Having been let down by Bush (take that to mean what you will), I needed a new TV. I had the option of going back to my CRT telebox, but the thought alone depressed me, so opted for another brand. I wanted to try Acoustic Solutions (the Argos exclusive brand) LCD TV/DVD combo, but sadly they were out of stock...until I spotted that they come in different colours. I found a white one, that didn't look too bad, so went for it. I ordered it and took it home. My initial reaction was how annoying the box is to carry, it's quite big and clumsy - 6.7kgs with no carry handles - marvelous!
What's in the box:
As soon as I got home, I unpacked the white TV/DVD combo (size of TV (H)40.0 (W)54, (D)9.0cm. Also 22in/55.9cm widescreen with 55.9cm visible screen size), unwrapped the remote - to which I popped in the included batteries, whipped out the instructions, then did a quick tidy up to rid my life of crappy polystyrene balls that kept chipping off the cheap packaging.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that such a relatively unknown brand would be so easy to set up. I didn't have any problems whatsoever. I didn't even use the instructions (my bad) and got on with the digital setup all on my own. Sweet! The TV has an on/off button, so you can leave it plugged in, without eating into your electricity bill with a standby light.
The picture was fine. For an 'inferior' brand, it was much better than I had expect. My only problem with the visuality (is that a word?), was that as the TV is rigidly fixed to it's stand, so you can't tilt the screen forward to correct the angle that you watch it. As with the last LCD I had, I ended up sitting lower than seated eye level, so the colour ended up looking washed out, as I couldn't watch from the optimum level of straight on. Apparently the viewing angle is 170º but I'm not so sure, it seemed less to me. Apart from that, I have nothing bad to say about the image quality. The catalogue of dreams (Argos) says that the TV can be mounted on a wall, but the stand doesn't look very straight forward to remove! The TV comes HD ready, so don't worry about the advances in technologically televisual developments. The resolution is 1680 x 1050 pixels and the contrast ratio is 1000:1. Obviously you're paying for you get, so don't expect super high spec image capabilities - but for a TV to casually watch with no expectation of flawless visuals, it's fine.
As for sound quality, the same theory goes for the visual element. It's ok, but not groundbreakingly amazing by any means. The speakers are found along the bottom of the TV, just under the screen. There is a little hole for your headphones, should you wish for no-one to hear what you're listening to. The sound system is Nicam, so if this offends you, you might want to steer clear.
Comprehensible. Fine. It comes with up to 48 channels - which is pretty standard. The EPG wasn't too bad, it was easy to use and has enough information for up to 7 days of listings. I never found myself using the EPG (electronic programme guide) much, but all seemed very nicely presented thus aiding the ease of use. I noticed there is also Digital video broadcasting (DVB) subtitles available...handy eh? It might also be worth mentioning that Teletext is available on the TV too, just incase you wanted to know more than what telly programmes are coming up on the EPG.
Overall, it's much better than the last TV/DVD combo I had, but as with the last, it still hummed. Not in a particularly obtrusive way - but it hummed none the less, and did annoy me when it comes to watching quieter moments on the DVD. At least it didn't squeal everytime the TV was switched on though. The player supports region 2, but haven't a clue if these combo's can have their settings changed to become region free. Playback compatibility is ample: CD, DVD, VCD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVDR, DVD-RW, MP3 SACD, S-VHS, STILL/SLOW/SEARCH, J-PEG IMAGE. All in all, the DVD functionality was fine.
It actually looks quite nice, and is very easy to use - although being white, it invites dirt to cling to it! Everything is pretty self explanatory and had no troubles using it. Whilst it looks fine, it feels very cheap and plasticy - I wouldn't trust it last once you've thrown it across the room in an attempt to shut the DVD player up from humming!
As you might know, I'm not one for having lists in the reviews, but I think this is handy to know:
* 1 HDMI sockets.
* 1 SCART sockets.
* Component video socket.
* AV socket.
* DC socket.
* 2 x 5w RMS power output.
* Digital sound processor.
* Auto setup.
* CI Slot.
* UHF/VHF tuner.
* Sleep timer.
* Child lock.
* 230v AC mains operated.
The worse thing about this TV is that it is FUGLY. I went for the white, because the black was out of stock, and naively I thought it would match the apple mac branding and fit in quite well with my colour schemes. Well, yes it would, but the problem is, it looks like it is made out of lego! The surround of the TV screen looks like it's been vacuum formed in a Year9 technology class. AND WORSE OF ALL, the base is big and cumbersome looking, it really looks like someone just made it with a bit of help from Anthea Turner. It looks horrible. If it wasn't for the reality of what it looks like, I might just be tempted to give it pride of place in my lounge. Weirdly, the black version of this TV can be bought for around £195 - but for the glory of a butt ugly white one, you can expect to pay £215 - I think the extra £20 must be a warning!
I'm giving the TV/DVD 3stars, because it looks horrible and clearly, the capabilities could be better. I think if it looked different, it would probably get an extra little star for being such a bargain.
Thanks for reading :)
© MarcoG 2009