The hi-def services from Sky and Telewest arrived with such a fanfare that many early adopters immediately dumped their tired old screens in favour of HD-ready displays. Sadly, they also ended up paying around £1,500 for early 32-inch screens. Those that were canny enough to wait however can now enjoy the tumbling prices, with the 37-inch screen reviewed here coming in under £900.
Any fears you may have that Evesham's 37-inch screen is a poor budget offering from an unfamiliar display brand can be immediately quashed. For features and connectivity, everything you'd expect from the likes of Sony, Philips and Panasonic is here.
In addition to analog, a digital tuner is provided for achieving access to Freeview channels. For 720p/1,080i HDTV reception, the obligatory HDMI connector is provided alongside a myriad of alternative video and audio connectors tidily tucked under a ridge at the rear of the panel. Top this with the three-year warranty, with support provided direct from Evesham, and you have a warm reassurance that your £899 will be well spent.
Of course, the Alqemi SX is primarily a display and any misgivings with the all-important visuals could scupper any initial enthusiasm. Unlike standard computer displays, one-touch image auto-setups seem to be void on large HD-ready screens. At the behest of the OSD, you are presented with a surprisingly limited array of controls, which, unfortunately, don't make things any easier.
What Evesham's sizeable screen does exceptionally well is show off hi-def resolutions via a Sky HD source. The downside of this is the inevitable slap in the face when you are forced to watch standard definition broadcasts, which for programs with large blocks of colour, highlighted a small degree of artefacts in the review sample. This was a major surprise as we didn't view any such anomalies when we were viewing via another sample of the same model of monitor.
Another area of questionable quality was with the contrast, which for the review sample was not as highly defined as we would have liked. The image quality may not be as rich and crisp as screens costing up to £500 more, but for most applications it's an impressive offering and excellent value for money. Ian Robson