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GROUP TEST

 

25-INCH TVS

 

INTRO

Thinking of buying a new TV? Hang on, aren’t we about to go digital? Don’t Panic! Rick ‘Mystic’ Maybury looks at what the future might hold, and says if you wan’t it, buy it!

 

COPY -- PART 1

The UK media has been getting itself into a right old tizz about digital television. So what’s all the fuss about? Are you going to have to junk your six-month old TV? Should you put off buying a new set? When is it going to happen, how much is it all going to cost, and will it be worth it?

 

Plenty of questions, but so far very few answers. So let’s start at the beginning. What is digital television?  Picture and sound information on the analogue PAL system uses signals made up of constantly changing waveforms, that vary in both amplitude and frequency. In digital television pictures and sounds are represented by a stream of numbers, formed using binary digits or ‘bits’, single pieces of data, denoted by a ‘1’ or a ‘0’. (Incidentally, analogue TV uses some digital technology, NICAM stereo sound is digital, and most modern TVs employ digital video processing microchips).

 

Digital broadcasting has a number of advantages.  The signal is made up from a series of rapid, uniform pulses, so it uses up less space in the crowded UHF band, freeing up space for more channels. A dozen or more digital TV channels can be slotted into the bandwidth used by one analogue station. The numbers look even better on hugely expensive satellite broadcasting systems, up from around 20 analogue stations per satellite, to more than 200 digital channels. It sounds a lot but many of those channels will be used for subscription services like Video Nearly On Demand or VNOD. (VNOD is where the same movie is transmitted over and again across ten channels, say, with the start times staggered, so a subscriber never has to wait more than a few minutes, to see it from the beginning.)

 

Digital signals are less affected by noise and interference, moreover lost or corrupted data can be recovered by the decoder. It’s also very versatile; programmes can be transmitted in a widescreen format, set-top decoders and TVs automatically select the right screen shape for the TV in use. Digital TV can accommodate multiple CD quality sound channels, and there’s plans for high-speed data pathways, for Internet style information, tele-shopping and on-line banking services.

 

However, the most persuasive arguments for digital TV --  especially for broadcasters and bean-counters  -- is the greatly increased channel capacity, and conditional access. This is how broadcasters control who watches their services, and extract payment from subscribers. Conditional access has been behind much of the controversy surrounding the new technology. Digital broadcasts from satellites are due to begin later this year, at least six months ahead of planned terrestrial services. Everyone agrees that consumers will not willingly stump up for two decoder boxes, so the first into the market has a distinct advantage. That has put BSKYB in a powerful position as their digital satellite decoder would, by default, become the ‘gateway’, for terrestrial broadcasters, who have no choice but to use it,  (much to the consternation of the non Rupert Murdoch owned media establishment).

 

Within the past few weeks it has emerged that British Digital Broadcasting (BDB), a consortium that includes BSKYB, Carlton TV, Granada and with the public blessing of the BBC, are leading contenders in the bidding for terrestrial digital TV franchises or ‘multiplexes’ (groups of channels). This deft move by BSKYB will give them a strong foothold in terrestrial digital broadcasting, and the astute alliances with leading terrestrial broadcasters deflects earlier misgivings about their role as the gatekeeper.

 

How will you get digital TV?  There are three methods. Digital broadcasts to the UK, from orbiting satellites are due to begin later this year. The satellites are in a different position to the existing Astra fleet, so you will need a new dish, or one that can be moved, and a new receiver-decoder box. It will connect to your existing TV in the same way as an analogue satellite receiver, though it’s unlikely the new receivers will have the option of an aerial or RF bypass, the AV output will feed directly to the TV using a SCART lead.

 

Terrestrial digital TV broadcasting is due to start in mid 1998, channels will be received using existing rooftop aerials. The signals are fed to a set-top decoder box. At the moment it’s unclear whether or not this will be the same receiver-decoder used for digital satellite; there may be a separate terrestrial-only decoder. The box connects to the TV in the same way, though.

 

The third delivery method is cable, though few existing cable TV networks have the capacity to handle digital signals. Digital TV can also be sent down telephone wires, even electricity supply cables; several pilot schemes are underway, as we speak. Cable distribution has other advantages, including a fixed two-way link to the broadcaster, for interactive services. The cable infrastructure in this country is still quite small. It remains to be seen what effect digital broadcasting will have on cable, however, it’s notable that several cable companies share prices took a tumble following the recent announcements about UK terrestrial digital broadcasting.

