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I've been after an LCD TV for a while now. I got sick of my old TV, it was a CRT (cathode ray tube) - which means it was big, bulky, heavy and took up way too room in my flat. After researching into the types of LCD TVs I could get, I decided I wanted one that had freeview (comes as standard these days), so I could get rid of my freeview box. As well as one with a built in DVD player, as I could save even more space! Size wasn't really that important for me (gasp), I didn't want a massive one (double gasp) but would be happy with a reasonable 22inch set. After a shufty in the book of dreams (also know as the Argos catalogue) I found a few that I was interested in, going for a very good price. After reading some reviews, I was going to plump for the brand 'Acoustic Solutions', but alas, the book of dreams didn't come through - or rather their warehouse stock levels didn't come through. I was torn between other brands, but went for the Bush (triple gasp) after reading a review that said it was good.
So...after bringing home my very light box full of Bush TVness, with a rather snazzy carry handle and weighing a cool 7.5kg, I popped it out of it's box and started getting set up.
What's in the box:
A flat screen TV (...phew) wrapped in plastic, a remote control, batteries, an audio cable (which I haven't found any use for, unless some can enlighten me?), an instruction manual and a quick set up instruction manual...as well as muchos polystyrene and polystyrene crumbs.
My first reaction was how smart it looked, considering it isn't all black and glossy (a la sexy Samsung). Along the bottom of the TV is a silver strip, which looks after the speakers. I quite like that the speakers are on the bottom, as it means the TV isn't too wide. There was also a sheet of plastic covering the TV to prevent from scratched, which I liked, as well as stickers pointing to the on/off switch on the side - handy I thought.
This was the first time I had set up a digital TV and I'm pleased to report it was relatively straight forward, although mine didn't start in quite the same way as the manual suggested that it would. I ended up on the wrong screens (I did EXACTLY what it said, I would like to point out) meaning I had to press a few buttons and start again. Other than that, it was fine, makes a change from having to tune in channels like back in the day. Although, the TV denied all knowledge of there being any BBC channels, until I moved it very close to the window and shouted at it lots.
This is my biggest gripe with the TV. No matter what I do to the image settings, I can't get the colours to look right. The colours look somehow solarised and blocky, and everyone's mid skin tone makes them look like they have sun burn.
Also, I've noticed that the colour alters if you are angled so that your eye-level is below the TV. For example, if you sit with the TV directly in front of you, the colours generally look acceptable (apart from everyone looking like rejects from 'Eldorado'), but if you lower yourself, so that you look up to the screen, the image gets darker. So, I can't imagine this TV being that great to have mounted up on a wall.
There is something arachaic about the function settings too. The general 'volume' and 'settings' features look like they were designed on an old BBC computer...nice (not)!
I'm not sure why, but the sound just doesn't feel as 'full' as my CRT, which I thought was odd, considering it's supposed to be an upgrade of machine technology. Having said that, it's not completely unsatisfactory. It's not incredibly loud either, even when up to it's loudest setting. I should also point out that I've found the sound to distort and resonate somewhat, when turned up too much (urgh). The sound is nicam, so I see no reason to be too terribly upset with that.
Now call me old fashioned, but if you boast having a TV set with an EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), then you should be able to find out what's on TV for the rest of the day. Sadly not. The EPG here is pretty crappy, as it only tells you what's on next (unless I'm missing something). It's only saving grace it that the display looks quite nice. The colour scheme is kind of purply and unoffensive. But in terms of being a useful addition to the TV, I'd suggest hooking a better make of Freeview player.
The first thing to point out, is that the DVDs goes in on the right hand side of the TV as you look at it, not on the left, as every catalogue shows. So, you can't put the TV up against a wall on that side, unless you twist it round to put in a DVD. One of my biggest annoyances with DVD players, is not having a digital display to tell you how far in you are you, into your DVD, as I like to know how long my DVD has been playing for, so I can work out how long is left etc. And what do we have here...no obvious display! But hurrah, after pressing a few buttons, you can find a way for information to pop up on the screen.
Another thing that I don't like about the DVD function is that it's noisy. Even when you turned the TV on, it starts growling. Then when you actually use it, it growls even more. It's rather like a petulant child in that manner, even wanting attention when you are trying to watch something, it hums throughout, almost like a little cricket chirruping and spoiling your viewing pleasure. Rubbish!
The remote came with batteries (2 x AA) - hurrah! What I love about this TV combo, is that there is only one remote, but at the same time, what I loathe about it, is it's ridiculous amount of buttons, that double up for different features depending on whether or not you are watching a DVD or TV. I'm still not sure if I've got my head round it. My biggest gripe is that there are two sets of up, down, left, right buttons, with an enter/menu/play button in the centre. The top set is for your TV and general picture quality control, changing channels and volume etc, and the bottom set is for the DVD side of things. Sounds fine from the outset...but once you have a DVD in, and you start watching, if you accidentally use the wrong arrows and enter button (the ones at the top, for the TV), then the DVD stops and switches over to the TV. Then, when you go back to the DVD, it starts all over again, as if you've just put the DVD in for the first time...so what's wrong with that, I hear you cry. Well, it means you have to sit through the DVD piracy warnings, copyright pages and film distributor clips...all because you accidentally pressed the wrong set of buttons. I did this by mistake twice, and let me tell you, it was BLOODY annoying, as not only was I forced to sit through about 5 minutes of crappy DVD intros, but then I had to find where I left off in the DVD itself. Another thing that really annoys me about the remote, is that the numbers for channel changing go from 1-4, then 5-8 on the next row. I have no idea why they didn't follow the generic pattern of 1-3, then 4-6 etc, like all regular phones and calculators? Imbeciles! Other than that, I wouldn't say the remote is too ugly, but it doesn't make me say 'wow, sexy' either...infact I'd just say 'meh'.
I'm not sure how most LCD TVs come boxed up, but this one comes fixed on a stand, but it can be removed and switched for a wall mountable fixing, but the latter option isn't included. It's also handy to know that you can switch off the TV completely on the unit, so there's no LED light on constantly eating into your electricity bill, if you left the power on at the mains.
Also there are buttons that run along the top of the TV allowing you change channel and volume without needing the remote. There is also a headphone socket and S-Video socket (not really sure what that does). All in all, it does look smart...it's just crap at doing it's job.
Not being one for lists in the reviews, but I think this is handy to know:
* High Definition Ready.
* 22in (56cm) widescreen TV with 56cm visible screen size.
* Resolution 1680 x 1050 pixels.
* Brightness 300cd/m2.
* Contrast ratio 1000:1.
* Viewing angle 160/160 degrees.
* 1 HDMI sockets.
* 1 SCART sockets
* PC Input socket..
* 70w RMS power output.
* Child lock.
* 230v AC mains operated.
* Size of TV (H)42.0, (W)45.6 (D)12cm.
* Size of TV with stand (H)54.7, (W)45.6, (D)19cm.
* Weight of TV 5.95kg.
* Weight of TV and stand 6.2kg.
At the time of purchase (March'09) the combo cost me £195, which for all it's faults, still isn't a bad price (STOP PRESS: The book of dreams has lowered the cost even more now, probably because it's so crap). This unit might be more suited for a second TV for the bedroom perhaps. But for the main TV in the house, it's more worthwhile spending a bit extra. I've given the TV 2 stars, as whilst personally, I don't think it's that great, I think it has its uses and it's probably rather good value for some people. But not me, after living with it for two weeks I have returned it to holy catalogue company and upgraded to a better TV (he says)...stay tuned (pun intended) for that review (if I can be bothered).
Thanks for reading :)
© MarcoG 2009