One area where price-cutting compromises have been made with the Cello C42T71DVB-3D is connectivity. This set only has two HDMI inputs. It also offers a PC D-Sub connection with matching audio, one set of component video inputs and a SCART.
To the left hand side of the display are AV phono inputs plus an S-Video DIN, headphone jack and single USB port. While there's a CI (Common Interface) card slot for Pay TV services, there's no provision for Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Surprisingly, the screen features only a standard definition DVB tuner. That means you don't get Freeview HD - an omission which will disappoint many potential buyers. We suspect Cello has omitted it to keep the price low, but we fear such cost-cutting may be a false economy.
On the plus side, there is a USB reader which is quite accomplished, covering photos, music and video. Our test selection of video files, including AVI, MOV, MP4, AVCHD and MKVs, were all successfully negotiated; SRT subtitle support is also included.
Music compatibility covers MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC file formats. Unfortunately, there's no support for album art. JPEG photos can be viewed singularly or in a slideshow format.
The TV also records onto an external USB hard drive. Provided the attached drive passes an initial inspection, you'll be able to use the TVs single tuner to timeshift. However, the Now & Next nature of the electronic programme guide (EPG) makes using this less convenient than might otherwise be the case. In some instances you'll need to set a timer programme, complete with Start/Stop times and channel selection – much like an old school VCR.
Recordings can be played back before they've finished, while a single button pulls up your library. This feature doesn't really replace a fully functional PVR, but it does provide a welcome safety net should you need to pop out for a jar or two, and your regular digital recorder is busy doing other jobs.
There's another key benefit to using the Cello's PVR: recordings aren't locked to the set, but are recorded as DRM-free .ts files. This is in stark contrast to the TV PVR functionality on most top-tier TVs. Typically, their recordings can only be played back on the set that made them. Cello's approach is considerably more versatile.