Moving to HD video, it’s again impossible not to be struck by how sharp high quality sources like Later With Jools on BBC HD look. And by the fact that black levels continue to enjoy plenty of depth, and bright colours still look eye-catchingly well-saturated.
A couple of niggles do now make their presence felt, though. First, while dark areas are reasonably black rather than grey, they’re also a touch bereft of the sort of shadow detailing that gives them scale and depth. Also, while bright scenes look pretty authentic, darker scenes, especially those using naturalistic as opposed to studio lighting, exhibit colours that look slightly muted and unrealistic in tone.
Moving down to standard definition sources, things become more problematic. The single greatest offender is the appearance of really quite substantial amounts of motion smearing. This is especially the case while watching the analogue tuner, but certainly also makes its presence felt with a good Sky Digital feed. The screen claims a response time of 8ms, but this figure seems optimistic to us. And actually, once we’d started looking for the problem, we spotted it during some high definition footage too.
The smearing as the screen’s LCD panel struggles to keep up with fast moving objects isn’t the only motion problem to be seen either, as the picture occasionally shears during standard-def camera pans.
These motion glitches really are unfortunate, for in many other ways the AT3720 surpasses our expectations of an £800 TV. But them’s the breaks, as they say.
Sonically the AT3720 is pretty average. It’s certainly got the raw power to go pretty loud, and sounds crisp, detailed and clear in the upper register. But the emphasis on the treble range isn’t counterbalanced by anything like enough bass depth, leaving the soundstage sometimes sounding over-bright and harsh.
The AT3720 just about does enough with its pictures and, especially, connectivity to rate as a decent stab at a truly budget LCD TV. But Acer needs to work on its operating system and motion handling if it really wants to win us to its cause.
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