With each receiver connected to a separate HDMI input on our test TV, we flicked between them while tuned to a variety of HD and SD channels. Both are solid performers with BBC HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD, delivering beautifully sharp and clean high-definition pictures. Fine textures are conveyed with focus and stability, edges are boldly defined and there are no problems with motion tracking. We also couldn’t spot any i/p conversion or upscaling artefacts either. There really is very little to choose between the two.
There are, however, some small differences with standard-definition material. Aside from the inevitable drop in sharpness when you switch to SD, there’s a lot more noise crawling around in the picture, particularly around the edges of moving objects. The Metronic is fractionally softer, particularly with captions, but it certainly won’t hinder your enjoyment.
In both cases, we’re immensely impressed by the sensitivity of the tuner and the stability of the picture, plus both boxes are quick to load digital text and interactive services. That said, the Goodmans box did lock up a couple of times while browsing the setup menu.
Both receivers deliver TV soundtracks with dynamism and clarity from the HDMI and optical digital outputs, which is particularly advantageous when listening to speech-based programmes – but more dramatic material like movies or sports events sound great too.
So which of these receivers should you choose? Well, if picture quality is your main concern then rest assured that both units do a fine job, particularly with HD. But in most other areas – ease of use, remote, onscreen design, sockets, channel browsing, looks – Goodmans puts the Metronic to shame, although it’s worth remembering that the latter’s build quality is better.