Product Type: Alba 3D LCD TV
Newest Review: ... around £180 at the time. We wanted a tv with a large screen at a low price. It fit all of our needs. The tv is a black, flat screen and... more
Alba-y It For That Price!
Alba 32 Inch HD Ready Digital LCD TV
Member Name: caseybrady1992
Alba 32 Inch HD Ready Digital LCD TV
Date: 28/06/12, updated on 08/01/13 (299 review reads)
Advantages: Solid and reliable; decent picture quality; sleep timer
Disadvantages: Sound! Some few minor glitches; not as stylish as other TVs; only one HDMI port!
-== A Brief History of Alba ==-
Many people have heard of Alba - this isn't one of those cases where you're completely turned off by the prospect of owning a device bearing an unknown brand name. Alba was founded in 1917 and has always been a low-cost company, and has been in association with other low-cost brands in the past, such as Grundig, Bush and Goodmans. It was purchased by Argos in 2008, which is where I bought it from, although it can also be purchased elsewhere (i.e. Amazon).
-== Appearance =-
The TV is LCD, thus a 'flat screen', and is black all over. It looks very slick on my wall bracket against my contrasting black wallpaper. It is made out of plastic; the front surrounding the screen has gloss finish, whereas the back (which generally isn't seen) has a matt finish. The screen is 32" (81cm) in size (for those of you who don't know, these TV sizes given are from one corner of the inside of the screen to the opposite corner), but the TV itself as the following dimensions: H52.4, W77.6, D9.4cm (Height, Width and Depth). So, there is a medium-sized border around the screen (although the section below the screen is slightly larger), but in terms of depth, it is actually quite thick in comparison to TVs nowadays. The specification also gives the dimensions should you want to use the stand: H56.7, W77.6, D21.2cm (the especially enlarged depth taking the size of the circular base of the stand into consideration).
Well, you can make your mind up from the image (and if you can't, then you can visit the Argos website at http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5 295487.htm and view some of the other images), but I personally think that it looks good. It's nowhere near as attractive or cool as some of the newer models, mainly by other, more respected (and expensive) brands, but it's decent and does the job.
-== Connectivity ==-
- 1 HDMI socket and 1 SCART socket.
- Component video socket.
- Headphone socket.
- AV socket (side).
All ports can be found at the back, except the AV sockets which are, like many others TVs, found on the side. I feel that this is the TV's main con: one HDMI socket. One SCART socket isn't the end of the world; we're in the digital age now, though if you are still using them for whatever reason (old VCRs and video game consoles), this is certainly not the TV for you! In this day and age, however, the lack of multiple HDMI ports isn't great. Objects that require HDMI include: Blu-ray players, HD TV providers (including HD Freeview, Sky, Virgin, BT etc.) and 'next-gen' video game consoles. There may be a possibility of a HDMI splitters, but you'd have to look into it. Generally speaking, this isn't the TV's finest asset.
-== Quality ==-
Picture quality isn't the best you'll find on an LCD TV - just pop into an electronics store and they usually have a big display of numerous TVs, and you will notice the difference from television to television. This TV has a good picture quality, but not amazing. In the case of audio quality, it's one of its main issues. The compressor just destroys the sound, particularly if you're watching a movie or listening to music at a higher volume. This is clearly where the cheap price comes into play. However, I've not encountered any other major problems in either area, bar the odd blip, which is often down to Freeview signal. The Freeview signal itself is good, although not all channels are available, though I don't think I've ever used a TV where all channels ARE available!
- HD Ready display resolution.
- Integrated Freeview digital tuner.
- 32in (81cm) widescreen TV.
- Resolution 1366 x 768 pixels.
- Refresh rate 50Hz.
- Brightness 500cd/m2.
- Contrast ratio 1300:1 (native).
- Response time 6miliseconds.
- Viewing angle 178/178 degrees.
- Progressive scan
- 2 x 8 watts RMS power output.
-== Navigating ==-
I would say that it is generally quite easy to navigate with this television. The arrows are used to navigate from channel to channel - well, the up and down buttons are. Unfortunately, one cannot navigate whilst watching a programme to see what it is on later - the left and right buttons are there purely for navigation of the menu. Furthermore, the 'EPG' (Electronic Programme Guide) can only appear on screen by shutting off the picture and sound of the channel that you are watching, which is a tad annoying. There is a 'Channel List' but it doesn't display the programmes that are on currently, nor later that day. However, the arrow navigation is very useful as it does not switch the channel, but rather just allows the viewer to see what else is on 'Now' and 'Next' on other channels - and it runs quickly and smoothly.
Moving to another channel is achieved in three ways: using the arrows and hitting 'OK' on the desired one; using 'P+' and 'P-' to move to channels in a linear manner, and by using the keypad (numbers 0-9). Furthermore, one can return to the channel they were previously on by the press of a button, something that is included on many TV remotes. However, this is sometimes faulty if you use it quickly - you need to wait until the picture has appeared on screen before you use it. Also worth noting is that the picture takes a good few seconds to load up, but appears in sync with the audio.
