Review Price £437.00
Talking of the remote, it's not a very happy affair. Some of the buttons - including the Places one - are very small and unhelpfully labelled, and it seemed to only communicate with the TV over a narrower vertical angle than we'd have liked.
Setting the 40RL958B up uncovers an adequate set of connections and picture adjustments. Three HDMIs kick things off, accompanied by other highlights of the aforementioned key Wi-Fi support, an Ethernet port if hardwiring to your router isn't a problem, and a USB port for playing back multimedia files or recording from the built-in Freeview HD tuner.
The Wi-Fi/LAN options allow you to network the TV with a DLNA-capable PC as well as the Places online service - though we have to say that the 40RL958B's DLNA capabilities are a little primitive by today's standards. The new Wi-Fi system is also compatible with the Intel WiDi PC screen sharing system.
Please note that many of the 40RL958B’s connections face straight out of the set’s rear, making it a potentially difficult option to hang on a wall.
Within the 40RL958B's attractively presented 'concentric circles' main onscreen menus, meanwhile, highlight features include a reasonably helpful set of picture presets, a backlight adjustment, different power settings for the set's auto backlight adjustment, noise reduction routines, a colour management system that lets you adjust the hue, saturation and brightness of each of the six main colour elements, and an on/off toggle for Toshiba's ResolutionPlus system.
There's even an 'Expert' sub-menu that provides a filtering system for the red, green and blue colour elements, and both 2p and 10p white balance systems, with RGB offset and gain adjustments.
ResolutionPlus, as its name suggests, applies processing to boost the sharpness and apparent detail of pictures. It's startlingly effective as such systems go in our opinion, especially with standard definition, which it makes look much crisper without, crucially, leaving source noise looking too exposed. In this latter respect in particular it's a clear advance over the upscaling engines you get with most TVs in the 40RL958B's price bracket.
ResolutionPlus can even apply a smaller level of extra sharpness to HD sources, though we're not sure that it's really necessary here, and can leave HD images looking a touch too gritty for comfort.
For a 40in TV costing just £430, the 40RL958B's pictures are mostly exceptional. For starters they're both brighter and more vibrantly coloured than you would usually expect to find for so little money ensuring that they pop off the screen in an enjoyably eye-catching way.
Colours aren't gaudy or vulgar in their vibrancy either. On the contrary, the combination of natural tones with a wide enough palette to deliver blends and skin tones without the picture degrading into striping or patchiness goes well beyond the rather simplistic, cartoonish approach to colour that's so common at the budget end of the market.
The overall temperature of the picture's colours is well calibrated for video as opposed to PC use too, and colours don't take anywhere near as severe a dive in tonal accuracy when shifting down from HD to standard def as they do on many budget sets.
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