Cello C1973F IPOD 19in LCD/DVD/iPod TV - Cello C1973F IPOD

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Checking out the C1973F's other key specifications, we find a claimed contrast ratio of 850:1, a claimed brightness of 300cd/m2, and a native resolution which, at 1,440 x 900, is actually much higher than anticipated.

However, before HD fans start punching the air and getting all unnecessary, if you apply a bit of maths to the PC friendly 1,440 x 990 resolution, it works out to a native screen ratio of around 16:10, rather than the 16:9 we'd usually expect from a widescreen TV.

This ‘squarer' native widescreen shape isn't unique; we've witnessed it on a few other sub-26in TVs in the past too. But as you might expect, it occasionally has a disturbing impact on a video picture's appearance, leaving widescreen images either looking squashed, or as if their top and bottom was missing. Hmmm.

Heading into the C1973F's onscreen menus immediately sets my teeth on edge. For they fall into the classic, utterly stupid trap of being so small you can barely read them unless you stick your nose right up against the screen.

The remote control is a very hit and miss affair, too. On the upside it's large and spaciously laid out, with easy to access DVD playback buttons at the bottom. But on the downside it's extremely light and plasticky, and some key buttons are both poorly labeled and ill positioned, not falling to hand or eye at all readily.

Straining my eyes to explore the C1973F's onscreen menus uncovers precious few feature surprises, as is probably to be expected given how much the set has already offered up for its sub-£300 price point. The only things worthy of even a passing mention are a noise reduction system, and a passable selection of themed picture presets (including Game, Sport, and Movie options).

Checking out the C1973F's basic picture performance first, from HD (up to the maximum supported format of 1080i) and Freeview sources, it's clear pretty quickly that it's nothing to write home about.

Particularly disturbing during any sort of dark scene is the amount of backlight seepage you have to put up with. A grey line of light around a cm thick - or more - spills across the picture along the top and bottom edges, sometimes really distracting you from what you're watching.

The screen's colours aren't anything special either, looking slightly muted generally, and suffering a few noticeably unnatural looking tones, especially when trying to show rich reds and blues. Skin tones, too, tend to look either a bit pasty or slightly over-saturated.

Some of these colour issues at least, can be laid at the door of another problem - an underwhelming black level response, which finds dark scenes looking cloudy rather than containing any nice, inky blacks.

To be fair, the C1973F's black level response isn't disastrously bad - I've certainly seen worse. But it's markedly less impressive than that of some other small TVs we've seen recently, such as LG's 22LU5000. Especially when you also take into account the backlight seepage issue noted earlier.

Another area where the C1973F is average is motion clarity. Watch any fast-paced sport on the screen and the athletes noticeably lose resolution as they pass across the screen.

This is, of course, a very common problem with LCD TVs, especially cheap, small ones. But that doesn't alter the fact that in an ideal world, at least, it would have been nice to find the TV doing a little more to combat the problem. Especially as the blurring can leave even HD sources looking far less sharp and detailed than we'd like.

Actually, even when HD images are fairly static they don't look significantly sharper, to my eyes, than the pictures from a good quality standard-def DVD. Still, it's not particularly realistic to expect any 19in TV - never mind a cheap one - to be a showcase for the high definition format, so I don't think it's fair to dwell on this point too much.


September 2, 2009, 5:26 pm

I have to disagree with this set being particularly cheap for a 19", non-big hitting brand TV, even if it does include an iPod doc and DVD player.

I think the price is too high for most parents to spend on a TV for their kid's Christmas present.


September 2, 2009, 5:36 pm

Seems like a good concept but poor on execution. The Cello intrigues me because I am looking for something similar. I am one of those weird minority who chooses not to own a TV and so does not pay the license fee. We do like to watch DVDs in a family room. I have been using an old laptop hooked up to a monitor, but this has now died. Is there something like the Cello that is instant switch on, plays DVDs but is not legally a television? Or is it possible to hook up a DVD player to an external monitor? Advice welcome!


September 2, 2009, 6:07 pm

have you ever shopped in the real world mr archer? if you think £299 is reasonable for this set then i think not.

tesco have the same item under the technika brand for half the price and still cant ship them



September 2, 2009, 6:55 pm

@Rob: If you get a monitor with an HDMI, component or composite input (though I'd avoid the latter for quality reasons) you can hook up any DVD player with the equivalent output. Your issue would be sound - you'd need either a monitor with speakers or you'd need to invest in a pair of PC speakers and connect them to the DVD player; the latter will certainly give you better sound if you get a decent pair.

Even supermarket DVD players have HDMI outputs these days. I believe you can effectively use any decent monitor though as long as it has a DVI input - just get an HDMI to DVI adapter.


