One issue I had was that the panel has an Auto-Off function that switches off the display when it doesn’t detect a signal. When you switch on the panel it scrolls though each connection looking for a signal but when connecting to a PC, it didn’t detect the signal over DVI until the PC had booted into Windows, with the result that it kept switching itself off, which was a little irritating espcially when you restart the PC, as you have to keep turing the screen on. There was an option to turn this off in the display but it didn’t actually make a difference.
As it’s a TV, Acer has put in some image enhancing technology you don’t find in monitors, such as a comb filter for cleaning up low quality sources and a 3:2/2:2 pull down recovery to remove judder from NTSC sources. It’s worth noting that there is a fan inside the screen, which is necessary in a heat producing screen of this size. At low volumes in a quiet room it is noticeable and some might find this bothersome, especially during a quiet part of a movie. During louder passages though you’ll never know it’s there.
The TV Tuner was pretty easy to set up, and the tuner scans through the available frequencies in a couple of minutes. It’s easy to scroll through channels with the remote and the station name appears on screen. A nifty feature is the Picture-in-Picture function. When watching the analogue tuner, this will present multiple channels on screen at once. It also enables you to place two AV sources on screen next to each other side by side and switch between them.
As for the picture I was immediately impressed. Acer has used a reflective coating to increase contrast and improve colour vibrancy. While some might not like it on a PC monitor, it’s exactly what you want on a TV. The brightness is rated at 500nits and it subjectively did look very bright.
Seeing Windows on a display this large was pretty cool, though for the size the horizontal resolution of 768 lines is far too low for serious PC use. This sort of screen is designed primarily for use as a video display but can also be used to view Windows and web pages at a distance. It would be perfect for connecting to a media centre system, whether by Microsoft or anybody else.
To start our testing we as ever used DisplayMate, hooking up to a PC via a DVI connection. Overall the performance was good with strong vibrant colours and even, smooth fades. However, in the colour scaling test it wasn’t quite right at the edges. It was overbright at one end and while it faded evenly across the screen it dropped off suddenly at the edges. More problematic was the pixel tracking, which just seemed way off, with a high degree of blurriness. It seemed odd at first but changing resolution away from the native to 1,024 x 768 sorted this out. The problem clearly reared itself when trying to read text at small font sizes, say on a web page. Text would appear thick and then thin as you look across. At larger type sizes the effect wasn’t apparent.