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

John Archer

By John Archer



Our Score:


Rather more important for most of the C1973F's target market will likely be its standard definition handling. And in this respect it actually does reasonably well, at least to the extent that it rescales standard definition to its native resolution without emphasising/adding video noise, or - thankfully - making the picture's aspect ratio look uncomfortable or forced.

The C1973F's DVD deck is respectable, too. For a start, the side-mounted tray has a label on it telling you which way round your discs should be when you present them to the slot - a simply but genuinely helpful trick. Also, unlike the DVD-carrying Ferguson F2620LVD we tested back in March, the C1973F's DVD slot will actually suck in a disc that's presented to it regardless of whether the TV is already switched to DVD mode.

The deck can handle SVCD, VCD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, picture CD, HD-CD and WMA discs as well as DVDs - though DivX isn't on the menu.

I was rather perturbed to note that the ‘TV Type' setting in the DVD deck's menus was set to 4:3 LetterBox when I got the C1973F out of the box, rather than 16:9. But otherwise DVD playback is straightforward, and delivered without generating the sort of MPEG or grain noise that's always a worry with cheap DVD decks.

Next on our test list, of course, has to be the iPod dock. Slotting my iPod nano in there - apparently all iPod and iPhones are supported - immediately causes the TV to switch to its iPod channel and connect with my player. I can then use the dock to charge the nano, and playback songs or movies through the TV - complete with track details appearing on the C1973F's screen. What's more, I can control all the key functions of my nano using the TV's remote control.

Now for the bad news. First, the screen uses the same puny onscreen menu/information text size found while trawling the setup menus, making it ridiculously tough to read all the options/track details from any more than a metre or so from the screen. It's enough to make you wonder if Specsavers have somehow sponsored the TV, in a bid to get more eye-strained punters through the door.

Second and worse, the TV's audio really is very average. Its claimed 2x6W of power delivers a thin, compressed and sibilant soundstage with iPods that sounds almost like the TV is adding another level of compression on top of that applied when you originally ripped your music.

The TV's sonics are a bit more comfortable with CDs and TV/films, though things still sound muddy under the slightest duress, and you'll be wincing regularly if you turn the volume too high.


The Cello/Soundwave C1973F certainly does a lot for its relatively budget price. It's just a pity that it doesn't do anything particularly well.

Still, while I personally might question the worth of such a performance-lite product, I have little doubt that there are plenty of casual users out there who will likely consider a basic performance level a perfectly acceptable price to pay for the C1973F's extreme convenience factor.

I'd also say the C1973F is at least interesting enough to make me keen to get my hands on Cello's new TVs that allow you to record TV onto SD cards… Watch this space.


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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