September 2, 2009, 9:12 pm

@Jordon. That's very helpful - I had no idea I could do this. On a quick scan I see e.g. a Proline HDMI for £35 and a ViewSonic 22" VX2260 HDMI for £123, so the package would be under £160 plus cable. I will shop around and try this combo. Thanks again.


September 2, 2009, 9:17 pm

@Rob - following up on Jordan:





The player I can vouch for, the speakers I'm about to get. Can't comment on monitors, but I've got an Acer one for my PC which was cheap and has behaved itself very well. Doesn't have HDMI though so best to look up their newer models.

Hamish Campbell

September 3, 2009, 3:55 pm

@Rob: You'd better hope the UK doesn't go the way of Denmark. Here the license fee is now also in force if you have any device capable of playing tv....and nowadays that means any internet connected computer and I believe mobiles. So, assuming you are writing from home, you'd have to pay anyway.

Maybe they'll all see sense and scrap the system and incorporate it into normal income taxes, i.e. government pays, as New Zealand did some years ago. Crazy waste of money chasing up non-payers.


September 3, 2009, 8:07 pm

As far as I'm aware, the licence fee in the UK applies to any device that can play 'Live' TV. Meaning that if you watch the live tv through iPlayer on your mobile phone or PC, you legally require a licence (not sure how easy this is to investigate and enforce though).

However, if you only watch catch-up TV (iPlayer, Channel4.com, etc.) you can remain unlicensed.


September 3, 2009, 9:48 pm

@drdark @haim: drdark is correct for now at least. My Mac is only used for BBC iPlayer, which does not require a TV license. If I used a digital TV USB dongle then it would convert to a live TV device and I would need to pay the license fee. I'm not a TV fan anyway, and for the time being at least I don't pay for the 8 or so DAB radios I have scattered around the house, so am happy for my radio listening to be subsidised by the TV watching public (thanks guys!). Tomorrow my HDMI DVD player and monitor arrive from eBuyer, so let's hope they work together ok.


September 4, 2009, 12:20 am

If the BBC would just advertise products (since we have to put up wither their own program advertising anyway) we wouldn't have to pay a lice3nce fee!


September 4, 2009, 7:11 pm

@Rob - They will work together fine :) But did you get speakers? Your DVD player will have stereo out (red and white phono sockets) so your speakers/amplifier will need to have phono/AUX inputs. If not you can use a phono to 3.5mm (headphone) jack.


September 5, 2009, 11:50 am

@JordanRussell: Thanks - the monitor has built in speakers and an audio out, and the HDMI delivers both video and sound I believe through the connection. Will test all when arrives today :)


September 5, 2009, 10:33 pm

@JordonRussel et al: Thanks to all for the help advising me on a system to watch DVDs without paying a TV license. My Viewsonic VX2260WM 22" monitor and Samsung H-1080 DVD player are now hooked up and worked out of the box with no set up. Both were highly reviewed on the these hallowed pages (and TR was right - the monitor's speakers are truly awful, but I will upgrade to a good active set when funds permit). Picture quality and ease of use are both great. At the eBuyer checkout I picked up a Plexus HDMI cable for £5 (yes £5) and people tell me I should be spending up to £60 on a cable - is this correct? Will I really experience a WOW factor if I spend 12 times as much on a piece of wire?


September 7, 2009, 6:31 pm

Stick with your £5 HDMI cable! Whether it makes a difference or not is highly debated but even if it is true your ~£200 set-up (no offence!) isn't going to justify the outlay.

Did try to warn you about the speakers ;) But at least you have sound out of the box. Glad it's all working fine for you :)


September 9, 2009, 3:22 pm

@Jordon Russell - indeed I will, thanks. No offence taken, it is just a family room DVD set up, not an audiophile/videophile paradise :) My final addition - Creative Gigaworks T20 II arrived this morning from Dell to add some life to the audio side, and overall the system works nicely (and a whole load better than what I had before) and all I need now if time to watch some movies!


September 23, 2009, 4:14 pm

Coda: You see from above I purchased a DVD player and monitor so that I could watch DVD's without owning a TV or other equipment capable of receiving live TV programmes.....today I get a demand from TV licensing for a TV license because John Lewis told them I bought "TV receiving equipment". Of course I only bought a DVD player which is totally incapable of receiving TV programmes....but I am now back to square one in my battle with TV licensing...to prove I do not own a TV. They went quiet for years and now I am back on their data base as an offender. John Lewis told me they have to report purchase of a DVD player as "TV receiving equipment". Maybe one day I will give up and buy a TV just to stop this hassle :(

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