 

There’s a good chance digital decoders will have a built-in telephone modem. This would have a number of uses.  It would simplify pay-to-view services; just press a button and the box dials up the subscription centre or your bank, to authorise or transfer payment. It could also be used for tele-shopping, and there are plans for a high-speed Internet connections. The viewers request for information is sent down the phone, but the data is sent back to the TV via a digital broadcast channel, in a fraction of the time it takes over a normal telephone link. 

 

The first generation of digital decoder boxes will be designed to work with analogue televisions, both conventional 4:3 models, and widescreen sets. Eventually however, decoder circuitry will be built into the TV, (and VCRs or more likely, recordable DVD decks). That means you can hang on to your present TV, or buy a new one, confident that it’s not going to be rendered obsolete, at least not within its normal working life of eight to ten years.  Analogue broadcasts will probably continue for at least another decade, so there’s no hurry. 

 

As far as most viewers will be concerned, digital TV picture will look little different to existing analogue television, in the early years at least. There will be more channels, and a lot of programmes will be broadcast in a widescreen format, but actual picture quality will remain pretty much the same. The image will still be made up from 625 lines, using the PAL colour system, so any talk of higher definition pictures at this stage of the game is nonsense. Those living in fringe reception areas might see some improvement though, with a clearer sharper picture, digital signals travel better and are inherently more robust.  

 

Some aspects of digital TV may take some getting used to. Finding out what’s on will be one of them. Printed programme guides for 200 or more channels would be unfeasibly large, so broadcasters are working hard to develop Electronic Programme Guides or EPGs. It’s going to be like a fast, interactive teletext system, that you can program to search out the kind of shows and movies you enjoy. It will then tell you what’s on, and when, and remind your to watch it, or even change channel for you at the appointed times.

 

But what will there be to see, apart from pay-to-view sports and a load more subscription movies? Terrestrial digital multiplexes will include all five existing channels, and if BDB gets the go-ahead, the channel line-up could look quite similar to what’s already available from satellite. The BBC have said they’ll be contributing 24-hour news, archive ‘classic’ or ‘gold’ and MTV type channels. Satellite digital channels will also look similar to what’s already available, but there will be extra VNOD movie channels and it’s likely they’ll go into interactive on-line interactive services in a big way .

 

Set-top decoders are expected to cost between £200 and £300; they will be subsidised, the true cost of manufacturing the hardware in the early days will be closer to £500. Existing terrestrial channels will be free to view, subscriptions and pay-to-view charges should be in line with present satellite subscription charges, which are between £10 and £30 per month.

 

If you’re still undecided about whether or not to buy a new TV now, or wait, consider this. The first satellite digital broadcasts aren’t due to begin until later this year; digital decoder boxes should make it into the shop by Christmas. The first TVs with built-in decoders probably won’t appear until after terrestrial services are up and running, which takes us to 1999; You can bet your boots they’ll be expensive too, do you really want to wait that long?

 

With several technical issues still to be resolved, there’s no such thing as ‘digital ready’ TV right now, but there are some features you should be looking out for, if you want to make the transition as painless as possible. A 16:9 display should be high on your list, to take advantage of the high proportion of widescreen programming, that will be available from the new channels. Even after broadcasting has started you’ll still need to connect your TV to analogue sources, like a VCR, so digital noise reduction and 100Hz display, picture processing circuitry will still be relevant, as will convenience features like picture-in-picture. If you want fuss-free surround sound then Dolby Pro Logic surround sound is, and will continue to be the only way to go, but the overall message is simple. Digital is coming, but don’t let that deflect you from buying a new TV now, and you should still buy the biggest, widest and most sophisticated TV you and your bank manager can live with.

 

BOX COPY  1

DIGITAL TV -- AT A GLANCE

 

* More channels, more choice, more expense...

 

* Picture quality should improve for those in poor reception areas

 

* Widescreen programming is a major bonus

 

* Digital sound should be good too, though if you’re already used to NICAM and Dolby Surround it’ll hold few surprises

 

* Watch out for a whole host of new money-spending opportunities as on-line teleshopping gets a grip on our credit cards...           

 

BOX COPY 2

WHAT’S ON DIGITAL TONIGHT?

Surely with a score or more terrestrial digital channels there’s always going to be something new and worth watching on the box, you would have thought so...

