* Prices may differ from that shown
This nice little LCD TV comes from Argos of all places but I'm sure it can be got in different places too. It a nice size at 16 inches and is perfect for a bed room or kitchen for example. It's a TV DVD combo this means there is an integrated DVD player built in to the TV itself. This can have it's ups and downs. The good side to having them in the one unit is that there is far less room needed no separate DVD player needing to be plugged in and a separate remote control. It's all in the one place the remote on this TV controls the DVD as well. The down side to this is that if the DVD jams or brakes down for some reason you lose your TV as well as it's getting repaired. There is a built in free view box in the TV.
I like this as it can pick up all my favorite channels. This of course depends on the free view signal in your area. The Resolution is 1,366 x 768 Pixels that means its HD ready not full HD but for the price and the size the fact that it's not full HD doest make much difference. There is a HDMI port on the TV this means you can have your sky box or games console or blue ray player connected. There is also a SCART for a DVD recorder or VCR if any one still uses them. Because of the built in DVD player you can also play Cd's and listen to them through the TVs speakers.
For the price of this TV £100 I don't think you can go wrong. The pictures good and the free view is a bonus
We decided to purchase a new tv for our son 13 months ago. We didn't want anthing bigger than 16" as our son is in what only can be described as the box bedroom. He is a typical lad in respect that he practically lives in his pit! He needed a tv that was compact and could be wall mounted but full of technology(more of the tecno in a bit.)We looked around different electrical shops then ended up at the good old faithful ARGOS where we knew we wouldn't be hassled. The picture quality is good aslong as you angle the tv to your view when laying down, as the horizontal position is a must for a pre-teen ha ha!
WE have had Alba electrical products numerous times in the past and we think they are value for money and would recommend this make and model (Quality goods for anybodies paypacket)
THE TECNO BIT
200 freeview channels (which my son says is "sick" and apparently means GOOD!)
1000 page text
HDMI input- right i'm informed that carries high quality digital pictures and sound for high def tvs
and also connects games consoles i.e xboxes, hd boxes and blue ray dvd players
(well i learn't something new there!)
NICAM digital stereo
Intergrated dvd player- side loading
Scart socket, that means the lead carries pictures,sounds and signals to other electricals i.e dvd players, set top boxes and digital recorders
Headphone socket,which is a must for any parent of pre-teen kids!
Remote control,long gone are the days of using legs to walk to change the channel over.
2X2.5 rms output,to be honest i was told this bit went straight over my head.
This snazzy little tv in my sons own words is "WICKED" (better than "sick")It's got all the bag of mashings that you really need in a tv. You will need a wall mount bracket with this, if you dont want to use the stand you can get them at argos, e-bay and most electrical stores. There roughly around the £25 mark or maybe a little cheaper. This tv is on e-bay at the moment for around £85 which i think is great value for money considering the gadgets built in with this model . I give this television 4/5
The time has come in my life to buy a television even though for most of the year I've not bothered to get one given that I can watch TV at the weekends if I visit my mums or use my laptop online. It was in the mornings that I realised how much I was missing television rather than listening to the radio as well as missing favourite shows on normal evening time television. Since the nights are now getting colder and the intention is to stay at home, I couldn't wait to buy a television to get me hooked and keep up to date instead of online viewing with programmes a week before. Until now it's been relatively easy to consider a television if not for the threat of the HD digital signal that was supposed to be coming in during June 2009. This means that for most owners who have existing sets already, if you don't have an HD ready TV you'll lose out on supposedly better quality viewing channels against the analogue signal your old set receives. This was one consideration I had to give, or more so for the fact that so many brands are pushing HD down the throats of buyers and no let up because of the advent of HD and the extra free channels that at one time in my life I used to sell when I worked for Sky! Luckily this TV also comes with Teletext so it's good to see Alba have retained something traditional and familiar.
