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So obsessed has the world become with all things HD that for a while, at least, humble DVD seemed to almost drop off the radar of some AV brands. But suddenly it’s undergoing something of a resurgence, with Toshiba declaring at IFA that upscaled DVD (as produced by its new XD-E500 DVD player) is where it’s at rather than Blu-ray, we’re also experiencing a sudden surge in the number of TVs offering built-in DVD drives. In fact, it’s another one of these DVD/TV combis that’s managed to find its way onto our test benches today: Sanyo’s CE22LD94DV-B.
As its mouthful of a name suggests, this is a 22in LCD TV, with its DVD duties coming courtesy of a slot tucked invisibly away on the TV’s rear left side. Clearly given its size – and its impressively low price of £311.69 - it’s aimed at the kitchen/study/bedroom market rather than your main living room. But that doesn’t stop it from boasting an HD Ready specification, complete with HDMI input, component video input, widescreen shape, and sufficiently high native resolution.
We guess we should feel slightly disappointed that there’s only one HDMI input in these digital days, but obviously the presence of the built-in DVD deck provides the set with a partial excuse for its HDMI stinginess.
We also need to return to the set’s HD resolution. For rather than the usual 1,366 x 768 pixels, the CE22LD94DV turns in a considerably higher 1,680 x 1,050. At first glance, of course, this looks like very good news. More pixels means more sharpness and detail to pictures, right?
Well, maybe. But there’s another issue here that needs to be taken into account. Namely the fact that 1,680 x 1,050 does not equate to the normal 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio used by the vast majority of widescreen TVs.
To make this point clearer, 16:9 breaks down to around 1.78:1. But 1680x1050 comes out at around 16:10. This means that whenever the CE22LD94DV is showing any widescreen material, it will have to resize normal 16:9 broadcasts like those delivered by any UK widescreen channel to fit its different width, either pushing part of the image’s width off the side of the screen, or else slightly stretching the image vertically. Neither of which are particularly appealing ideas so far as we’re concerned.
Since the 1,680 x 1,050 resolution is very common in the 22in PC monitor market, it’s probably safe to say that Sanyo is using a monitor panel, rather than one designed for a TV - hence the 16:10 aspect ratio. This isn’t unusual, since we have seen many PC monitors with TV tuners built in, but those were marketed as monitors first and TVs second, and none of them came with an integrated DVD player.