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Buying a high definition TV can be quite a daunting prospect for the average consumer, not least because it represents a pretty major financial investment. Of course it’s not hard to find an HDTV that looks to be a complete bargain, if you’re willing to forgo a big name brand. The question is whether this type of TV is a false economy or whether you really are just paying for a name when you buy from the big boys.
Fighting the budget TV corner today is the Atec AV371DS, which does look to be a bit of a bargain on paper. As the model number suggests, you’re getting a 37in LCD TV, with an attractive price tag of £821. There’s no denying that the Atec looks pretty generic, but it’s far from offensive. In fact that somewhat staid matt black finish makes perfect sense, assuring that the screen will complement the vast majority of living rooms. OK, so this TV won’t be a design statement to set off your décor, like a Philips or Sony screen might, but it won’t ruin the look of your home either.
Bizarrely though, the sensible, minimalist design hasn’t been carried over to the remote control. For some reason Atec has decided that the remote should be glossy white, which, quite frankly looks horrible. It’s pretty much a rule of thumb that budget TVs ship with poor remote controls and the unit that comes with the Atec is no exception. It’s not just the colour either, the button layout is confusing and unintuitive – it took me ages to find the button for the EPG, and I knew what I was looking for! The good news is that you can easily buy a good universal remote that’s easier to use and easier on the eye, so this issue shouldn’t be enough to put you off the Atec.
The Atec sports a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, and will happily accept 720p and 1080i signals for HD Ready compliance. The TV flatly refused to accept a 1080p input from an Xbox 360 though. The connection options also conform to the HD Ready standard, but only just.