Picture quality from the RGB-capable TV SCART is very impressive, boasting solid, realistic-looking colours and enough detail to make images look sharp and well-defined. We can’t say they’re the cleanest-looking Freeview pictures we’ve ever seen, though, as there’s a noticeable amount of feathery pixel noise, particularly with fast moving objects and camera pans, and some blocking on large expanses of colour. These artefacts are worse on some channels than others – BBC One, Two and Three on Multiplex 1 look better than the ITV channels on Multiplex 2, for example, but despite this the pictures on every channel are still perfectly enjoyable.
Slightly more disappointing are pictures captured on our external DVD/HDD recorder. We made a recording of ”The Jeremy Kyle Show” (a good test of colour vibrancy, if you must know) on a Panasonic DMR-HS2 combi in XP mode and the images suffer from composite video’s trademark tizzing around edges, dot noise and diluted colour reproduction. But if your recorder isn’t RGB-enabled, or if you’re not too fussed about having perfect picture quality, then the results are fine for day-to-day viewing.
Metronic’s Gemini is a great idea, giving the 30 million VCRs and analogue DVD recorders in this country a way of recording digital TV after switchover without the limitations that come with single tuner receivers. And in general that idea is well executed – the onscreen layout is appealing, picture quality is solid and the twin-tuner recording functionality is effective, if a little cumbersome. Our only qualms are the lack of RGB from the second SCART and a couple of operational issues, but on the whole the Gemini is a clever solution that’s sure to fly off the shelves as the digital switchover progresses.
Score in detail