Being quick out of the blocks with technology it’s no surprise to find that Acer is jumping on the Viiv bandwagon with the slightly oddly named ‘Idea’ system. This is a pleasingly slim box that looks more consumer product than PC – a good thing, and the specs are decent – Core Duo CPU, twin digital tuners, a gig of memory. We hope to get one in for review in due course.
You can hook this up to Acer’s new AT3705W, a 37in LCD display featuring a 1080p resolution. Whether this will actually accept a true 1080p signal though remains to be seen. The screen also features an integrated Media Gateway and is HD Ready, with HDCP compliant DVI and HDMI as well as Component inputs. The RRP for this should be around £1,699, which would mean about £1,500 on the 'street'. If this proves to be the case, this could be a record breaking specification for the money.
Acer also announced that it will be releasing a 42in plasma screen. Considering that Acer has done as much as any company to make LCD screens affordable I found this announcement surprising to say the least. However, not as surprising as the fact that the panel will only have a native resolution of 852 x 480, which rather renders the fact that it accepts 720p and 1080i signals and is HDCP compliant rather pointless.
When I quizzed the Acer President on the reason for this move he stated that it was to enable Acer to be able to offer a screen of this size as a competitive price and that higher specification screens would follow soon. I would rather it had waited as consumers don't really need another SD display on the market.
On the up side, at least the styling is right.
Staying with displays, Acer also revealed details of a 20in widescreen monitor aimed at gamers. It offers a CrystalBrite screen with 800:1 contrast ratio and an 8ms response time to accompany the 1,680 x 1,050 resolution. One to look out for.
The final item of note was a projector with a native 16:9 widescreen CCD. However, the native resolution is still only 854 x 480, so this isn't the affordable HD projector I hoped it would be.
All in all then a mixed bunch but it's clear that Acer is aggressively targeting multiple markets with a lot of success. If it continues in this vein it could well end up number one.