TODO alt text

Toshiba 32RL958 review

The ultimate trickle-down TV?

The Toshiba 32RL958 is festooned with ins and outs. A panel on the left-hand side of the TV's rear (as you watch TV) houses two HDMI inputs, one capable of taking an Audio Return Channel, above an digital optical audio output, which is useful if you plan to use the Toshiba 32RL958 with a home cinema sound system.

Lower down is a three-way split between an Ethernet LAN port (though a Wi-Fi module is also onboard), a 15-pin D-sub connection for hooking up a PC or laptop (despite most now nursing HDMI) and a USB slot.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

As well as an RF aerial input, the Toshiba 32RL958 also finds room for an RGB Scart, and a full set of component video inputs, including right and left phonos

A side panel close by adds the icing; a second USB input (handy, since the Toshiba 32RL958 can indulge in basic recordings from the Freeview HD tuner, as well as digital media playback), a third HDMI input, a headphones slot and a Conditional Access Module slot for topping up Freeview HD with subscription TV channels.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

That side panel also includes some basic TV controls lest we lose the remote, with an input/channel changer and volume controls as well as a standby switch. A cable-free alternative is the Toshiba 32RL958's Intel Wireless Display (or WiDi for short), though unfortunately technical issues prevented us from testing this.

The Toshiba Remote app for smartphones is available, and though it's slated to work with either a Toshiba TV or Blu-ray player, we couldn't get our download on an iPhone to detect the Toshiba 32RL958 on our network.

We're told that MediaGuide - an EPG app that can be installed as the default on the Toshiba 32RL958 at start-up - will soon be available as an app, too.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

Aside from a lack of choice, the most irritating aspect of the smart TV platform Toshiba Places is that engaging it immediately shuts off live TV. But that doesn't mean browsing must be done in silence. Instead, adverts for the apps themselves play in a thumbnail. Some of them are even in German. Gosh.

It's strung into six sections; TV Place, Video Place, Music Place, Games Place, Social Place and News Place, with a seventh icon - Favourites - available for collecting together most used apps.

There's not much to get excited about; from 24 apps in total in Toshiba Places, only the BBC iPlayer, a web-connected and thoroughly dynamic MediaGuide (a big advance on the electronic programme guide provided by broadcasters), YouTube, Acetrax movie streaming, Skype and Flickr piqued our interest, though we do have a soft spot for iConcerts, too.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

Probably the most useful aspect of Toshiba Places for families is the chance to set up individual accounts, primarily to customise the Social Place. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and DailyMotion sign-ins can be remembered automatically (and the lot password-protected), while there's a link to an email account inbox, too.

Toshiba is also one of the only smart TV platforms without an online shopping hub for apps and services, which tend to act as a handy 'app graveyard' for apps you don't want cluttering up your TV.

Integrating smart TV functions into the TV itself is a good way of streamlining, but it happens less here than it should - or used to.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

On previous Toshiba TVs, the Toshiba Places icon on the carousel had shortcut links to both BBC iPlayer and YouTube.

But on the Toshiba 32RL958 it's necessary to fire up Toshiba Places and trawl through folders. For that and other reasons, Toshiba Places remains a distinctly second-rung smart TV platform.

At least the MediaGuide can be set as the default EPG, and hence accessible direct from the remote without having to touch Toshiba Places.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

It's hardly a lost cause - it works quickly enough on the Toshiba 32RL958 and does have its moments - but as a platform it also comes across as being rather too sure of itself.

Select 'Exit' while in Toshiba Places and the TV asks if we're sure, the default answer being a big fat 'no'. Three button presses to stop doing something is just too much.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

In terms of advanced picture tech, the Toshiba 32RL958 is distinctly lacking; an Edge LED-backlit LCD panel is armed with AMR100 (100Hz tech), AutoView and an Ambient Light Sensor, but its Full HD resolution doesn't get much help beyond that.

That said, the Toshiba 32RL958's Advanced Picture Settings comprise a number of automatic modes for brightness and backlight, as well as colour temperature and Toshiba's regularly impressive detail enhancement circuitry called Resolution+.

Expert settings add white balance, gamma calibration and a helpful built-in test pattern.

Toshiba 32RL958 review

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4), DVB-C (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Product FamilyRL958
EU Energy LabelA+
Smart TVYes
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size81.3 cm (32")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityCEC
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)9.50 kg
Backlight TechnologyLED
VESA Mount Standard200 x 200
Operating Power Consumption78 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio1,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand506 mm
Width with Stand735 mm
Depth with Stand206 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Motion Interpolation Technology100 Active Motion Rate
Brightness400 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesRL958
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesTeletext, Auto Program, PVR (Personal Video Recorder), Web Browser, Auto-off, Hotel Mode, Ambient Lighting, Digital Noise Reduction
ManufacturerToshiba
Product Model32RL958
Product Name32" Smart LED TV
Manufacturer Part Number32RL958B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

The 32" RL958 Smart TV series brings more quality content and connectivity to your home. Delivering stunning Full HD 1080p image quality the RL series features built-in Freeview HD, internet content and catch-up TV services including YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Facebook that are easily accessed thanks to built-in WIFI.

You can also get access to a range of other online content from Acetrax movies, Twitter, Livesport.TV and more through the Toshiba Places internet portal accessed via your TV at the touch of a button. The added convenience of smartphone & tablet remote control operation, USB Recording and Intel WiDi compatibility is also included.

Package Contents
  • 32" Smart LED TV
  • Remote Control
Response Time16 ms
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year