and bezel thickness has been reduced across the board. Brushed aluminium and matt black feature heavily, as does an embossed Toshiba logo at the bottom left of each set.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The minimal 7-series will be the top-end Full HD model for 2013

Leading the charge for Full HD will be the 7-series, which has active 3D support, integrated Wi-Fi and Cloud TV, USB hard disk recording, Toshiba’s most advanced image processing engine and FreeView HD tuners. 48, 50 and 58in models will be available from May onwards, although we have yet to learn confirmed pricing.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

If you don’t need 3D, the 6-series will be your best bet

The slightly lower-specced 6-series loses active 3D support and gets a slightly less impressive metal stand, but retains all the features of the 7-series, in both 32 and 40in models. Again the 6-series will be launching in May, with prices yet to be confirmed.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The 4-series will be Toshiba’s best value TVs this year, with plenty of built-in features

The mid-range 4-series looks to be the best value set, with the 32in W4 sticking to 720p but the rest of the range jumping to Full HD. They are otherwise feature-packed, with integrated Wi-Fi, Wi-Di wireless display, USB hard disk recording and FreeView HD tuners.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The entry-level 2-series TVs will come in two varieties – those with integrated DVD players and those without

The entry-level 2-series TVs have been designed to compete with “own-brand” supermarket specials, and so are the most minimal when it comes to specification. Even so, they have Full panels across the range, from 19 to 40in. The D1 variant includes an integrated Blu-ray player, with all including MHL support from £200 upwards.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The Cloud TV home page

The major change for 2013 will be Toshiba’s new Cloud TV platform – it contains all the Smart TV features and services we’ve come to expect from Toshiba’s TVs, with an overhauled interface that’s much more user friendly than previous years. We spotted BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix, AceTrax and Knowhow movies installed, but Toshiba’s representatives told us deals were being worked on to extend the selection of both catch-up and on-demand services mid-way through the year. Being a part of the Smart TV alliance should help the company’s cause in this respect, as development should be simpler than it was last year.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

A typical Cloud TV search result page

Search is heavily integrated into the system, letting you explore live TV programs, recorded shows and catch-up services from one place. The interface has been streamlined to make it easier to navigate, with large, clearly labelled icons, and will let you play your own content from a USB flash drive just as easily as from BBC iPlayer.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The TV page, with all of Toshiba’s catch-up services in one place

Unfortunately, or thankfully depending on your opinion of Smart TV, Cloud TV won’t be the first thing you’ll see when you turn on a Toshiba TV. Unlike Samsung or Panasonic sets, which dive straight into Smart TV, all of Toshiba’s sets will tune to the last playing Freeview HD channel.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The 55in, 4K resolution 55L9363

More exciting news for anyone living on the cutting edge was the presence of Toshiba’s 4K line-up, which will consist of three 9-Series models – the 58in 58L9363, the 65in 65L9363 and 84in 84L9363. They all include a 3,840×2,160 resolution, paired with Toshiba’s CEVO 4K image processing, but only the two larger screens use passive 3D.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

static shots and close-ups really show off what 4K is capable of

All three were on display during our hands-on event, but were again pre-production models. We got to see Toshiba’s upscaling algorithms in effect, although the two trailers Toshiba had selected (fast-moving action and CG animation respectively) made it difficult to spot significantly improved details. Native 4K footage fared better, especially on the larger 84in panel, although again we noticed real issues with light bleed and backlight inconsistency. Hopefully the final models won’t have the same concerns. We know they will be launching in the Summer, but Toshiba has yet to reveal exact dates or prices.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

Notiice the small amount of light leaking through a hole in the chassis

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

Our camera exaggerates the effect, but this screen was supposed to be black

Also on show were Toshiba’s Blu-ray players; the basic BDX2400KB will include Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube and Picasa playback for around £79, the mid-range BDX3400KB will add integrated Wi-Fi and Miracast mobile streaming, and the top-end BDX5400KB gains 3D support. All three share the same design influences as the TV range, with sleek curves and a rounded LED power button.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

Toshiba’s Blu-ray line-up is very minimal this year, matching the TV range closely

Finally, the SBK1 sound bar was on display – it will cost around £130 when it launches in April, adding more powerful stereo sound, an integrated subwoofer and Toshiba’s 3D sound virtual surround technology to your TV.

Toshiba 2013 A/V line-up

The SBK1 sound bar lacks an external subwoofer, so we’ll have to try it out to know if it was the right decision

Toshiba looks to have made real effort in terms of design this year – if the price is right, we have no doubt the company will see a very profitable 2013. Hopefully the picture quality concerns we have from our hands-on day won’t carry across to retail, although we’ll know for sure once review units make their way into our labs in the next month or two.

Be sure to check our gallery for an extensive look at the new Cloud TV system, as well as more pictures of the entire range