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Given the frankly dire - though apparently slowly improving - financial state of the AV world right now, it takes some pretty serious cahones to launch a new home electronics brand into the UK. So let's give it up for Cello: a new name in town that far from just dipping its toe in UK waters is diving in headfirst with an array of actually quite innovative TVs.
One such innovator is the C1973F IPOD. As you can probably guess from this name, it's a 19in screen with a built-in iPod dock on its upper edge. But startlingly that's not the end of its story, for the TV also carries a built-in DVD player. In other words, it's potentially an ideal one-box solution for a second room where having piles of separate kit lying around just isn't practical.
Teenage children, in particular, will probably be seriously chuffed should they find such a utilitarian, gadget-friendly TV tucked under the Christmas tree come December.
The more observant among you may have noticed by now that although I said the C1973F is a Cello TV, the photographs show an apparent Soundwave brand name emblazoned under the screen. But don't worry; the Cello and Soundwave brands are actually one and the same. It's just that different outlets use the Soundwave name rather than Cello.
I have to say that using two brands like this maybe isn't the best way to establish Cello in the UK punters' consciousness, but there you go. I'm sure the people in charge have their reasons.
Getting back to the TV, while there seems to be no doubting the C1973F's practical credentials, we can't help but feel concerned about the set's performance standards given a) Cello's presumed lack of AV experience and b) the TV's lowly £287 price.
Aesthetically the C1973F IPOD is reasonably attractive for such an affordable machine. The black bezel is glossy, and the silver-trimmed curve along the bottom edge adds a touch of cuteness to proceedings. Eco-friendly folk will appreciate, too, the presence of a ‘full power down' button on the TV's bottom rear corner.
Cello initially doesn't seem to have compromised heavily on connections to hit the C1973F's price point, either. HDMI, S-Video, composite video, SCART and D-Sub VGA options are all available, and there's even a coaxial digital audio output so you can pipe digital sound from the built-in DVD player to an external multi-channel AV receiver.
The only disappointment with the set's connections is that they don't include a USB port or a component video input. I guess Cello could argue with some justification that having the iPod dock gives you a perfectly acceptable alternative to USB for getting multimedia files into the TV.
The lack of component video support, however, calls into question the TV's claim of HD Ready specification, since part of that spec requires the provision of a component video input.
In truth, it's unlikely many people - just old Xbox 360 owners, for the most part - would want to use a component feed anyway in these HDMI-driven days. And you may be able to get component feeds into the screen via a suitable adaptor and the VGA port. But if this is the case, it would have been appreciated if Cello could have included a relevant adaptor in the package.
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