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Colours improve with HD too, in terms of both the naturalism of their tones and the subtlety with which blends are delivered. And as is usually the case where decent colours are to be found, the iViewer C3298DVB manages to produce a solid black level response.
When I say solid black level response, I don’t mean brilliant by any means. There’s clear evidence of greyness hanging over the darkest scenes. But the extent of this greyness isn’t as bad as I’d anticipated, leaving dark scenes looking at least credible. What’s more, dark corners don’t look as hollow and detail-light as I often see when cheap TVs try and go black. In fact, the iViewer C3298DVB does a really decent job of retaining some pretty high brightness levels even during dark scenes.
Clearly you can get more colour range, contrast and general subtlety from HD sources if you go for the best TVs right now from the big brands. It also has to be said that while pretty accomplished when it comes to motion blur, the iViewer falls prey quite markedly to that other common LCD motion problem of judder.
But the fact remains that overall the iViewer’s HD pictures are as surprisingly good and natural as its standard def pictures are predictably average.
I’d hoped when I first noticed it that the 'speaker bar' running along the iViewer’s bottom edge might deliver some potent audio. But actually it sounds every bit as fundamentally average as almost every budget 32in TV I’ve seen, thanks to all the sound having to be crammed into a really compact mid-range area. There’s precious little treble detail of note, and attempts to reproduce bass are half-hearted to say the least.
Actually, it’s a good job the iViewer C3298DVB doesn’t try too hard to serve up bass, since it doesn’t take much low frequency information at all to cause the speaker to distort and buzz. Even a fairly standard male voice can cause the speaker to break down if you’re running the set at any sort of volume.
It’s a little bit tricky to know what to make of the Cello iViewer C3298DVB LCD TV. On the one hand it genuinely breaks new ground for the UK TV market, with some imaginative, thoughtfully organised/interfaced and useful online content that leaves most of the more established TV brands looking a bit off the pace (though some of them, at least, are going to catch up pretty soon). What’s more, it offers this functionality at a reasonably aggressive price, and even manages to produce some likeable HD pictures.
The catch is that its standard definition pictures and sound are both pretty unimpressive - issues that could both frequently rear their ugly heads in the second-room environment we suspect most people will be thinking of using the iViewer in.