 

British Digital Broadcasting, bidders for the premiere UK digital multiplex are promising the same kind of mix of material that’s already available from satellite, namely more movies, sport, archives and cartoons. Details are still very sketchy but you can draw your own conclusions from what old favoutites you’re likely to see  on ‘The Knowledge Channel’, ‘Animal Planet’, ‘Carlton’ Select, and good old Cartoon Network; maybe there will be some up to date discussions about EU monetary integration on ‘The Money Channel’, we can but hope.

 

Genuinely new documentary and drama material is going to be rather thin on the ground, for the simple reason that making quality television programmes is an expensive business. The huge costs can be justifed for mainstream channels with audiences running into millions, and secure advertising revenues, but it will take some years for audience numbers to build up on the digital channels. Consequently, broadcasters will depend to large extent on cheaper sources of material, studio chatter or self-financing subscription and pay-to-view services. More doesn’t necessarily mean better...

 

BOX COPY 3

BUYING A TV

* Put widescreen models at the top of your list, but only sets with screen sizes of 28 inches or larger.

 

* Dolby Pro Logic is worth having if you’re not planning to go the home cinema route with hi-fi separates or a surround sound AV system

 

* Sockets, and the more the merrier! You will need at least 2 SCART AV connectors on the back, front AV sockets are handy too, provision for S-Video (Y/C) inputs is a good idea, especially if you have a high-band camcorder, or maybe one of the new digital machines. TV speakers are often quite nasty, sets with sockets for external speakers always earn extra brownie points

 

* Try to see as my TVs as you can, watch out for wacky designs that date quickly, you’re going to have to live with it for several years

 

* Integrated remotes are a good idea, it’s worth considering getting the same make of TV as your VCR; same-make systems often work better

 

PART 2.

THE TESTS

 

Hitachi C2546TN, £450

With so many highly-featured televisions on the market it’s easy to loose sight of the fact that there’s still a steady demand for uncomplicated TVs, that have no special functions, gimmicks or high-tech facilities, other than those needed to receive terrestrial TV broadcasts. The Hitachi C2546 does just that, with the added refinements of NICAM stereo sound and fastext, which most people regard as basic necessities nowadays. The only extra convenience features are a set of front-mounted AV sockets, which includes an S-Video input, and a simple on/off timer. The C2546 looks very similar to some of Hitachi’s more up-market home cinema models, though the angular shape is beginning to look a little dated now, most other manufacturers have adopted softer, more rounded styling cues.

 

Strangely, for a TV that we assume is meant to appeal to technophobes and those seeking the simple life, the 2346 has a quaintly old-fashioned semi-automatic tuning system. It fires up as soon as the TV is plugged in for the first time, which is helpful, but from there on in the user has to manually allocate channel numbers and set the sweep search mode. The on-screen displays are crude, there’s no central menu, they just appear in response to commands from the remote handset. There’s only a handful of user-adjustments for picture and sound; changing values are shown by colour-coded graphical bar-graphs.

 

The black matrix tube has very reasonable contrast, colour registration and picture linearity are spot-on. Resolution is good and there’s very little noise in the picture, with a good signal. Technically there’s little to complain about, though the picture sometime seems a little flat; it doesn’t leap out of the screen at you, like some of the other sets in this round-up. The sound system makes up for some of the missing drama; it has a 2 x 10 watts (RMS) amplifier, and the widely spaced, forward-firing speakers create a small but well defined sound-stage. It could do with a little more bass, but overall it sounds quite lively. AV performance is okay, and the low price makes up for the lack of sparkle; worth considering, if you want to keep things simple.

 

Features            NICAM, fastext with 3 page number memory, semi-auto tuning, on/off timer, pseudo stereo & stereo wide

Sockets            2 x SCART AV, front AV (phono & mini DIN)

Hitachi Home Electronics, telephone  0181-849 2000

 

Picture Quality            ***

Sound Quality            ***

Ease of Use                ****

Features                     ***

Value for money ****

 

 

Mitsubishi CT25AV1BD £650, ****

When it comes to performance and reliability, usually you can’t go too far wrong with Mitsubishi TVs.  They’re good value too, particularly when -- like this model -- they’re loaded with top-end features. The CT25AV1BD is one of the smallest sets on the market to have Dolby Pro Logic sound; normally we associate surround sound with larger home cinema TVs, but for those with smaller rooms, where extra boxes, wires and speakers are even more inconvenient, this is ideal.

