While Toshiba’s 2013 Smart TV system certainly looked the part, it was often sluggish to navigate and, as a result, frustrating to use.
User Interface, EPG & PVR Functions
The aforementioned MediaGuide is a highly souped-up Electronic Programme Guide which includes a database of information on actors, TV shows and movies as well as pretty pictures and links to 'bazzillions' of TV programme descriptions, celebrity profiles, and searchable data on TV shows since 1960. Plus there’s included background information on shows and movies. If, for example, you would like to know in what other movies the actor on screen appeared in, MediaGuide can give the answer and it will even indicate if one of these movies is aired on any of the available channels within the next eight days. MediaGuide also makes suggestions for what users may find interesting, based on editorial reviews, personal preferences, keywords, categories and other parameters.
Applications - Hardware
Networking and Media playback
VoD and Other Apps
Other highlights include access to aupeo internet radio, Viewster and iConcerts and if you happen to be of Gallic ancestry, perhaps France 24 might be of interest. There is a much improved Web Browser at your disposal too. It is fully HTML 5 compatible and therefore a handy tool for most up-to-date websites, even playing almost all the embedded video we could find on a variety of web pages. The only problem is that navigating using the remote is very clunky, even when using ‘Mouse Emulation’ and the app doesn’t take advantage of the touchscreen capabilities of your smartphone or tablet by providing a virtual scroll pad. That’s something that needs to be addressed as its currently a good browser spoiled by a clumsy control scheme.
- Nice GUI
- MediaGuide Replay works well
- Solid range of VoD Services
- Good apps for iOS and Android
- Media file support much improved
- Browser is difficult to use
- No Skype
- Lacks apps compared to some
Toshiba Smart TV System 2014 Review
Toshiba’s major new feature for this year comes through the MediaGuide interaction. MediaGuide is a super-powered programme guide with a huge database of information and the new Replay function provides both PVR and a content recommendation engine that will automatically record programmes to connected USB storage. Recordings can also be initiated via apps for iOS and Android and they can be done when you’re not at home through the cloud.
The platform has a good, if not outstanding, selection of video on demand apps including Netflix, YouTube and BBC iPlayer but they could use a few more catch-up services. Media playback over the network has also been improved as has the HTML5 capable web browser, which is only hamstrung by a cumbersome control scheme. That doesn’t hugely take away from what is a very creditable Smart TV platform which will serve the needs of all but the most demanding.
Ease of Use
Media Playback Quality
Applications - Software
Applications - Hardware
Our Review Ethos
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