Toshiba CES 2014 TVs: Full-array local dimming, 4K and clouds

Toshiba's lineup of TVs for 2014, just introduced at CES, is chock full of pixels, dimming LEDs and the company's Cloud Portal Smart TV system

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
3 min read
The successor to the Toshiba L9300U (pictured) gets a much better backlight on its 65 and 58-inch sizes. Toshiba

LAS VEGAS -- Toshiba is no longer among the top names in TV, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the company's audacious product introductions at CES 2014.

Today the company bowed 17 new LED LCDs, ranging from a 32-inch 720p value play to an 85-inch 4K-resolution behemoth. More importantly, select models include our favorite picture-enhancing feature: an LED backlight with full array local dimming.

Here's the rundown from high-to low-end. Pricing was not announced.

  • 84L9450: 4K, 240Hz refresh rate Toshiba's largest 2014 TV lacks that snazzy backlight, and so on paper it closely resembles the 2013 version. It even has the same design.
    Sizes: 84 inches
    First availability: June/July
  • L9400 series: 4K, full-array local dimming, 240Hz refresh rate Toshiba calls it the radiance panel, touting its higher light output and that sweet, sweet dimming -- last seen on high-end performers like the Sony XBR-HX950. If the L9400 can live up to the promise of its backlight, it could be one of 2014's best 4K TVs. We also appreciate that it's not curved.
    Sizes: 65 and 58 inches
    First availability: June/July
  • L8400 series: 4K, 120Hz refresh rate The entry-level 4K Toshibas promise to be among the least expensive so-rezzed TVs from a brand don't hail from China. Sure it lacks the step-up picture-enhancing features of its line-mates to either side, but at least you get voice control. Like all Toshiba 2014 4K sets, it's compatible with HDMI 2.0.
    Sizes: 58 and 50 inches
    First availability: June/July
  • L7400 series: 1080p, full-array local dimming, 240Hz refresh rate Be still my beating heart. Happily proving wrong my dire prediction that TV makers would reserve great step-ups like local dimming for their 4K sets exclusively, the L7400 manages to offer that radiance panel in good old 1080p. That alone makes it one of my favorite TV announcements at the show. If only it came in a 65-inch size too.
    Sizes: 55 and 47 inches
    First availability: March
  • L5400 series: 1080p, 240Hz refresh rate Welcome to the mainstream, friend. The L5400 promises to be a value-first, large-screen-size play.
    Sizes: 65 and 58 inches
    First availability: May/June
  • L3400 series: 1080p, 120Hz refresh rate, Smart TV The company's least expensive model with Smart TV, the L3400 (and L5400) lack the "Cloud Portal" of the higher-end sets. The difference? No voice control, DirecTV-friendly RVU compatability, a less fancy interface, and a few other features you'll never use. But they all have Netflix, so what do you care?
    Sizes: 50 and 40 inches
    First availability: March
  • L2400 series: 1080p, 120Hz refresh rate In 2014 the sole Toshiba TV we reviewed was the L2300, direct predecessor to this series. It wasn't very good. Maybe the 2014 version is better, but I somehow doubt it.
    Sizes: 50, 40 and 32 inches
    First availability: February/March
  • L1400 series: 1080p (720p for 32-incher) I won't be surprised if these are among the cheapest TVs from a recognizable brand available in 2014. The feature list is bare-bones, and the 32-incher is one of the only 720p TVs left anywhere. Maybe the L1400 will deliver the same kind of value as some past Toshibas.
    Sizes: 50, 40 and 32 inches
    First availability: February/March

We'll have more information on Toshiba's 2014 sets when we get a chance to see them in person later this week.