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Monday, March 06, 2006

Acer AT3201W - LCD TV

It may not be the first name to pop into your head when shopping for a TV, but Acer is, nonetheless, the first name – alphabetically speaking – in our HD group test.

Initially we were confused by the AT3201W, because it didn’t have the familiar ‘HD-ready’ logo on the set, the box or the accompanying literature. But the chaps at Acer have assured us that units should be shipping with the logo by the time you read this. The screen fits the bill in technical terms, with support for both the 720p and 1080i HD picture formats, and features component video and a digital high-def
connection that’s compatible with the HDCP copyright protection that many HD content providers will be using.

Curiously, however, the Acer is the only panel in the test to have a DVI-D connection rather than an HDMI socket. While both connections can transport a high-quality, high-definition picture digitally, only HDMI can also carry digital sound. So a separate, analogue cable would be required to connect high-def equipment to this set.

HDMI is clearly the de facto standard for the HD era and it’s a real shame Acer’s screen doesn’t feature it. There are, however, HDMI-to-DVI adapters available, and the AT 3201W would still be cheap if you added on the cost of one.

Worse, perhaps, is the picture quality. In our tests, we compared material from several
different HD and standard definition (SD) sources. While the AT3201W showed promise with true HD material, it was hard to address some issues, such as shimmering edges and motion blurring, by adjusting the picture
settings. But the Acer set isn’t entirely without merit. Detachable speakers are a bonus, for example, and its onscreen menus are easy to navigate. Its biggest selling point is perhaps its cost. With online prices starting at around £760, we might have been willing to overlook some of our quibbles with the AT3201W if it wasn’t for the awful racket that it makes. All LCD screens have small fans to keep them cool but, unless our review unit
was faulty, the AT3201W definitely gets the prize for having the noisiest fans on test.

[via: activehome]

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