Korean brand DMTech's debut LCD TV/DVD player combi, the DML-3117WD, impressed us greatly, and its new 17in LCD TV, the DML-4117W certainly looks the part. The glossy black screen frame and neatly contrasting silver speaker section may not be especially original, but it's a look that never fails to appeal.
The screen's connections continue the good first impressions.All the usual TV options are included and helpfully joined by a 15-pin D-Sub PC jack so you can double up the screen as a computer monitor.
The first disgruntling thing about the DML-4117W is its operating system. The remote control is unhelpfully laid out and far too often the screen's puny IR receiver doesn't register your button presses.What's more,the onscreen menus employ text so small that it strains your eyes.
While a trawl for features reveals little of note,a couple of its quoted specifications raise an eyebrow. The 450cd/m2 brightness rating and 400:1 quoted contrast ratio are the sort of figures we'd expect to find on a screen more devoted to PC than TV use - so here's hoping this balance isn't too obvious during our tests. performance
Thankfully,while it is true that the DML-4117W is better with PC sources, it would be wrong to say that the it's rubbish with TV pictures. Rather, it's excellent with PC sources, and 'merely' good with video ones.
Chief among its strengths is the vibrancy of its colours.Highly saturated parts of pictures glow with a rude and eye-pleasing health, avoiding the general dullness still common on many small LCD TVs.
The picture is also pleasingly free of noise.Edges are neatly integrated, with no flaring or tizzing, grain is almost completely avoided,dot crawl is nowhere to be seen,and fine details are mostly unsullied by moiring interference.Perhaps most unexpectedly of all,the DML-4117W suffers relatively little with LCD's common smearing problems.
The contrast range is also slightly better than we'd expected,with just about enough black-level response to give many TV pictures a sense of depth and solidity.Largely dark, American fare,such as Buffy or Star Trek:TNG, can definitely look pretty washed out,but let's not forget that this is a budget model.
The DML-4117W does have other smallish picture glitches,though. First,the colour tone can sometimes look a little ripe (a bi-product, perhaps,of the screen's PC side). Subtle colours,such as low-lit skin tones,can sometimes appear muted, too.Finally,there's a slight overall softness compared to,again,the Sony 17HR3.But even with these 'problems',the DML-4117W is seldom less than very enjoyable to watch.
The set's sound is more in line with budget expectations,but again,that's not to say it's actually bad.Yes,the soundstage lacks bass and breathing room,but at least things seldom distort and voices are always clear.
Even judged by themselves, the DML-4117W's sound and picture performance levels make it a TV that's at the very least worth an audition. But put this performance in the context of what is, after all, a strikingly cheap price point, and the DML-4117W suddenly becomes a quite mouth-watering proposition.