Toshiba 42TL515U Review (LCD-LED TV)

Description: 42" Full HD LED backlit Passive 3D TV
Includes: Tablet Top Stand, Built in Wifi, 2 Pair Passive 3D glasses
Reviewer: Jack Burden
Date: Late Summer 2011

A shot from SI's Swimsuit Edition 3D Experience shows off excellent accurate color rendition in the 42TL515U


  • Passive 3D Picture quality very good
  • Low cost of 3D glasses
  • 1" Deep, nice looking matte finish
  • Color rendition very natural and pops
  • Side angle viewing with 3D
  • Price/Value
  • Built In Wifi ready without Dongle
  • Good looking design and 1" bezel
  • Input Selection


  • Audio sound quality
  • Judder and jerky effects with moving images
  • Internet Options OK
  • Screen uniformity with high Backlight setting
  • Slow response to remote control

HD Picture Quality: 8/10

A good HD shot of The Price is Right showing off color saturation of the TL515.

Right our of the box the TL515 is set to the Autoview picture mode setting which we find very tolerable when compared to most preset mode picture settings. This setting automatically adjusts contrast for room light by using Toshiba's inbuilt Dynalight technology. Colors are not blown out as they are with many preset Picture modes. They are much more realistic and it's not a bad option. However, we recommend using the Movie picture mode and calibrating from there with our calibrated picture settings listed on the following page. Adjusting to our recommended Backlight setting of 60 helps to eliminate any issues you may have with screen uniformity issues around the edges of the screen and also perceived contrast at side angles. However, for very bright rooms you may want to turn it up some.

With most LED-LCD TVs we recommend turning off the 240Hz anti-judder control feature due to unwelcome consequences. However, the judder (jerky effects as images move across the screen) on the TL515 are pretty bad and warrant the feature – called Clear Scan 240. In addition, the Clear Scan 240 feature does not overdo it, producing the unwanted effects. It reduces judder by about half, so there is still visible jerky effects. With most of the TVs picture modes the feature is preset to on. But you might want to check to make sure. It's a bit tricky to find: Go to Advanced Settings in the Picture menu and scroll down below the visible options to find it.

3D Viewing: 9/10

One of the big surprises from this TV was the quality of 3D viewing. I expected much less depth from the passive 3D glasses than we've been seeing with the active-shutter 3D glasses, but that was not the case. With active 3D we have seen more depth in the background of the picture, but with this passive 3D TV, we see images popping out of the screen towards us more. In the end I would say it's a wash. Side angle 3D viewing was also very good, while more straight on-center viewing is required with active 3D. Coloration is excellent. Image edges are not quite as crisp as some TVs we've tested recently. We did not experience the normal negative attributes from last year's 3D TVs – flicker and blurring in the bottom right and left corners. And one last big plus for this TV's simple passive glasses – they didn't tire my eyes.

Toshiba's Passive 3D Glasses cost a fraction of active 3D glasses and are very light.

Standard Definition Picture Quality: 7.5/10

Features Rating: 8.5/10

The Internet Options Menu on the TL515.

Internet Options: Wifi is built in on the TL515 so there is no Wifi dongle necessary. Toshiba relies on Yahoo! Widgets for it's Internet TV options aside from some of the premier paid services. Toshiba is a little behind in the Internet TV options department, but has the ones you will need most. The Yahoo! Widgets options which publishes the news, financials and a few other services. We're still not a big fan. The TL515 also has Netflix, Vudu Movies, Cinema Now, Pandora, Facebook, Flickr, You Tube.

Vudu Movies is one of the choices (via subscription) on the TL515.

Audio Output: As with many very thin LED TV's these days, the sound quality on the TL515 leaves a lot to be desired. Obtaining a home theater to use with this TV is recommended. Sound is thin and volume weak from many sources.

Value Rating: 8.5/10

The 42TL515 is available for between $1100 and $1200 from authorized online dealers. Considering how well the passive 3D looks, this might also be a great option if you will have lots of people watching the TV since extra passive 3D glasses are inexpensive. There are lots of extras with this TV. The only thing it's missing is a web browser. Competition is from the Panasonic TC-P42ST30 3D plasma.

Overall Rating: 8.3/10

See the complete Toshiba 42TL515 Picture Settings and Calibration Results.


  • 42" screen class (42.0" diagonal screen size)
  • ENERGY STAR certified
  • 4 HDMI inputs; 1 component video input; 2 composite video inputs
  • PC input; Ethernet port; 2 USB ports (Video, music, photos)
  • Audyssey EQ sound circuitry
  • 10W + 10W built-in Invisible Speaker System design
  • Includes tabletop stand; 400mm x 400mm VESA compliant
  • Illuminated remote control
  • LED backlighting
  • ClearScan 240Hz refresh rate
  • 1920 x 1080p native picture resolution
  • AutoView ambient light sensor and picture adjustment system
  • Gaming mode
  • 3D capability (Passive); 2D to 3D upconversion
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Internet TV apps and streaming from top content providers
  • Expert mode for precise picture adjustments
  • Native Mode displays lost overscan areas
  • Instaport fast HDMI switching
  • Input labeling
  • Channel browser
  • Sleep timer
  • CEVO chip
  • Dimensions (without/with stand): 39.92"/39.92" W x 24.37"/27.13" H x 1.29"/11.30" D
  • Weight (without/with stand): 29.98/37.48 lbs.


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