Ease of use issues are the only real problem on this handy TV/DVD combi
Built-in DVD player
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Chances are, if you're after a second-room set (for the bedroom, kitchen or study), you'll be looking for a small-screen TV that is reasonably versatile rather than a high-end set with lots of bangs and whistles.
As such, this 17in LCD from DMTech should fit the bill nicely, as in addition to having both video and PC abilities it also boasts a built-in DVD player. You can't get much more convenient than that.
While this DVD player may make the DML4117WD more bulky than most screens of its size, it's certainly not ugly. A glossy black frame and silver-clad speaker grilles fastened to its undercarriage give it the screen a glowing look, and it sits pretty on a sturdy desktop stand.
Connections, meanwhile, cater for most needs at this size. Just one RGB Scart may seem a little stingy, but the built-in DVD player means that this is free to be used for hooking up a set-top box, while a PC input allows the screen to double up as a luxury monitor.
A screen's ease of use is a luxury that can't be taken for granted. And sadly, this rings true with the DML4117WD. Not only is the remote control a little fiddly, but our commands weren't brilliantly received by the infra-red sensor. This makes setting up and tuning in the analogue TV channels a bit of a nightmare.
What's more, the menus themselves are more complex and harder to navigate than should be necessary on such a small and feature-light - apart from that DVD player, of course - screen.
Once we fired up our Sideways test DVD, however, we were glad that we hadn't let the DMTech's tricky menus beat us. The first thing to make us smile was the colour presentation. While a lot of LCD screens, particularly at this size and price, tend to suck the colour out of footage and present detail over vibrancy, Sideways' sun-drenched vineyards looked just as warm and inviting as they should on this screen.
What's more, different hues didn't bleed into each other, and large blocks of colour - like those blue Californian skies - looked well saturated.
Detail was also impressive, particularly for a screen of this size, as shown by out test movie's many close-ups of its heroes Miles and Jack - every sleepless, booze-fuelled night was evident on their faces! The only flaw we did notice in such close-ups was that skin tones looked a touch pale.
When it comes to contrast, this screen is a reasonable, but by no means top-class, performer. It coped okay with Sideways' more gloomy scenes - such as when Miles and Maya drive home late and more than a little drunk - and provided enough depth, but it struggles with predominately dark films - like Van Helsing, for example.
Finally, there was very little picture noise to be seen, which left our test movie looking clean and stable.
As is to be expected at this size, the DML4117WD's audio was a little quiet and bass-free - and so not up to coping with action-packed movie soundtracks. But with the dialogue-heavy Sideways it was fine, and there was no distortion at high volumes.
While the the inclusion of a DVD player on an LCD TV could be seen as more a sales gimmick than a serious add-on, on a 17in set like this it really is useful. Easy to control and with a decent image, we see little point in connecting up a separate player. And the DML4117WD's versatility is further increased by the fact that its high brightness makes it a wonderfully-performing PC monitor. All in all, this is a convenient, great-value screen for the bedroom or study.
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