A 32in TV was once a living room monster, but such sizes are now used more commonly as second sets. Such TVs often miss out on convenient features such as DLNA media streaming or internet connectivity. That isn’t the case with Toshiba’s 32RL958, as it has a Full HD 1,920×1,080-resolution panel, a suite of online services and direct-to-USB recording, and costs just £330.
The glossy black plastic finish isn’t exactly stylish, but it’s fairly inoffensive, giving the 32RL958 an edge over the supermarket-brand TVs also available in this price range. The large stand is made of plastic too, but it’s firm and fairly sturdy; the panel only wobbles if you knock it with significant force. Sadly, it won’t let you pivot or tilt the screen, so it might look a little crooked on top of an angled cabinet or table.
Given its price, we were expecting the 32RL958 to have few connection ports, but we were pleasantly surprised to find three HDMI ports, component, SCART and VGA video, digital optical and 3.5mm headphone audio, a Common Interface slot, Ethernet and two USB ports. This is a fairly standard selection for a bigger TV, but it’s great to see such variety in a 32in model. It even has integrated Wi-Fi, which makes it easy to stream online services without running a network cable from your router. You’re prompted to connect the set when you first switch it on, and we were up and running in a matter of minutes.
Once connected, we dived straight into the Toshiba Spaces online portal. It has a good selection of catch-up and on-demand services, including BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Dailymotion, Blinkbox and AceTrax, along with Facebook, Skype and Twitter integration. It also has a web browser, but the remote control is totally unsuitable for quick browsing. Toshiba Spaces is also one of the only smart TV systems available with multiple user accounts. This is ideal if you have several family members with Facebook or Twitter, but it’s quicker to use your smartphone with Facebook and Twitter as it’s painfully slow to load at times and entering text with the remote can be difficult.
We also put the RL958’s DLNA player through its paces with our collection of test videos. Happily, it could play them all, including DivX, MKV and MOV files, so you should be able to play almost any video stored on your PC or NAS device, along with any music and photos. You can also play media stored on an attached USB drive.