Toshiba 40RL953 review

This mid-range Freeview HD screen is no triumph for Toshiba

TODO alt text

Smart TV may still be in its infancy as far as the mass market is concerned but there's no doubt that (unlike 3D) its popularity will continue to grow steadily. Toshiba has invested in honing its Toshiba Places portal, which is now attractive, more user-friendly, and not short of useful features.

Elsewhere, the Toshiba 40RL953 is well served in the looks department, appearing modern and understated. It has a clean-looking 1cm-wide black bezel, dark LCD screen and unusual mirrored lip along the bottom frame that subtly sets the TV off from the base.

Toshiba 40RL953 review

The connections roster happily has plenty of legacy analogue support, an Ethernet LAN port, CI slot and reasonably includes three HDMIs, but the provision of just one USB could be problematic.

Mounting the Toshiba 40RL953 could also be tricky, given that most sockets are rear-facing rather than side-facing. With no built-in Wi-Fi, the sole USB has to be used to house the Toshiba WLM-20U2 WLAN Adaptor in order to access a wireless network, making access to USB flash drives an issue.

The least appealing aspect of the Toshiba 40RL953's hardware, though, is its throwback of a remote control. Neither its looks nor feel are commensurate with the cutting-edge model it serves.

Toshiba 40RL953 review

The remote is tapered uncomfortably to one end and the rubbery buttons are generally small, flat and poorly labelled. You may well wish to explore the Toshiba remote control app for Android and Apple devices, or invest in a magnifying glass.

The Freeview HD-equipped Toshiba 40RL953 consists of a Full HD Edge LED-lit panel with 50Hz processing and 178-degree viewing angle.

Picture optimisation comes courtesy of AMR 100 processing, a Blu-ray-friendly 1080p/24fps cinema mode, Toshiba's acclaimed resolution+ mode that sharpens details of standard definition sources and a well-stuffed toolbox of image adjustment tweaks that pleasingly includes colour management.

Toshiba 40RL953 review

When you fire up the screen for the first time, it asks you to choose between Broadcast and Media for the guide type, by which it means Freeview's EPG or the online Rovi Guide.

Buying Guide
best tv

Best TV 2012
All the buying advice you need to choose a new HD TV in the modern era!

Rovi provides a much richer visual experience, including channel logos and still images relating to highlighted selections. You also get a live AV feed of the current broadcast as opposed to the audio-only continuity provided by the dour-looking Freeview EPG, something which enables the latter to cram in 13 channels at a time.

The revamped Toshiba Places portal comprises a fairly decent selection of video on demand providers, including Acetrax, Box Office 365, Cartoon Network, Viewster and the de rigeur BBC iPlayer and YouTube.

Other places fall under music, social, news and game categories, but fall short of an app store or web browser.

Multimedia format compatibility is exceptionally good with DLNA certification (subject to the fickle nature of DLNA connections), and the screen is happy to play ball with AVCHD, AVI, DIVX, XVID, M4V, MKV, MOV and WMV video files.

It can also show JPEG stills and M4A, AAC, MP3 and even WAV audio files.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Product FamilyRL953
EU Energy LabelA+
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size101.6 cm (40")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Green CompliantYes
Analog TunerNTSC
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating Power Consumption90 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio1,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Motion Interpolation Technology100 Active Motion Rate
Height506 mm
Width735 mm
Depth206 mm
Brightness350 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesRL953
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesDigital Noise Reduction, Ambient Lighting, Auto Program, Teletext, Auto-off, Hotel Mode
Product Model40RL953
Product Name40" Smart LED TV
Manufacturer Part Number40RL953B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The 40" RL953 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 for access to terrestrial HD programmes, internet content and catch-up TV services including YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Facebook. You can also get access to a range of other online content from Acetrax movies, Flickr, Aupeo internet radio 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 is also included.

Package Contents
  • 40" Smart LED TV
  • Remote Control
  • Battery
  • Instruction Manual
  • TV Stand Integrated
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)14 kg