AOC's 27-inch LCD TV, great for those not wanting to spend more than $2000 on a flat-screen TV
Cheap, flat-screen TV for net buyers has everything needed
Friday May 19, 2006
by Peter Griffin
AOC didn't make the slick TV advert with the catchy guitar music and all those balls bouncing down the road, Sony did.
And you're unlikely to see an AOC flat-screen TV set on display in Harvey Norman.
This sleeper brand from Asia isn't advertised here and is generally only available via internet sellers. For those reasons, it will pass the bulk of Kiwi consumers by.
But for someone like me who can't justify paying more than $2000 for a flat-screen TV, it's an attractive brand.
A scan down the list of features of the AOC 27-inch LCD TV reveals it's got most things you need in a TV. Crucially, it is capable of displaying high-definition pictures.
That means images can be presented at either 720 progressive (720p) or 1080 interlaced (1080i) lines at a time for sharper and more lifelike pictures.
It means that when TV networks eventually offer high-definition broadcasts here, the AOC will be able to receive the feeds. It can also display HD content on the Xbox 360 and the new HD DVD players that are just arriving on the scene. The TV is future-proofed for when we all eventually have these higher-quality video sources, but it's also a versatile display for regular TV feeds, DVDs, game consoles and computers.
I've been using it for all of the above for several weeks and it serves each purpose well. The screen's 1280 by 720 pixels of resolution display Windows XP and software applications crisply.
Gamers may turn up their nose at the screen's 16 millisecond refresh rate. There are screens on the market that refresh the picture more rapidly, but I did my fair share of Battlefield 2 online gaming using the AOC and was impressed. The Xbox 360's menu panel was also displayed nicely.
I wouldn't recommend it as a computer monitor, however, as I'm starting to get sunburn from the radiation after sitting in front of it all day. But as a TV that can plug into a media centre PC, it fulfils a valuable dual-role.
The inputs on the rear of the 4.3 inch-thick screen allow for many feeds - TV antenna, S-video and VGA inputs for the PC as well as multiple component video and composite video inputs for game consoles, video and DVD players and video cameras. Analog stereo audio outputs allow it to plug into an amplifier or stereo.
The AOC's two five-watt speakers do a reasonable job, but struggle to fill a larger room. A supplementary audio set-up would therefore be a good idea.
The TV, which allows for up to 180 programmable channels, supports picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture viewing, so you can watch TV and work on your computer at the same time. It's also a true widescreen TV, which means DVDs have that proper cinematic look.
The supplied remote-control is cheap and bland, but it does the job.
I've tried several LCD screens this year, from much more expensive brands such as Loewe, Samsung and Philips. I liked all of those TVs better than the AOC, but I'll never be able to own any of them without a lengthy hire-purchase agreement.
Against the competition, AOC, which is known as Envision in the US, delivers good value for money. You won't get the big brand name, but you'll find you've got most things you need and it is covered by a standard one-year warranty, in case a wonky pixel blights your picture.
27-Inch LCD TV
Pros: Cheap; good input options.
Cons: Clunky remote; speakers under-powered; no HDMI support.
Herald Rating: 7/10