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Televisions. Everyone has at least seen one at sometime in their lives, with some people actually owning at least one in their homes, or if you're a politician then you've possibly got one in everyone of your homes.
But finding the right television for your house is in fact a bit of a task in its self, especially as there are just so many on the market these days, coming in all shapes and sizes, colours and fashions, with some costing the earth whilst others costing a lot less.
Sadly though, they just don't build televisions like they used to, ( I sound like my dad!), as I tend to find that some of these new televisions don't last as long as they should do, which tends to cost money every time in replacing them when they do break down.
So when the buying of a new television starts again it's back to the drawing board, or more to curry's or the like.
My latest television quest took me down the curry mile, (no not the one in Rusholme, I mean the name of the shop... although other shops do sell televisions as well, at reasonable prices too).
Anyway, the television I recently got my hands on was from a well known company called Toshiba, with the televisions full name being the 19BL502B, (which gives a bit of a clue as to what size television screen it is?).
In the box you should get
* The television, (obviously. If you are missing this then you need to get straight back to the shop where you got the box from as it is the television you actually paid for).
* Remote control
* Mains cable
* User guide
* 2 x AAA batteries for the remote.
Now let's get the boring specs out of the way with...
* It has a 19 inch screen offering a 1366 x 768 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
* It has built in FreeView and is also HD ready
* On screen display with Teletext and EPG
* It has two speakers which are Nicam digital stereo offering 12w
* Sleep timer
* Auto setup
* Parental lock
* On/off timer
* NTSC playback
As for the eco bits...
* It has an energy efficiency of B, which is not too bad really.
* It has a power consumption of 25watts per hour when switched on, with less than 0.5 watts per hour on standby.
Let's take a quick look at the television itself...
It's a slim looking set, with the entire unit measuring about 460mm wide by 340mm high and a mere 150mm deep, weighing in at about 3 ½ kilos.
From the front you can see that most of the front is covered by the LED screen itself, with a lovely black shiny frame around it to give the bright screen more class.
Below the screen is the remote sensor and a little light that tells you it is on standby. Plus the good old Toshiba logo, or more just the name is etched along the middle.
Turn the television around, (carefully), and you'll see a few other things, such as many slits in the plastic casing to allow for ventilation so that the interior workings remain cool. Then there's the many connector ports so that you can attach such things as DVD players/recorders, audio equipment, games systems and more.
Those connector ports are...
* Scart socket
* Optical terminal
* PC D
On the right sides of the television, looking at it from the rear, there are more holes and the like, all are meant to be there so don't worry. Those 'holes' are...
A USB input, a common interface, which is used for a CAM, (extra channels you have to pay for). Then lower down the side, there are ports for AV and headphones, with a menu control right at the bottom.
The menu control, which is a wheel really, gives you the option of scrolling through the settings and, when you get where you want to get, press the wheel to select that particular function... don't worry, it will all become as clear as mud once you've tried out the television.
The easy alternative to setting the television up is to use the simply to understand remote control, which I will go into later.
And that's really how it looks. It's a Sleek, shiny black plastic body with a screen that gives out a picture so good that you'll think you're looking out of a window.
Using it is a bit of a breeze, so to speak...
First thing I had to do was fit the stand, or pedestal as it's known in the trade. This is a matter of attaching it using the four screws supplied. Once it's done you can stand the television upright on a table.
Or alternatively you can have this mounted on a wall using a wall bracket, but make sure you use the right on. I think it is called a Vesa 75mm x 75mm bracket, which comes with the right screws to connect to the four screw holes on the rear of the television.
Once you've got it in position you then simply plug it into the mains, let it power up, then, on first use, you have to tune it in, which can take a bit of time but once done you don't have to do it again, (until the digital people tell you that they are changing channel numbers again and you have to retune). But either way, auto tuning does everything for you so there's no need to worry about getting the channels sorted.
Once tuned in and you have all the channels you're ready to watch what ever is on, (which is usually cooking, dancing, reality, singing or four silly women sat at a desk talking absolute nonsense about how men are all ogres and women should rule the world).
The remote control, (which I promised to go into a little bit), lets you set up the television and then takes full control of everything for you, so that you can sit in your armchair without lifting more than a finger.
