LCD technology has just killed off CRTs in the PC monitor marketplace, it's also making massive in-roads into the TV manufacturing industry. Samsung brings both elements together with its new 19-inch combined PC monitor and TV set, which aims to build on the success of the good, but small, SM730MW model.
As a combined PC TV monitor, the Samsung has all the right bells and whistles, from its wide range of D-Sub, DVI, S-Video, composite video and SCART inputs, as well as secondary phono-based video and audio sockets on the side of the case, plus the all-important built-in TV tuner, aerial socket and infrared remote control to bring it all together.
It's also HDTV-ready. The main downside is that it doesn't really make the right noises, with speakers that are barely adequate in spite of BBE sound technology, which aims to recreate natural sound and improve clarity.
Picture quality is a little on the lively side. It's generally good for TV watching, but needs taming down a bit, courtesy of the brightness and contrast controls, for comfortable PC use, even when you're using both of these functions at the same time, thanks to the Samsung's PiP capabilities.
This can be a bit of a chore, especially with the on-screen menu system being somewhat less than simple and intuitive, but at least the built-in MagicBright system gives options for Entertainment, Internet, Text and Custom settings.
Colour accuracy proved reasonable rather than excellent in our tests, with the best overall balance available in the Normal position. Cool, Warm and Custom settings are also available. Overall, the Samsung is very expensive for a 19-inch screen, unless you're desperate for a built-in TV tuner. Matthew Richards