Toshiba 46WL863B LED LCD 3D TV Review

The Toshiba 46WL863B provides among its array of picture presets three Hollywood modes, namely [Hollywood Day], [Hollywood Night] and [Hollywood Pro], which are meant to deliver accurate images that adhere to the standards adopted by the video industry. [Hollywood Day] is pegged to a top-end luminance of 205 cd/m2 (60fL) for viewing in a bright environment, whereas [Hollywood Night] and [Hollywood Pro] both output 103 cd/m2 (30fL) on a full-field 100% grey pattern, which is the brightness recommended by SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) for a direct-view display used in a darkened environment for critical viewing.

These Hollywood picture modes, especially [Hollywood Pro], yielded greyscale closest to the D65 standard on the 46WL863 out of the box. This is probably the reason why auto-calibration can only be done in the [Hollywood Pro] mode – not as many adjustments are required compared to other less accurate picture presets.

Pre-calibration RGB tracking
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Hollywood Pro] mode
Gamma curve in [Hollywood Pro] mode Gamma tracking in [Hollywood Pro] mode
Gamma curve before calibration Corresponding gamma tracking

While decent, there was still room for improvement in terms of greyscale and gamma (2.4 seemed to be the default value that the Toshiba WL863 was aiming for). Could auto-calibration do the trick? Let’s find out.

Auto-Calibration (2D)

After connecting the Toshiba TPA-1 colour analyser to the 46WL863B’s USB1 port, we initiated greyscale and gamma auto-calibration through the [Hollywood Pro] > [Expert Settings] > [Gamma Calibration] submenu. This summoned an automatically advancing sequence of red, green, blue and grey windowed test patterns in 5IRE increments – 84 in total – on screen to be measured for auto-calibration. Here are the results as captured by our own light-measuring instrument:

Auto-calibrated RGB tracking
RGB tracking and dEs following [Auto Gamma Calibration]
Auto-calibrated gamma curve Auto-calibrated gamma tracking
Auto-calibrated gamma curve Corresponding gamma tracking

Auto-calibration definitely brought about some tangible improvements: delta errors (dEs) for greyscale were reduced to less than 3 above 20% stimulus; whilst gamma now tracked nicely at 2.2 (which was the target we asked the TV to shoot for when presented with the option during auto-calibration). Although not perfect, we cannot stress enough that the whole process was completed in record time: it would have taken us substantially longer than five minutes to obtain such a ruler-flat gamma through manual calibration, especially given how the submenus on the Toshiba WL863 have this annoying habit of enlarging and occupying the centre of the screen (therefore disrupting continuous measurements) when switching between controls (for example when changing from the [Red] to the [Green] slider in the white balance menu).

Unfortunately things didn’t go so well when we tried to auto-calibrate the colours on the 46WL863. Have a look at the following CIE charts taken before and after auto-calibration:

Pre-calibration CIE chart Auto-calibrated CIE chart
Pre-calibration CIE chart Auto-calibrated CIE chart

At first glance, the initially oversaturated blue and green, as well as the undersaturated red were all brought closer to HD Rec. 709 specification. However, cyan had deviated further from its correct hue, and colour decoding actually took a slight turn for the worse. The reason behind these shortcomings is easily explained – Toshiba’s [Auto Colour Calibration] process only entailed measuring and tweaking the three primary colours of red, blue and green. Without measuring secondary colours nor 75% grey (which can then be used to derive the proper brightness/luminance/intensity for each colour), errors in these areas were obviously unavoidable.

To sum it up, we really loved taking advantage of the auto-calibration function on the Regza 46WL863B to calibrate greyscale and gamma, but we would not recommend it for colour calibration unless Toshiba starts incorporating secondary colours and colour decoding measurements into the process.

2D Manual Calibration

Note: We opted to use the [Standard] picture preset for 2D calibration, since we discovered that in this mode red primary at baseline was less undersaturated than that in any of the Hollywood modes. From our tests, there was no downside to using the [Standard] preset: all the picture-affecting controls (except those for auto-calibration) were present; there was no black-level fluctuation as long as the correct settings were used; and any skewed gamma could be ironed out through the 10-point white balance submenu.

