Toshiba 42RL853B review

Toshiba's 42RL853B is tailor-made for the mainstream, but that doesn't preclude a few surprises

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Our Verdict

Overall, the 41RL853 can be considered reasonable value and a presentable proposition for penny-pinchers, even if it lacks the sex appeal (and net smarts) of Toshiba's incoming elite


  • Resolution+ adds detail to SD sources
  • BCC iPlayer and YouTube integration


  • Poor motion resolution
  • Only streamed MPEGs from our network

It's business as usual on the Tosh telly front, with nothing but meek budget offerings. The Toshiba 42RL853B is one of the latest journeyman shelf-fillers.

At 40mm thin, it's in line with higher-end designs from rival screen makers. But its plastic back panel creaks in a distinctly budget fashion and build is average.

The screen offers four HDMI inputs (one side-mounted), plus component, stereo phonos, PC input and a digital audio output. There's also a single USB input and Ethernet LAN. There's no integrated Wi-Fi (unsurprisingly), but you can always buy a dongle if you don't have wired access.

The set does have 'net connection, enabling you to browse your photo library on Flickr, watch catch-up TV via BBC iPlayer or browse YouTube. Since the latter are the two biggest IPTV draws anyway, their inclusion may suffice for some.

And it must be stressed that the YouTube XL API used here is actually very good. It grants access to 720p HD streams when they're available, which is more than some other brands offer.

The set also lays claim to media streaming. However, in this regard it's largely ineffectual. While the TV will spot PCs and NAS devices on your network, it blanks most file formats.

Video compatibility is limited to MPEG derivations. It ignored all the samples in my test folder with the exception of an MPEG-2 TS clip.

Music playback is more impressive. Over the network, the TV correctly read artist/album metadata from my MP3 music server, although it ignored album art. From USB, the set did play back MP3 and AAC music files.

Picture quality is unremarkable. While there's a surprising amount of parameter control, some key limitations can't be overcome. 

The screen does not benefit from any high-speed Active Vision motion processing. This caps the perceived motion resolution of the panel at less than 700 lines, resulting in blurry fast motion. Images snap from sharp focus to a smudge.

The fact that there is no fast frame rate processing does at least mean that movies retain their cinematic look. There is some horizontal panning judder, but nothing overly painful.

Plus points

Toshiba 42rl853

The 42RL853's black level looks good in rooms with moderate ambient lighting, but starts to wash out in a fully darkened room.

Colour fidelity is fair. I do like Resolution+, the brand's rather clever edge enhancement and interpolation tech. Images viewed from sofa distance with Resolution+ turned on definitely look sharper and more detailed than with the processor turned off.

When watching Blu-rays, put the screen in its Native Pixel mode so that nothing is lost behind the bezel.

The screen's edge-LED backlight is reasonably good. The set utilises Active backlight control. There's some light blooming in the corners of the screen, but it's uniform.

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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 Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product FamilyREGZA RL853
Brand NameToshiba
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle178°
Vertical Viewing Angle178°
Analog TunerNTSC
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Weight with Stand (Approximate)13.30 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Operating Power Consumption138 W
Standby Power Consumption200 mW
Dynamic Contrast Ratio3,000,000:1
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand680 mm
Width with Stand1005 mm
Depth with Stand215 mm
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
PC StreamingYes
Media PlayerYes
Height620 mm
Width1005 mm
Depth40 mm
Brightness360 cd/m²
Comb Filter3D Y/C
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus
Product SeriesRL853
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesAmbient Lighting, Hotel Mode, Child Lock, Teletext, Web Browser, Auto Program
Product Model42RL853
Product NameREGZA 42RL853 LED-LCD TV
Product LineREGZA
Manufacturer Part Number42RL853B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The 42" REGZA RL LED series brings more quality content and connectivity to your living room. Delivering stunning Full HD 1080p image quality the RL series features built-in Freeview HD for access to terrestrial HD programmes, catch-up TV and other internet content including YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Flickr.

You also have the added convenience of wireless content sharing in your home via DLNA. Content is always delivered in quality thanks to Resolution+ image enhancement technology that ensures even lower quality images are displayed in near HD quality, along with an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness of your TV automatically dependent on the changing lighting conditions in your home.

Package Contents
  • Remote Control
  • 2 x 'AAA' Batteries
  • Instruction Manual
  • TV Stand
Response Time8 ms
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)11.90 kg