Typical: you wait for ages for a TV/DVD combi to arrive and then two turn up at once. This latest all-in-one job from DMTech takes the idea of its similarly styled stablemate, the DML-4132WLD and expands on it with the addition of a Freeview tuner.
The basic spec is identical, with high-def compatible inputs feeding an appropriately specified panel and a DVD drive lurking within that chunky, heavy chassis. The added digital brains make for a price hike of some £50,but that's still pretty small beer when you consider just how much home entertainment you're getting from one box.
The look is, of course, the same, with an unfussy black frame complemented by a silver speaker array to make for a pleasing, if not desperately innovative whole.
Socket-wise, it's DVI again for the high-def, all-digital thrills, while the addition of an RF loop-through enables external recording of analogue broadcasts. Inevitably, but nonetheless unfortunately, this version also shares its analogue sibling's remote. It's still a ghastly specimen hampered by tiny buttons and an ill-conceived layout, and the labelling of some of the secondary functions of keys is all but illegible in anything other than direct bright light.
Setting up is simplicity itself, although we were surprised to be asked to specify what kind of screen shape we'd prefer when tuning in the digital channels, as if there was any choice in the matter.
One of our chief beefs with this set's analogue counterpart was the shoddiness of the broadcast pictures. Happily, the step-up to digital has ironed out many of these problems. The superior signal provides a much more stable watch, with a much more evenly balanced colour palette and a generally much more dynamic presentation.
Freeview does bring some new and irritating glitches, though. The image is prone to pixellation, particularly with low budget material. Some really bargain-basement shows are so badly afflicted that they look like they've been shot on a webcam, with fine detail collapsing into to mess of coloured blocks.
It is worth bearing in mind that Freeview is hampered by some truly 'affordable' programming and that the signal itself isn't yet running at anything like full power, so these glitches are not necessarily the fault of the panel. The better quality stuff looks the part, though and most casual watchers will find little to grumble about.
The DVD and high definition performances are exactly as they were with the analogue set, which is to say adequate rather than spectacular. Colour tones are a little over-egged with discs and, while detail is much better than with TV, movement is clumsy.
HD feeds, meanwhile, look pristine, with the only real problem being a relatively crude black palette, but this is nothing we haven't come to expect from LCD.
Overall, the DML4132WDT is another noble attempt at a budget, one-box AV system; home ents purists, however, should look elsewhere. Jim Findlay