We’ve covered Toshiba’s Places online system recently during our review of the Toshiba 46TL868, so we don’t need to go deeply into it again here. Suffice it to say that it’s a beautifully presented system that shows some intriguing early efforts at personalising the online TV experience, but is also short of content compared with most rival systems.
It’s better now that Toshiba has added AceTrax and Facebook, which join other highlights of the BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Box Office 365. But it’s still off the content pace set by the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony and, latterly, Panasonic. Mind you, it’s worth remembering that we are talking here about a sub-£400 32in TV, so arguably getting any online services should be classed as a bonus.
The 32RL858 continues to scoff at usual budget TV expectations by employing a full HD LCD panel illuminated by edge LED lighting, via which, it’s doubtless optimistically claimed, the TV can deliver a contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1!
The 32RL858’s onscreen menus continue to offer plenty of pleasant surprises for a budget TV, too. For instance, there’s a ‘ColourMaster’ colour management system that lets you adjust the hue, saturation and brightness of the red, green, blue, yellow, magenta and cyan colour components. You can also turn off the set’s active backlight control if you find its effects distracting, plus there are two types of noise reduction, and the set even supports 100Hz playback.
First impressions of the 32RL858‘s picture performance are remarkably positive, as they initially seem immune to the sorts of major problems that usually afflict cheap TVs - especially cheap TVs that boast as many features as the 32RL858B does.
Two things in particular grab your attention. First, the picture’s remarkably rich colours leap off the screen with much more dynamism than is usually the case, and second, HD pictures look much crisper and more detailed than is common with budget tellies.