There are some navigating issues with this television, but generally speaking, it is easy to use and is quick.
-== The Menu ==-
It consists of six options: 'Channel List', 'Programme Guide' (a.k.a EPG), 'Timers' (which is a very lazy additional feature that allows you to set a timer to switch to other channels, which I guess is handy if you've got a string of programmes to watch on different channels), 'Conditional Access' (or 'CA', is a digital TV content protection...thing. Research further if you're interested..!), 'TV Setup' and 'Setup'. I must admit that the latter two options' similar names do cause a slight bit of confusion; if you're looking for a certain tool, it's guesswork in choosing the right one.
Basically, 'TV Setup' is the general menu that allows the viewer to tweak the picture and sound, to access the different 'Sources' (i.e. EXT-1, HDMI, DTV - Extension 1, HDMI port, Digital TV) and to access the general tools and additional features (i.e. the sleep timer, languages). 'Setup' allows one to access more in-depth tweaking, the 'Languages' (again!) and 'Installation'.
The menu, in general, is well organised and easy to use, though they may be a few areas that are slightly enigmatic without the manual to hand.
-== Additional Features ==-
One of my favourite additional features on this TV is the sleep timer. I often like to have the TV when I'm in bed, and when you think you're ready to sleep, you can set the TV to switch off whenever you want. The sleep timer is activated simply by pressing the 'Sleep' button situated on the right about half way down the remote - it's as simple as that! The sleep timer extends in 10-minute increments, and you can reach a maximum of 2 hours. After pressing 'Sleep' again, it will set the timer to 'Off'. I have found on a few occasions that when using the sleep timer, however, that I've woken up and found the standby light flickering - I'm not sure if that's a particularly bad thing, but it's not good!
The TV also includes a child lock, activated through the 'Menu' by means of a PIN number. To set the PIN number, one should consult the manual that comes with the television. Also included is a 'PIP', which doesn't seem to work for whatever reason (perhaps this would again require consultancy of the provided manual), though I've never needed to use one before (for those who are interested, the PIP provides a mini screen in the corner of your TV screen which can display a different channel to the one which you are watching on the main screen), and also audio description and subtitles in English only.
In summary, this television doesn't have a vast range of additional features on offer, and the sparseness of the remote control represents that - but who honestly uses every single one of their buttons on their remote? A very small percentage of you, I'm sure. I feel that although there aren't much 'extras' with this TV, what is provided is enough.
-== The Remote ==-
Just wanted to make a quick mention about the remote, as it's quite an odd one. Firstly, the number pad is different to the standard 3 digits-per-row arrangement - instead, there are two rows with numbers 1-4 and 5-8, and then 9 & 0 can be found below beside other buttons. It takes some getting used to. Also worth mentioning is that the remote isn't too cluttered with semi-unnecessary buttons. It is quite long and flat, and is relatively pleasing on the eye.
-== Further Pros and Cons ==-
There are a few other points that I'd like to raise that don't necessarily fit snugly into any of the above categories. Firstly, pro(s)...
I find the TV quite fast in many areas. I was surprised, as because I was buying fairly cheap, I felt that I would have to endure slight lag and general sluggishness, but I haven't, really. There are some slow areas, but generally, it is consistent. And now cons...
One thing I find very annoying is switching from 'Sources'. If I'm playing on my PS3, and decided that I then want to watch digital TV, you're required to turn the TV off and on again. If you don't, the picture will show before disappearing within 30 seconds, while the audio can still be heard. I've not found any other solution other than switching the darn thing off...
Another con is the default volume. I find that if it's slightly late at night, I'm stood with my face in front of the TV with the remote in my hand ready to press 'Mute' as soon as the screen lights up - and I don't always make it, which results in a very loud surge of volume before I furiously hit the 'V-' button. Saying that, it's quite loud even during daytime!
-== Conclusion ==-
In conclusion, this isn't a groundbreakingly fabulous piece of kit - for this great price, would you expect that? It isn't glamorous in its appearance, nor in what it has to offer. But it's a good TV - it does its job and doesn't have any particularly frustrating elements to it. Yes, okay there are a few cons, but they're not overriding I feel, bar the audio quality. If you're on a budget, I would absolutely recommend that you buy this television. It will look good in your room; it will show your favourite programmes and films and will provide you with a few extra bits! As aforementioned, I have owned this TV for only a little over a year, so do understand that I cannot comment greatly on longevity and endurance - but for the foreseeable future, I'm very happy with this television!
-== Final Word ==-
In writing such a long review, I wanted to provide a detailed account of my experience with this TV, alongside as many technical details as possible, so that if someone is looking to buy a TV, they can know most, if not all, details about this specific television. I hope it has helped you. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to send me a private message or leave a comment, and I will try to get back to you and answer your question as accurately as possible.
Summary: A good TV, especially for the budget price!
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