A trip to Athens reveals a stack of exciting new products from PC manufacturing's fastest growing company.
Acer doesn’t have a long history of producing such high end panels (the previous 6ms Gamers line was its first foray) so to suddenly demonstrate a series that can equal the quickest models in the world caught me off guard. Two Gamers Line models will initially be available, the AL1751Cs and AL1951Cs. These are 17 and 19 inches respectively and have eye-catching slim bezels coloured in a two tone silver and black (interspersed with laptops below).
There were no noticeable shortcomings either. CrystralBright technology, digital connectivity, 700:1 contrast ratios and three year warranties all come as standard. We hope to take a closer look at the Gamers Line before it debuts in November.
Still on the subject of screens was another cracking effort: a 37in High Definition LCD TV. The size of this viewing area alone is worthy of some praise (as is its 1080i native resolution, 176 degree viewing angle, 800:1 contrast ratio and 12ms response time), but best of all is its integrated Media Gateway. We were given a personal demonstration of this in a dedicated room and the results we highly impressive.
Video was streamed to the TV wirelessly and it had no trouble buffering clips and playing high definition film without the slightest judder. Furthermore, check behind it and you’ll see it looks more like a PC than a television. Accompanying the DVI-D, HDMI, SP/DIF and SCART connectors are PC D-Sub, PC Audio-in, 10/100 Ethernet, wireless g and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. Mpeg1/2/4, DivX, Xvid, WMV9 and Quicktime formats are supported, along with Jpeg, Tiff, Bmp, Gif and Png picture formats and the Linux based OS in the background is UPnP compliant.
Acer wants this baby out before Christmas (it will be around 2,000 euros) and I positively demand one for my living room!
For those not quite wealthy enough to go for the whole hog, the company was also showing off a separate media gateway. Called the MG3001-P, it works in a similar vein to the D-Link DSM-320 Media Lounge we reviewed (with mixed results) back in March. Unlike the D-Link, however, the Acer device appeared to have no streaming problems, even during High Def content (though it did benefit from a supply line from a MIMO supporting router).
The design is also extremely sleek, measuring under 5cm thick and it sports a USB2.0 port so storage devices can be plugged in as another media source. The MG3001-P supports all the formats of the 37in LCD and also matches its vast array of ports. This could prove to be a real hit if it can reproduce in public the impressive results I saw here. Cost will be around the 240 euro mark.