The fact that the Acer carries a Freeview tuner is, if we’re honest, slightly surprising. After all, even one or two really established AV brands have only just got their heads round all the UK-specific issues associated with Freeview reception. But all credit to Acer, as the digital tuner’s inclusion really proves how seriously the company is taking its TV duties here.
Before we get too carried away, though, there are a couple of digital limitations to report. Firstly, there’s no CI slot for adding subscription services like Top Up TV to the Free-to-air channel roster. Second, although the TV supports the 7-day Freeview electronic programme guide, the listings for this guide tend to load painfully slowly.
The TV proudly sports the AV world’s HD Ready badge of honour, meaning it’s got a suitably HD friendly native resolution (1,366 x 768 as it happens) and can handle the necessary 720p and 1080i HD formats. In fact, rather excellently, it goes beyond the call of HD Ready duty by also accepting the 1080p feeds promised from Blu-ray discs and the PS3 – a talent only a small handful of other TVs can match.
Other specifications include a par-for-the-course brightness of 500cd/m2, and a potential reality check in the form of a slightly disappointing-looking contrast ratio of 800:1. But given how notoriously unreliable contrast ratio figures can be, we’ll wait to see how this Acer shapes up in practice rather than prejudging it on paper.
We’ve pretty much exhausted the features in this Acer’s locker already – a touch earlier than we might have hoped. But Acer could reasonably argue that having two digital video inputs, a digital tuner and HD Ready specification are features enough for a 32in LCD TV costing just £900!
Also very acceptable for £900 is the AT3205’s picture quality, as it quickly sets about banishing concerns we may have had about it favouring PC over video sources. The most obvious sign of the Acer’s TV credentials can be seen in its colours; specifically the generally natural tone they adopt. A PC-focussed screen might be expected to show grubby, sickly greens and over-ripe skin-tones when playing video, but this seldom if ever happens with the AT3205.