After experiencing the addictively speedy auto-calibration process which yielded perfectly acceptable greyscale, manual calibration suddenly felt like such a chore. Nonetheless, the presence of 10-point white balance controls, and the perfectionist nature in us demanded that we squeezed every last ounce of greyscale and gamma performance from the Toshiba 46WL863:

Post-calibration RGB tracking
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs
Post-calibration gamma curve Post-calibration gamma tracking
Post-calibration gamma curve Corresponding gamma tracking

Toshiba has provided a colour management system (CMS) labelled as [ColourMaster] on the 46WL863. Although on paper the CMS allows control over all three facets (hue, saturation and brightness) of each primary and secondary colour, things were not so clear cut in practice. Adjusting a parameter would typically affect the other two (ideally they should be independent of one another), but perhaps most damningly, changing any [Base Colour Adjustment] > [Brightness] value would introduce random compression artefacts in real-life programmes, which essentially meant that only the [Hue] and [Saturation] controls were functional.

Using the [ColourMaster] system, we proceeded to map the secondary colours to the correct hue while minimising luminance errors, something that the auto-calibration function on the Toshiba WL863 could not achieve. Unfortunately even in the [Standard] picture mode, we could not fully saturate red primary:

Post-calibration CIE chart
Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709
Post-calibration luminance levels
Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

3D Calibration

After affixing the supplied Toshiba FPT-AG01 active-shutter glasses (though consumers will have to purchase this separately) to our non-contact meter, we began calibrating the 46WL863B in its 3D mode using a separate picture preset – [Hollywood Night] in our case – since the TV applies the same settings to both 2D and 3D content within a single preset. We found that bumping [Colour Temperature] to “10” was the easiest way to approximate the D65 standard without touching the [10p White Balance] and [Base Colour Adjustment] controls… let’s face it, there are not many people around who have the skill, equipment and desire to calibrate a 3DTV in its third dimension!

Pre-calibration RGB tracking in 3D mode
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in 3D mode

As astute readers can probably tell from the graphs above, there was ample room for improvement, so we waded straight into the [10p White Balance] submenu to harmonise the mixture of red, green and blue channels that constituted grey. Even though the entire process took some time, the end-result made our efforts worthwhile:

Post-calibration RGB tracking in 3D mode
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in 3D mode
Post-calibration gamma curve in 3D mode Post-calibration gamma tracking in 3D mode
Post-calibration gamma curve in 3D Corresponding gamma tracking

Greyscale and gamma in 3D mode were nigh on perfect following calibration, with the former exhibiting delta errors (dEs) of less than 1 (the high dEs below 30% stimulus were due to a limitation with our non-contact meter rather than the display), and the latter tracking religiously at 2.2 across all light intensities, allowing for a realistic transition from darker to brighter areas on screen during extra-dimensional viewing.

The [ColourMaster] colour management system on the Toshiba 46WL863 was similarly semi-crippled in 3D mode: as was the case in 2D, the [Base Colour Adjustment] > [Brightness] controls did not work properly. But we soldiered on, seeking to minimise dEs for each primary and secondary colour using whichever means available at our disposal.

Post-calibration CIE chart in 3D mode
Post-calibration CIE chart in 3D mode
Post-calibration luminance levels in 3D mode
Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

We did not manage to rectify the green primary which remained oversaturated and tilted towards red, but for the most part other chromaticities were on-hue and free from any significant error in colour decoding.

Benchmark Test Result

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Very good for a large-sized edge LED LCD TV
Overscanning on HDMI 0% with [Picture Size] set to “Native”
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0.0447 cd/m2
Calibrated black level (ANSI checkerboard) 0.0447 cd/m2
Black level retention Stable
Primary chromaticity Undersaturated red
Scaling Very good
Video mode deinterlacing Very good jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Failed 3:2 cadence in 480i and 1080i; and 2:2 in 576i
Viewing angle Good for a non-plasma TV
Motion resolution [Active Vision M800] “Smooth” & “Standard”: 1080; “Off”: 300
Digital noise reduction Acceptable at baseline
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
1080p/24 capability No telecine judder in 2D; mild in 3D
Input lag 31ms compared to lag-free CRT

Power Consumption

Default [Standard] mode (2D) 94 watts
Default [Standard] mode (3D) 95 watts
Autocalibrated [Hollywood Pro] mode (2D) 68 watts
Calibrated [Standard] mode (2D) 72 watts
Calibrated [Hollywood Night] mode (3D) 92 watts
Standby 1 watt

Measurements taken with full 50% grey screen.

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