I won't go into it too much as I could go on for a bit too long but I will say that the remote is well labelled with the buttons being marked clearly enough so that you wont get confused at all. It has the usual numbers 1 to 9 and a zero too. Then there's the other buttons that control everything else, from volume to channel switching, including mute, EPG to teletext, source to info and more.
The menu button, which is recognised by the word menu printed on it, takes you into the main functions of the television, allowing you to do things like tuning in the channels, changing the picture and sound effects and a lot more.
Again, it's all about trying it out rather than reading about what it can do. But once you've played about with it for a while you'll realise, like I did, just how simple it is to use.
In fact, that hardest thing about this remote is trying not to lose it as it is has a black plastic casing and is quite easy to lose, forgetting where you put it down. I've spent many hours searching for it, wishing that it had a little buzzer on it so that I could press a switch on the television and the buzzer would sound so that I could locate the damn thing, ( a bit like some of the cordless telephones have).
This is a cracking little television and it is ideal for the back room that I have it in, that room being about 10 x 9 foot and is used for 'chilling' out, mainly to get away from the kids, (the door having a big lock on it so I can hide away and watch my favourite shows in peace).
The screen is so clear I can almost believe I'm actually in the picture itself, almost. Although the clarity of the picture can be adjusted to your particular passion, be that movie, games or what ever you choose, the picture adjusts slightly so that it gives a better contrast.
And, with the HDMI, you can get an even clearer picture with devices such as a blu-ray player or anything posher, such as paid for HD channels.
It offers several screen modes, such as movie and game mode, so what ever you're watching or what ever you're doing, the picture can be made as perfect as possible for you.
Then there's the audio side of it, offering such settings as Movie, flat, classic and music, plus you can set your own choice in the 'user' settings.
This has what most modern televisions have, that being an Electronic program guide,(EPG) so you can see what's on the television for the week ahead, (forget the TV times, this has it all)
The built in freeview is like any other television of its kind and once tuned in there's lots of channels to choose from, both television and radio. It's just a shame that there's never anything on the television that's actually worth watching???
And with everything being control using the remote control you don't even have to get out of your seat, (unless you need the toilet of course as some people frown up on those that dampen their chairs through laziness).
The USB port lets me connect a memory stick so that I can see your images or what ever I have on the stick. Although I do have to say that a few of the flash drives/stick that I have pushed in haven't been recognised for some reason, but the ones that it does recognise I tend to stick with so that there's no confusion at all.
Or, if you really want to connect this to your PC then you can by the VGA port. Although I do have to admit that using this as a monitor, even after changing as many settings as I could on the television and the PC, gives and image on the screen that looks so strange indeed.
In other words, there's an attachment port for almost anything that you want to attach to this wonderful little view into the outside world of make believe.
I do have to mention that the single SCART socket was a bit of a hassle due to the fact that I have a couple of things that connected to it via a SCART lead, which meant that I either had to keep unplugging the lead on one to plug in the other one. So I decided to invest in a little black box that allowed me to plug multiple SCART leads into it and then plug the single lead direct into the single socket on the television. Job done. I don't even have to press any buttons on anything as it automatically switches to which ever one is switched on. All I have to remember is to switch the others off otherwise it gets a bit confused.
Also, I like the fact that there is a rather lovely little strap that came in the box, which confused me for a while as I wondered what it was for. Then, after kicking myself, and falling over as I lost my balance. I realised that it was so that I could strap the television down so that it didn't fall over if knocked.
This strap attaches to the back of the stand/pedestal, then, as long as you have a wooden base to stand your television on, you screw the other end to the stand. This then stops the television slipping off the surface it is resting on.
Simple, yet very effective. Plus it remains out of sight, which is nice.
So now for the price of this 19inch crystal clear viewing pleasure?
Well, this is the best bit. This television sells for about £100...
Yes, that's all, a hundred quid, or there abouts, which is great value for a television of this quality.
I mean, at that price you can't go wrong can you? I didn't mind paying just under £100 for this, even if the wife claims I'm that tight with money that I'm known to switch the gas off on the grill when I turn the bacon over???!!!
So, if you can get this for a ton or less then don't let it pass you by as you may well regret it. And with the big day just around the corner it might just make a great present for your nearest and dearest.