Low and behold, this aspect ratio discrepancy is indeed reflected in the TV’s pictures, as even if you choose the set’s ‘Full’ aspect ratio option, it’s clear that normal widescreen images aren’t quite fitting fully into the screen, with a little of the image missing from the top and bottom edges. It even seemed to my eyes as if a very small distortion was stretching the image vertically. Still, while this initially irritated me, I have to say that by the time I’d finished the testing, I’d already got used to it to the point where I didn’t really notice it any more.
The 19DTT’s specifications continue to impress with the discovery that the digital tuner comes with full MHEG application support and compatibility with the Freeview 7-day electronic programme guide.
Elsewhere you can adjust such niceties as the backlight level and fleshtone balance, set alarm and snooze timers (reflecting the TV’s potential as a bedroom TV), and even call in an SRS TruSurroundXT pseudo-surround sound circuit! Given the puny sound produced by most small LCD TVs, this latter feature seems insanely optimistic, but hey – professional that I am, I’ll reserve my judgment until I’ve actually listened to it.
Starting off with the 19DTT’s pictures, though, to my surprise (given the set’s affordable price) I was pretty impressed by what it can do.
Take its black level response, for instance. Practically every small TV I’ve ever seen has suffered more or less dismally with LCD technology’s common problem with greyness over dark areas, yet the 19DTT really does have a fair stab at presenting a really quite believable representation of real black.
We’re not talking anything on a par with Pioneer’s KURO plasma TVs here, obviously; for instance, dark areas do still feel a bit hollow for all their black intensity. But we certainly are talking about suitably convincing black levels that allow you to actually enjoy a predominantly dark film like ”The Da Vinci Code”. Well, maybe ‘enjoy’ is a bit of a strong word for that particular film, but I think you know what I’m getting at.
It’s worth adding as a side note to this black level discussion that the 19DTT also scores over most small rivals by exhibiting relatively little backlight seepage. In other words, there are only really tiny strips of unwanted light over the picture’s top and bottom edges, rather than those nasty corner pools of light we often see.