Quite a few brands attracted me already and from a few reduced in price sets such as Samsung or Panasonic in lurid colours, it makes no difference to me what colour a television is made in these days - as long as it functions. After a lot of research and a lack of time against me due to the day job, I settled for Argos as the base high street shop for my purchase and came away with an Alba LCDW16DVDHDF television in black. At a cost price of £99 it was one of the cheapest LCD TVs on the market against Linsar who also make cheap LCD televisions sold at John Lewis (and John Lewis also lend their name to Linsar models at similarly cheap prices). Whilst I've never heard of Linsar, I've certainly heard of Alba, having been burnt in the past by their products from thin poor sound quality and cheap controls but as my mother remarked at the time, if this Alba doesn't work out I can move up to a bigger size in the future and either leave the TV behind or give her the Alba if she wants a smaller television to put in her guest room. Argos has since elevated the price to £119.99 and it is also available in pink. This is going to be one long review - but worth it - if you think there's a bargain to be had, here!
Before I get into specs and trying to elevate this product to a higher expectation that it deserves, one good aspect of this product is that it is quite light to carry and came out of the Argos warehouse with a handy grab handle already located on the box. It weighs around 4kg in the box and just under 4kg when all the packaging has been disregarded. Measuring 27cm by height, 38.5cm by length and just 12cm width the Alba LCDW16DVDHDF is quite a little compact television by size and when sited in my living room I began to realize how small it looked against everything else including my portable Panasonic CD/Stereo player sat underneath! Make no mistake about it; this is one very small television whilst the screen of 16 inches/40cm makes the instant purchase suddenly very disappointing. Argos also sell an optional wall mount for this TV as it can be wall mounted and there are corresponding hooks on the back for that cost optional accessory.
Included with the television is a remote control that has quite a few controls and you get 2 replacement "heavy duty," non-rechargeable AAA batteries to get you started. I've owned this TV for about three months now and the existing batteries are still functioning well even though there is no LED light on the control to show just how well they are doing (usually you can tell if the red LED is fading). It was at this point that when the Alba was first plugged in, I never really took notice of the right hand side of the television only taking into consideration the single scart point at the back, CI point and an auxiliary point, handy for putting the TV through a much more powerful amplifier. Then as I was going through the actual RCU unit I realized that secondary controls on the base part of the RCU referred to a DVD player and suddenly the slightly larger flush fitted partition at the side of the TV thus confirmed it! Ooh an immediate bonus since I don't have a DVD player anyway and up until now have only relied upon my laptop for DVD playback.
Once the Alba was switched on, I left the TV to its own devices since it has an auto tuning digital scan facility programmed to find channels and when it did, I was given a fairly average colour picture with a few fuzzy lines and what not. Nothing out of the ordinary but not what I expected from the kudos of a modern unit designed to give a much clearer digital picture than an old "traditional" television. Then I played about with the coaxial cable and this seemed to give a better picture than the initial fuzziness. After a few hours had passed I began to test out the features of the remote control and to be honest it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. There are quite a few view facilities on the Alba allowing you to view the screen in cinema, panoramic, closer ratios, and pillar-box or even zoom settings that you can automatically save. Nothing new there when it comes to digital TV but I was also surprised to find a graphic equalizer setting as well as 7 other pre-set sound settings that gave the Nicam 5 total watts Stereo speakers a good run in. For the most part although the "music" setting is bassy for example, it has a good contrast to tinny from its default setting and for an Alba, that's a most unexpected surprise. The only downside is that when you switch the TV back on the next time you want to view a programme, whatever tuning the Alba receives, it puts the programme in mono mode before changing to stereo and confirms this on the screen with a pop up window.
Despite the various screen zooms and placements there is an immediate downside when viewing - the clarity of the digital screen. No matter how many settings are in place it's just not possible to get a proper 3D image, so if you are sitting awkwardly at an angle viewing the screen, it is impossible to get all the bright colours unless you sit dead straight on towards the television. Colours that you could normally see on other televisions are hidden with black patches on the Alba unless you sit dead centre in front of it and the whole experience reminds me of those holographic pictures where they move when you view them from different angles. This is all down to the simple fact that not all LCD televisions are the same and in this respect the Alba plays the truth card well - it may be thin to look at and it may have an LCD screen - but if you want proper 3D quality, you have to look for a Plasma LCD TV - and this isn't one of them.
Another problem that compromises the television is the stand that the TV has i.e. it is permanently fixed, can't be angled, heightened or placed in any other position unless you physically move the TV with it. That's all very well given how light it is, but there is no further grab handle on the back of the television to make it portable for ease of grabbing to move it at a better angle for viewing, even though there is a clear space bang in the centre at the top rear where handle should be! The stand that is permanently bolted on the TV makes the design tilt a little forward and so far for height, I've put my Alba on a box with a tilt in it so it doesn't lean forward as much. How Alba could get away with putting such a cheap stand on this TV is beyond me though!
