A great concept that's nicely executed and can be yours for a surprisingly affordable price
MPEG noise from DVDs
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DMTech's LM20D is more than just a 20in LCD TV. It's also got a DVD player built in - a potentially very useful,clutter-busting idea for anyone wanting to watch DVDs as well as TV in their bedroom/kitchen. But has squeezing two products into one box compromised performance?
It hasn't affected the TV's looks, at any rate.From the front it's quite dashing,resplendent in its deep black screen frame and shiny silver trim.Only an extra bulge on the right (if you view it from the side) reveals the presence of the DVD player.
Connections are fair for a TV that's already got one source,a DVD deck,built in. Highlights include a PC jack,and an RGB Scart,with the only bad news (though it won't affect many of the likely buyers) being the absence of any digital audio output for 5.1 surround sound.
The LM20D's native resolution of 800 x 600 is decent for a 20in TV,as is its claimed brightness of 450cd/m2.The only worry is the lowly claimed contrast ratio of 350:1. If you're more likely to watch DVDs than analogue TV broadcasts,you might not find its non-widescreen shape ideal either,but most people will probably use it more for TV viewing,in which case the 4:3 ratio makes perfect sense.
Surprisingly for such a cheap, combination product,the LM20D's DVD deck seems reasonably well specified; it can play MP3,WMA and JPEG files as well as numerous DVD and CD formats.
The TV section,however, is distinctly short of features.Bizarrely there's not even an anamorphic widescreen mode,even though the DVD section offers the option of anamorphic widescreen playback.
The LM20D delivers a reasonably likeable picture performance.What's particularly striking is how natural pictures look, thanks to their almost complete freedom from distracting nasties such as LCD smearing over motion,grain,and dot crawl.
Even better,the DMTech's colour tone is generally much more authentic than that of some rivals in this group test.Edges are tightly controlled too,but never overstressed, and black levels are better than expected given the TV's unimpressive contrast ratio claims. They only become problematic (in the form of greying over of dark areas) during very dark footage.
In an ideal world the picture might be a touch sharper,and fair though the black levels are, there's certainly still plenty of room for improvement.But you can't have everything,we guess.
The LM20D's DVD deck scores well for detailing and colour response,but backgrounds were afflicted by more MPEG decoding noise than we'd ideally like to see.
Don't expect any Odeon-like audio accompaniment to your movies.The LM20D's speakers are short of both power and dynamic range,leaving action scenes sounding flat and harsh.At least vocals sound reasonably clean and believable,but that's the only way this set's sonics stand out from the LCD crowd.
For all its imperfections,however, we can't help feeling a soft spot for the LM20D. Its pictures are really quite likeable overall, and its price seems very fair for a product that's a TV,DVD player and PC monitor all rolled into one.
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