Cheap and cheerful, but it's difficult to overlook niggles with the performance
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Not everyone's after massive, wafer-thin TVs. Some of us still want modestly proportioned sets that'll deliver without fuss or denting our bank accounts. Or something snazzy-looking for the bedroom. Step forward Sanyo, the brand for which 'affordable' was invented.
Telly colours have, for the last few years, been a choice between grey or silver and black, so a white set is a real novelty. Sanyo has gone far to create something quirky and just about pulls if off.
The CE17LC4W is an unusual mixture of curves and straight edges, with speakers under a scalloped section under the screen. It won't be to everyone's taste and overall it feels a little plasticky, but it's nice to see a manufacturer step away from the norm.
The features list is on the minimal side, with an analogue tuner and basic AV connections providing the main thrills. It does have a 'high' resolution,but with no component or HDMI to make use of all those pixels, its crowd-pleasing power is compromised.The back panel does yield a pair of Scarts and, as both are wired for RGB, you won't have any problem hooking up decent quality analogue sources.
As far as ease of use is concerned, there are no nasty surprises lurking within this set. In fact, the first time you switch it on, you're thanked for buying it. Then it sets about tuning itself in and finishes with a cheery 'Happy Viewing' when it's ready to go.
The menu is easy to use and relatively sparse, although there are a few welcome options, such as skin tone enhancing modes and bass extension as well as the optimistic-seeming virtual surround mode.
Broadcast material throws up the first problem with the Sanyo. Motion has a juddery appearance that calls to mind LCD sets of a few years ago. During the televised golf, distinct 'ghosts' trail players across the green.
This glitch remains, albeit to a slightly lesser extent,on DVDs piped into the RGB Scart. The creatures in Ice Age moved extremely creakily and there was also a problem with over-egged outlines.
Colours aren't bad, although they could do with more vibrancy, and the whole picture is undermined by a lack of contrast. You can try turning everything down, but even the murkiest settings still fail to deliver blacks with any solidity.
The audio, meanwhile, is about as good as it's reasonable to expect from a set of this size and spec. Which is to say pretty weedy and capable of only the most limited evocation of three dimensions. It does a reasonable job with dialogue and music on television broadcasts and DVD soundtracks.
But send some loud thuds or explosions its way and all you get are tinny or crackling noises. To be fair, this is a secondary set rather than the hub of a shrine to bigscreen action, but the lack of muscle and presence can be frustrating with DVDs.
The CE17LC4 isn't going to set any front rooms alight, but then scorching AV performance isn't really in its remit. It succeeds,with some caveats, as an affordable workday TV or bedroom set, but the flaws it does display leave it lagging some distance behind LCD's cutting edge. Jim Findlay
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