- Review Price: £260.79
Most TVs that get installed in second rooms – kitchens, conservatories, offices, bedrooms etc – are generally criminally underused. Not necessarily in terms of the sheer hours they’re watched for, but certainly when it comes to exploiting their full potential.
The main reason for this is simply that people don’t want to clutter up the space around their space-saving second TV with further boxes containing external sources. Which is precisely why products like Sharp’s LC-22DV200E make such great sense. For here you get a tidy, highly portable 22in LCD TV screen with a DVD slot cunningly tucked down its left side. So instead of, say, having to suffer the Jeremy Kyle show while you cook up a storm in the kitchen, you can stick on your favourite film instead, without having to mess your work surfaces up with an external DVD player.
The DVD deck has been niftily integrated into the 22DV200E, moreover, in that its inclusion hasn’t led to such a chunky rear end as we often see on combi TV products. In fact, the 22DV200E is quite a cutie aesthetically, with its glossy black finish, funky little stand and endearing arc along the bottom edge. If you get up close, its finish is a touch plasticky, but not offensively so.
Connections are a touch disappointing, though. For a start, unlike the 26in and 32in models in the DV200E range, the 22in model only has one HDMI input. Though to be fair, the inclusion of a DVD player within the TV’s own chassis reduces the need for more HDMIs to some degree.
It’s also disappointing, however, to find that a USB port on the DV200E’s rear is only there for Service use, and can’t be used for any multimedia purposes. Being able to play photos from USB memory sticks is always a handy trick for a second-room TV, in our opinion.
The TV isn’t wholly without multimedia functionality, though. For as well as a welcome D-Sub PC input, the built-in DVD deck is capable of playing JPEG photos, MP3 and WMA audio files, and standard def DivX video files burned onto DVD-R/RW or CD-R/RW discs. Plus, of course, as music CDs and DVD movies.
The 22DV200E’s screen is lit using conventional CCFL technology, and manages to squeeze an HD Ready pixel count of 1,366 x 768 into its reasonably small screen area. The TV also has a Freeview tuner, as we would expect – though this doesn’t extend to Freeview’s new HD platform.
Heading into the TV’s onscreen menus via a bland-looking but surprisingly functional (for a combi TV) handset, the first thing that strikes us is that the text in the menus is uncomfortably small. We had to move right up close to comfortably read everything, which seems pretty daft when the problem could easily have been fixed by simply making the text larger and having a few less options on screen at once.
Making this all the more silly is the fact that the onscreen menus don’t actually have to accommodate many options. In fact, there are only three things worth mentioning here: a handful of picture presets, the option to turn on or off a dynamic contrast system (which adjusts the backlight in reaction to the image content), and a noise reduction system.
With nothing more to detain us, let’s get straight into the main order of the day: the 22DV200E’s performance.
Starting with DVD playback, things don’t kick off particularly well thanks to the really rather unfriendly DVD slot mechanism, which frequently seemed stubbornly reluctant to take our discs in. We’d strongly recommend that you don’t let toddlers have a go at pushing discs in by themselves, or all kinds of carnage is likely to ensue.
Once you’ve managed to actually get your discs into the TV, though, the 22DV200E gives a very creditable account of itself – at least by the standards of similarly affordable small screen LCD TVs.
Its pictures are pleasingly bright, for a start, making the set a better option than many small screens for a light environment like a conservatory.
This innate brightness helps its colours enjoy quite a bit of punch too. This gives bright, dynamic content – especially animated films – real dynamism and definition. But also, unusually for the small-screen market, the colours retain decent saturations and tones during dark scenes.
Another area where the 22DV200E is comfortably ahead of most affordable TVs is motion handling. For even though there doesn’t appear to be any serious motion processing on the TV, action scenes don’t turn into the blurry, low-resolution mess they so often still do on cheap little LCD TVs.
We’re not suggesting that there’s no motion blurring at all; just that it’s less aggravating and distracting than we would have expected.
The 22DV200E’s contrast is good or average, depending on your perspective. Taken, again, in the context of other sub-26in LCD TVs – especially DVD combis – blacks get blacker than we often see with rival machines, without having to compromise brightness too much.
Considered against what many larger TVs are now managing in the black level department, though, there’s clear evidence of the familiar grey clouding during dark scenes, as well as a little strip of light ‘seepage’ around half a cm or so deep along the top and bottom edges.
You seldom notice the problems with black level during day to day TV viewing due to the predominantly bright nature of TV broadcasts, but they’re certainly apparent – albeit not disastrously so – when watching films on the DVD deck.
If you want a stellar black level from a portable TV, two options that spring to mind are Panasonic’s L19D28, with its edge LED lighting, and Sony’s 22E5300. But neither carries a built-in DVD player, while the L19D28 retails for around £370 and you’ll struggle to find the 22E5300 for less than £400.
We were pleasantly surprised during our time with the 22DV200E to note that its picture didn’t lose really serious amounts of contrast or colour as we walked around the room.
The set does a solid job of upscaling standard definition pictures to its HD Ready resolution too, avoiding the soft appearance common with small-screen LCD TVs. The screen is also crisp enough with its picture presentation to let you appreciate the difference between HD and standard def sources, especially if you watch from quite a close viewing distance.
Finally on the picture performance front, the DVD player proves pleasingly free of the sort of MPEG blocking and twitching that occasionally troubles combi TVs.
The 22DV200E does have a trio of aggravations, though. First, its sound is really very feeble indeed. The speakers are rated at just 2×1.5W, and as you would expect, this means they struggle to sound convincing even with straightforward ‘chatshow’ type programming. Inevitably they collapse into a harsh, thin, distortion-heavy mess when pushed at all hard by an action scene.
Emphasising the audio weakness is a ridiculously over-sensitive audio volume adjustment, which is capable of shooting up from zero to its maximum, wince-inducing 100 level in the blink of an eye. And finally on our dislike list is the TV’s Electronic Programme Guide. For this is poorly presented, unintuitive to navigate, sluggish to respond at times, and stubbornly covers the entire picture of the channel you were watching when you pressed the EPG button.
For a small-screen TV/DVD combi, Sharp’s 22DV200E is unusually slim, affordable and easy to use (at least where handling the dual TV and DVD functionality is concerned). Plus it manages to be a respectable picture performer to boot.
On the downside, its audio is perfunctory at best, and it could do better in the black level response and multimedia compatibility departments. But overall, it still represents good value for money.
Score in detail
Image Quality 7
Sound Quality 5
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