*****WHAT MADE ME BUY THIS TELEVISION?*****
Last September before starting university my mum said she would buy me a cheapish television to have in my room at university. The first place we looked was Sainsburys just because we had seen advertised bonus nectar points when purchasing electrical items. When we got there a lot of the televisions also seemed to be discounted slightly too and I straight away saw this one. I said to my mum that it was perfect because it was not too expensive and had an integrated DVD player, iPod player as well as being HD ready. My mum was keen to look at other televisions but I was very happy with this one. We do not have the original receipt still to know the original price but according to my mum she remembers it being approximately £180.00 at the time which seems about right because it is on Amazon for £167.00 by one seller and £195.00 by another seller. However, since last year there is a newer version of it out (model 19/36) which is more widely available with an RRP of £319.00 but it is discounted 47% on Amazon so is £169.95. I think this must be because UMC is not a well known brand; other brands would come to mind when purchasing a television first. I cannot tell from the specifications specified on websites that sell the newer version what is different to the older version, everything seems to be the same. There are a couple of minor problems with my television which makes me think that perhaps some of the inner electrical makings of it has perhaps been improved if the problem I had (explained later in the review) was universal across all the televisions of the UMC M19/24A generation (also called just M19/24 by some retailers).
*****PRODUCT FEATURES AND INSTALLATION*****
The UMC M19/24A is a 19 inch model which was the perfect size for me at university. Like I previously said it is HD (high definition) Ready LCD screen with an integrated DVD player, also with an iPod dock to play music through and Freeview so I could just plug the TV in to the mains and it worked like clockwork. I did not have to do anything special to get the extra Freeview channels. So the installation was incredibly simple once I had taken the television out of its box... I did not need to read any instructions manuals which was probably a first for me.
The integrated DVD player can play many different formats including DVD, VCD, SVCD, CD, HDCD, MP3, Jpeg, CD-R/RW, and DVD-R/RW. However, I have only ever played the regular DVD, so whether it is unnecessary for it to have these different DVD settings I am unsure. But I suppose it means that photo DVDs can be put into the DVD player and displayed which is nice as well as CDs with MP3 songs on.
The iPod docking station was the winner for me of this television. When I am home from university I have a separate iPod docking station but with it integrated with the television it takes up less space on my desktop and looks nice too. What I love most about the iPod dock is that you can play it via the television screen by using the remote control (which unfortunately brings up a bright blue screen as the background to the television which does give me a slight headache) or you can opt to control it via the iPod and it then turns off the screen to just operate the speakers with the iPod which is quite clever. I always use the latter method. The speakers are quite impressive with the clear sound produced by them at quite a high volume. The iPod docking station is compatible with the old iPods generations 4 and 5, the newer iPod Nanos versions 1-4, iPod touch and iPod classic. So unfortunately it does not play the newest versions of iPod, however, I am sure the newer version of this television would cater for them since it was released only two months ago in accordance with the new iPods. Luckily for me I have the generation 4 iPod Nano so it works perfectly. The iPod dock also charges the iPod but I would not rely on it to act as your charger for it since this can unfortunately be a little temperamental.
The different connections which this television has at the back of it includes: scart, HDMI (perfect for games consoles), composite, single pc input as well as audio inputs and outputs. There is a power button on the back of the television but if you turn the television off by the remote it will stay on standby and this button will fully turn the television off. Then at the side of the television are just the regular buttons including channel change (up and down) as well as volume control buttons.
Another factor that I love about this television which I am sure also comes with all new televisions now is that it can act as your computer display monitor/screen. I often have my laptop out and have certain other cables hooked up to the television from my laptop, it enables me to then watch things like 4OD, ITV iplayer and Sky iplayer on a bigger screen to my laptop. In addition to this I use it as a computer screen when I have numerous documents opened for university, which means I do not have to keep clicking between screens. The first time I set it up to do this it was quite difficult but very easy the second time around. But of course in order to do this some separate cables need to be bought to enable this.
******A FEW PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED*****
For some reason it is quite temperamental. If I move the television just slightly it can switch off. This can be very annoying when I am moving it to do work when it is set up to act as a second computer screen and I lose what I have just set up. I think this is just a fault with mine though with the back socket cable, it never seemed to fit in properly from the beginning. However, this problem might have been universal, but I never complained about it. However, when this is not a problem the picture of the television is brilliant with 1440 x 900 resolution. This in my opinion is excellent resolution for a 19 inch television.
My other main disappointment is the complexity of the remote control. I am extremely capable of working a remote control and I do not have terrible eye sight but I find this particular remote quite difficult to use. Firstly the buttons have to be pressed quite hard and the remote has to be specifically pointed at the television. I know you obviously have to point the remote at the television like any other remote however, it has to be in the exact right position to take effect. It is a shame that the remote is a nuisance because I really do love so many aspects of this television and everything else is so incredibly simple to use. Perhaps in the newer generation of this television the remote has been updated, you never know!
*****MY OVERALL OPINION*****
Overall I am very impressed by this television as one for in my university room. I would say that with all the amazingly large sized televisions now at relatively cheap prices that this 19 inch would not be big enough for a relatively medium to large room. My room is extremely small so I do not have a problem with the size. However, I think overall the price reflects paying for the integrating DVD player and iPod dock so I would not recommend the television to somebody who would not use these added benefits because they would be better off buying a better overall television at a bigger size for the same price without these added benefits. If you like the sound of this television then I would look up the next generation of it (19/36) which came out in November 2010, the features and installation is much the same and it is virtually the same price as the generation of it that I had bought from last year which I have just reviewed. I think the main benefit of this television is how little space it takes up having the integrated DVD player and iPod dock. It is incredibly simple to use and it has brightened up my days at university stuck in such a small room.