 

The cosmetics are plain, the gently curved slate-grey cabinet lines are carried over onto the console stand. This also houses the centre-channel speaker, and there’s room below for a VCR and satellite receiver. Tuning, channel sort and ident are all fully automatic. Everything is controlled from a comprehensive menu-driven on-screen displays. There are three AV memories that store user-set picture and sound values adjustments, in addition to the usual brightness, contrast and colour saturation settings there are sharpness, temperature (warm red or cool blue), and tint functions, the latter used for NTSC material. Audio options include bass and treble, plus loudness, and hypersound extended bass. There a set of digitally processed surround modes in addition to DPL, they are theatre, concert hall, stadium, cathedral and disco, handy for cheering up otherwise flat stereo material. Other bits and bobs worth a mention are automatic subtitling, when sound is muted, 16:9 display, NTSC/SECAM compatibility, 90-minute off timer,  7-page text memory and integrated remote handset (with Mitsubishi VCRs).

 

Sensitivity is impressive, our sample managed to pull in more than half a dozen channels using just a set-top antenna. The black tint screen delivers a crisply detailed picture, with good dynamic range; colour fidelity and registration are both fine and noise levels are very low. The internal speakers produce a fairly cramped soundstage, they have a solid mid-range and treble response but bass lacks depth. DPL resolution is good though the back speakers could do with a bit more power; front-rear balance takes a lot of fiddling.

 

A very likeable set, with better than average performance, for those who lack the space for a large-screen TV, but don't want to miss out on the home cinema experience.

 

Features            Dolby Pro Logic, NICAM, auto set-up, fastext with 7-page memory, auto subtitling, 3 AV memories, DSP sound, off timer, TV/VCR remote handset, NTSC & SECAM replay (on AV inputs), 16:9 display mode

Sockets            2 x SCART AV, external speakers (spring terminal and DIN), headphone (minijack)

Mitsubishi Electric UK.,  telephone (01707) 276100

 

Picture Quality            ****

Sound Quality            ****

Ease of Use                ****

Features                     ****

Value for money ****

 

Samsung CI-5944, £450    ****

The technology gap, that used to exist between Korean consumer electronics manufacturers like Samsung, and the top European and Japanese brands, has all but evaporated. Nevertheless Samsung have sought to maintain their value for money reputation on the CI-5944. It’s in the same price bracket as budget 25-inchers from other companies, but the feature list reads more like a mid-range model. Styling is bang up to date, in fact the only minor difference between this TV -- which is built in the UK -- and some recent arrivals is the screen, which doesn’t seem to be quite as flat, or as black as some competitors tubes.

 

Installation and tuning are perfectly straightforward. Auto tuning seeks out local stations, though it doesn’t put the channels into a logical order, that has to be done manually. The menu control system is easy to navigate, and there’s a rudimentary ‘help’ facility, that provides simple on-screen explanations for some functions. It has an impressive array of picture facilities, with five pre-selectable modes, tailored to suit different sorts of material (standard, dynamic, mild, movie and custom or user-set). There’s a choice of display modes as well, with 4:3, 16:9 and zoom. In addition to bass, treble and balance there’s five pre-set equaliser settings (normal, custom, music, movies and speech). The fastext decoder has a four page memory; it has a sleep timer, there’s a headphone socket and AV connection on the front panel.

 

Picture quality is fine, though the dynamic range is not quite as wide as some sets we’ve seen lately, resulting at times in slightly greyish-looking blacks. Colours are reasonably crisp but our sample had a very slight red-bias, which made the picture look a touch warm. Resolution is about average, it helps to have the picture sharpness control towards the top end of its range. The front-facing speakers are powered by a 2 x 10 watt (RMS) amplifier, so they’re plenty loud, the stereo image isn’t too bad either, but there’s a distinct shortage of bass. In spite of some very minor shortcomings in the picture and sound department the 5944 is well-appointed and very good value for money. Definitely worth thinking about.

 

Features             NICAM, auto set-up, fastext with 4-page memory, 4-picture presets, 16:9 display mode, 5 audio modes, sleep timer, NTSC replay

Sockets            2 x SCART AV, front AV (phono), headphone (minijack)

Samsung UK Ltd., telephone  0181-391 0168

 

Picture Quality            ***

Sound Quality            ***

Ease of Use                ****

Features                     ****

Value for money ****

 

 

Sharp 59CS-05H, £530, ****

Following the success of JVCs 3D Phonic televisions there’s been a flurry of TVs with two-speaker ‘surround’ systems, including this one from Sharp. It’s one of a range of sets that use SRS (sound retrieval system) technology, to create a room-filling three-dimensional sound effect, using a variety of psychoacoustical tricks. Dolby Pro Logic it ‘aint, but for those looking for a livelier, more involving sound, without the extra speakers and wires, it’s a fair compromise. The CS-05H has plenty of other attractions, including a rather eye-catching cabinet design, that also makes the set look surprisingly slim

 

Tuning is fully automatic, and channels are stored in the conventional order. The on-screen graphics are excellent; they’re based on a sort of stylised computer display, with menus and indicators dropping down and popping up. It’s very easy to use, and fun to play with. Fastext is even better, in addition to normal full-screen displays, there’s a half-page option, with a vertically compressed -- but still readable -- pack of text emerging from the side of the screen. There’s also a neat double page index display, it makes teletext surfing a whole lot easier, and the huge 44 page number memory comes in handy for storing favourite pages. There’s more, the CS-05 also has an auto subtitling option, which calls up the subtitles for that channel, without having to worry about page numbers. All picture parameters can be adjusted manually, though there’s an AI (artificial intelligence) picture system, that sets brightness and contrast according to ambient lighting levels.

 

It’s a clever idea, but the AI picture control on our sample somehow never seemed to get it quite right, manual adjustment is far more satisfactory and it’s possible to get a very good looking picture. Resolution and contrast are better than average, colours look bright and lifelike and with a good aerial there’s negligible noise. We’ve got mixed feelings about SRS, it can work well, though much depends on the source material. It seems to fare better with movies, that have heavily engineered soundtracks, plain vocals can sometimes sound strange though, it left Michael Fish sounding mildly asthmatic. The good points easily outweigh the gripes though, and this is a very likeable set, definitely worth shortlisting.

 

Features            NICAM, SRS 3D sound, AI picture control, fastext with 44-page memory and half screen display (see text), auto installation, on-off timer, child lock, auto subtitling, 

Sockets            2 x SCART AV, front AV (phono), headphone (minijack)

Sharp UK Ltd., telephone  0161-205 2333

 

 

Picture Quality            ****

Sound Quality            ****

Ease of Use                ****

Features                     *****

Value for money ***** 

 

 

Sony KV-25F1U, £600, ****

For as long as anyone here cares to remember Sony’s Trinitron tubes have set the benchmark in picture tube technology. The tradition continues on the KV-25F1, a mid-range NICAM set that shares a similar set of specification to their top of the line home cinema sets. The shape is quite arresting, Sony have bucked the trend for wide, slim soft profiles and gone for a tall, boxy upright shape; it can be an acquired taste and may take some getting used to. The remote handset is equally radical, instead of the usual rows of buttons they’ve devised a sort of round colour-coded ‘joystick’ for fastext and menu controls. 

 

The on-screen display system is excellent, with computer style graphics clearly presenting all of the options. This model has a modest but useful assortment of convenience features, which includes auto tuning and station sorting, five preset picture settings, optimised for movies, video games, sports and live programmes, plus one user-set mode. There’s an auto picture control system, that adjusts brightness, contrast and colour to suit room lighting conditions, and a switchable 16:9 display Audio options cover manual bass and treble, three pre-set equaliser settings, for rock, jazz and pop material, bass boost and a spatial sound effect. A parental lock is available, to restrict access to any channel, though it’s unlikely to defeat anyone older than around three years old, with access to the remote control.

 

There’s a perceptible increase in the depth of the image on this screen. Resolution and dynamic range are both better than average, and picture noise levels are very low. Colours jump off the screen, they have an almost luminous quality, in short the picture is outstanding. The speakers live below the screen and the stereo image, such as it is, collapses further than a metre or so in front of TV. The spatial effect makes it far too wide and it sounds unnatural. Bass content is limited and despite much fiddling around it never really manages to do full justice to the picture on the screen. We can’t fault the picture, the sound and shape we could just about live with, but the price is a bit steep, even for a Sony...

 

Features            NICAM, auto tuning, fastext with 10 page number memory, IQ auto picture control, parental lock, sleep timer, 16:9 display mode, 3-mode equaliser and spatial sound

Sockets            2 x SCART AV, front AV (phono & mini DIN), headphone (minijack)

Sony UK Ltd., telephone (01932) 816000

 

Picture Quality            *****

Sound Quality            ***

Ease of Use                ****

Features                     ****

Value for money ***

 

Toshiba 2563DB, £550 ****

If you like your TVs simple and to the point then the 2563DB should be right up your street. Toshiba can turn their hands to the fancy stuff with the best of them, but they’ve not lost sight of the fact that there’s still plenty of consumers, who don’t want lots of bells and whistles. Toshiba assume -- probably quite rightly -- that they’re also the kind of people who shy away from radical styling, so the 2563 will sit unobtrusively in the corner, and can blend in easily with most types of modern and traditional decor.

 

That’s not meant to suggest the 2563 is basic, far from it, but from the owner’s point of view all the technology is hidden away behind clear, easy to follow on-screen displays. This includes the auto set-up routine, which takes just a couple of minutes to sort out all the locally available stations. There are very few user adjustments, picture controls are confined to contrast, brightness and colour, and the sound options are volume, bass, treble and balance. Apart from NICAM sound, the only vaguely luxurious features are an off-timer, and switchable 16:9 display and variable aspect ratio teletext display.

 

This TV’s accessible image take a bit of a battering when it comes to the remote control handset. It’s small -- just the right size to slip down the sides of cushions -- and the 38 identically shaped buttons are almost impossible to distinguish from one another in normal living room lighting levels. Build quality is generally good, though the cabinet’s top panel feels a bit thin and flexes alarmingly. The 2563 makes up for the niggles with outstanding picture quality. It’s pin-sharp, verging on the harsh at times (a softener or sharpness control would have been welcome), but at normal viewing distances it looks superb. Whites are vibrant, colours are crisp and there’s negligible noise. The stereo image is fairly shallow and bass is bit thin but there’s bags of volume. A touch pricey maybe but you’re paying for performance and ease of use.

 

Features            NICAM, fastext, auto tuning, 16:9 display, off timer

Sockets            2 x SCART AV, front AV (phono), headphone (minijack)

Toshiba UK Ltd., telephone (01276) 62222

 

Picture Quality            *****

Sound Quality            ****

Ease of Use                ***

Features                     ***

Value for money ***

 

CONCLUSION

Six very different TVs, that broadly illustrate what’s available in the 25-inch NICAM TV market. There’s not a lot to choose between the two budget-priced sets from Hitachi and Samsung when it comes to picture quality. The sound system on the C2546 has a slight edge, but the 5944 has a few extra facilities, and a more advanced on-screen display system. Both would suit anyone looking for a no-frills NICAM TV, at a sensible price. The Toshiba 2563 is another very approachable design, with one or two handy extras. Picture and sound performance are both competent, though the squitty little remote button-box is a bit of a retrograde step.  

 

Picture quality on the Sony KV25F1 is brilliant, quite possibly the best in its class; the remote control and on-screen graphics are both very clever, but sadly the sound is rather ordinary and the price is, well, typically Sony...  Hats off to Mitsubishi for yet another extremely well-judged product, that combines an impressive set of features, with better than average performance and great value for money. Look no further if you’ve got a hankering for cinema-style surround sound, but haven’t got the room for a full size surround-sound TV or AV system.

 

The Sharp 59 CS-05H emerges as the best all-rounder. SRS 3D sound is one of the more interesting  DPL alternatives, at the very least it’s a good way of cheering up a dull stereo soundtrack, though no-one, not even Sharp, are touting it as any sort of substitute for the genuine article. Picture quality is good and like Sony, they’ve put a lot of effort into the menu displays, both in terms of presentation, and making them easy to use. It scores a couple of extra points for the smart teletext system and classy cosmetics, and the price is very fair.

 

TABLE 1

SPECIFICATIONS

 

Make/model                           ££s            AV                   VFM            OVERALL SCORE

Hitachi C2546TN                    450            FC,2S              4            4

Mitsubishi CT25AV1BD            650            E,H,2S            4            4

Samsung CI 5944AN                      450            F,H,2S             5            4

Sharp 59CS-05H                 530             F,H,2S             4            5

Sony KV-25F1U             600            FC,H,2S          3            4

Toshiba 2563DB                      550            F,H,2S             3            4

 

Key: AV sockets E = external front speaker connections, F = front-mounted AV sockets, FC = front AV sockets with S-Video input, H = headphone socket, 2S = 2 SCART AV sockets

 

TABLE 2

THE ALTERNATIVES

 

Make/model                           ££s             HE TEST

JVC AV-25M1EK                     500            HE34

Panasonic TX25MD1            530            HE34

Toshiba 2555DB                      550            HE35

 

---end---

Ó R. Maybury 1997, 1002

 

 

 

 

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