To call the C1973F a mere TV seems rather unfair. The fact that it can show telly broadcasts is just the start of its talents.

A slot on its top, for instance, turns out to be a built-in docking station for all types of iPod and iPhone, enabling you to play stored music, video and pictures through the set while also charging the device. You can even control it via the television's remote control and onscreen menus.

Meanwhile, another slot down the TV's right side can accept DVD, CD, CD-R/-RW, HD-CD, SVCD and VCD discs, smoothly pulling them in as soon as a disc is presented.

The C1973F is thus essentially a one-stop multimedia home entertainment centre that's potentially perfect for the teenage market or for older folk.

Despite its modest price tag, the set hasn't skimped on resolution, with 1,440 x 900 pixels crammed into its 19in screen. This equates to a PC-focused 16:10 aspect ratio, rather than the normal 16:9 one used for widescreen video, but the TV does well at tweaking 16:9 images so that they don't look excessively trimmed or distorted.

So far, so good, but things start going pear-shaped with the TV's onscreen menus, which feature text so small that you'll struggle to read it from more than a metre or so away. This is particularly annoying when you're trying to browse your iPod content.

The set's connections aren't perfect either, since while you do get an HDMI and a dedicated PC port, you don't get a USB or any component video inputs – the latter absentee calling into question the set's claims to HD Ready status.

Performance

Picture performance is pretty uninspiring. Particularly galling is the backlight seepage along the top and bottom edges of the picture that leaves a grey, misty line of between 1cm and 2.5cm wide over any dark content.

Black levels generally are a little foggy, too, and colours lack sparkle and suffer a few rogue tones. There's evidence of motion blur during fast-moving footage, too, and the Cello doesn't have the sharpness to really highlight the differences between HD and standard def.

The C1973 isn't bad at rescaling SD pictures cleanly to fit its native resolution, though. While it's merely average in every other picture department, this is arguably good enough to satisfy the sort of 'utility' buyer likely to want a set with an integral DVD and iPod dock.

The same situation applies to the sound. For while it lacks the bass and range to make its musical sources sound particularly enjoyable, it is at least functional.

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