Where the DVD player is concerned, it is a basic player with no record feature and there are two simple buttons on the player itself to the side of the TV, play and stop/eject, which acts as a combination button. You'll need the RCU to get the more advanced features like menu and fast forward or rewind functions. DVD play seems to be variable however where the speed of play isn't brought into question and the user manual confirms that the player can handle DVD-R/RW, MP3 and DVD formats and in some cases I've also been able to play CD-R where movies have been recorded on. However the player can be slow to detect a disc in the first place and if it's not trackable the player can often go off on its own accord with messages on the screen such as "unknown disc," only for it to decide itself when the disc is ready to come out, no matter how many times I keep pressing the eject button manually. The player does support region 2, plays in two channel stereo format and is generally very quiet when operated.
Another downside to the Alba is the fact that whilst the sound settings are okay, the TV doesn't seem to generate enough volume and it lacks a proper on/off switch on the TV itself with only a standby function that is supposed to be economical and runs less than 1 watt when "switched off" via the remote control unit. When the volume is pushed all the way to the maximum, and depending on whichever preset setting you've saved on the TV, the speakers can vibrate somewhat dulling the experience of the actual sound setting in place. Thankfully though the Alba doesn't buzz when it's switched on and a normal volume setting is chosen.
When going through the help menu on the television, the Alba shows yellow writing on a blue background but for the most part the experience is very grainy and wobbly and you soon realize you don't want to be looking at the details long enough before becoming cross eyed!
A couple of days later into ownership of my new Alba TV I noticed that whilst some terrestrial channels were better than others, BBC1 which was one of the channels I viewed the most, suddenly had a terrible reception and I wondered if it was coaxial cable I had previously bought since you don't get one with the TV. Why do companies do this all the time of not including a coaxial cable? It smacks of pushing the buyer to buy yet more devices just to get the thing working and reminds me of a lot of printer companies that do the same when they don't include a PC cable! After playing about for a bit with the built in screen settings, the picture did improve but nothing like 100% when I first tried the television. Then I noticed a button on the RCU called "Source," of which, when pushed suddenly brought up Freeview! Ladies and gentlemen, from what had been in the first couple of days of grey colours to fuzzy lines suddenly changed into 100% clarity of colour, bright tones and hues, something I just never expected! Now with Freeview, the screen colours are just amazing and I didn't think for a moment that the Alba TV could get this even though it does have Freeview built into the system! Despite the clarity of 100% improvement however, the angled screen bugbears soon returned and reminded me of its lack of Plasma 3D. This made watching programs like CSI Miami or Star Trek Next Generation a little more difficult, since you'd have to angle the TV to your eyes or you'd miss the little features completely. Although the colours have improved drastically with the Freeview built into the Alba already, it's the constant angling of the television that makes ownership of this product a little annoying and according to Argos and the user manual, Freeview is additionally not available to view in Ireland.
Build quality is okay for the price but nothing unusual or cheap feeling apart from the black gloss trim that shows up the worst of finger marks and the bottom oval part of the TV stand. Although the main on control button is on the front and a smiley/curved blue LED light comes on to show the television is either on, or on standby there are no other controls apart from on the left hand side of the TV and do feel particularly cheap with their spongy single point controls for volume and channel hopping. Good to see Alba haven't changed in this area (not!) and even the controls on the RCU unit are better labeled and feel better to use. As a TV for children or teenagers, this isn't a bad deal here and there's a fairly long power cord attached.
Alba/Argos have a good design concept here in terms of offering buyers a cheap deal with a DVD and colour TV rolled into one. Tie in the HD ready promise, Freeview Digital Tuner built in as well as digital features of sound settings, viewing ratio settings and on top of that the extra versatility of additional devices around the back. But, in reality all of that at £99 to £120 in actual use starts to be overlooked when the angle of the screen has to be adjusted to get the perfect picture and if you're prepared to keep jumping up each time to adjust the screen's angle to avoid black or faded patches of the picture, then you may as well return to the old idea of using a television without a remote control. Save extra for a Plasma fitted screen to ensure 3D viewing for a warmer and more prolonged plonk in your favourite sofa! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2010
Full spec listing can be found at: