Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Attractive design; exceptional speakers; excellent standard definition performance
- Some image softness when viewing high definition content; sluggish on-screen controls
The Grundig Cinemo GLCD4600HD is a mid-range TV that performs well and has a reasonable price tag.
Price$ 4,499.00 (AUD)
The Grundig Cinemo GLCD4600HD is a 46in LCD TV with a native resolution of 1366x768. Suitable for displaying both standard and high definition content, it sits comfortably in the mid-range market, not just in price but also in image quality.
We tested the Cinemo's standard and high definition output and found both modes to be quite good. However, while its standard definition images were excellent, high definition images were a little soft at times, particularly around the edges, which gave them an almost unfocused quality.
High definition (720p/1080i)To test the Cinemo's high definition performance, we connected it to some of the same types of devices you might use at home: a high definition gaming console and a DVD player. Using an Xbox 360, we ran gaming tests by playing a couple HD games and we ran image quality tests by watching HD-DVD movies.
On the Xbox 360 we played Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 and Tony Hawk's Project 8 at a resolution of 720p and found the image quality to be quite good. We didn't notice any pixelation on curved edges and we found the black levels to be reasonable. Image noise wasn't detected either, but we did notice a peculiar sharpening issue. At first, on the Xbox 360's menu screen, we noticed a moderate level of over-sharpening. This was corrected by reducing the sharpness level of the TV, but in doing so, the image became a little too soft. We couldn't find a happy medium and had to settle on the slightly softer image as an over-sharpened image can get distracting. Overall though, if you plan to hook up an HD gaming console like an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3, this TV will perform beautifully. We also viewed the Empire State Building finale from the King Kong HD-DVD at a resolution of 1080i. While the softness in the image is a potential problem for HD gaming, when watching a HD-DVD, it can work in its favour. We didn't find any image noise in this test and its colour reproduction was accurate. Additionally, its contrast was excellent and the black levels weren't too bad either. The softness in the image was still there, but it made the image look more cinematic and fluid. AV purists may find it annoying, but considering the price of this panel, some minor image aberrations are to be expected.
Standard definition (576i)
The most common source of standard definition video is a DVD player, and we use two DVD tests to adjudge a panel's standard definition output. For our first test, the Digital Video Essentials DVD uses still image test patterns, which can show up any fundamental image flaws. While the Cinemo passed all the tests quite convincingly, the sharpness issue cropped up once again. Unfortunately, this panel is subject to a catch-22 of sorts. Using the TV's default settings, the test patterns looked over-sharpened with some halo effects and unwanted image noise. Turning the sharpness down got rid of this, but then the image looked too soft.
For our second standard definition test, we watched the lobby scene from The Matrix. In this test we didn't find any over-sharpening or contrast problems and there weren't any pixelation or discolouration problems either. If you're buying this TV to watch DVDs, you will be very satisfied. Many HD panels have issues scaling to standard definition, but this one reproduced the content with ease.
We connected the unit to a PC using a VGA connection and ran DisplayMate Video Edition at a resolution of 1024x768. At this setting there was a small amount of over-sharpening on text and desktop icons, but we quickly corrected this by reducing the sharpness level. Apart from some small issues, the TV's performance when connected to a PC was good. We didn't notice any discolouration or noise in the greyscale tests, and there wasn't any contrast stepping either. There were some banding issues in the horizontal resolution test, but this was to be expected. Since the native resolution is 1366x768 and the maximum supported PC resolution is 1024x768, some interpolation is required. This isn't a big problem though and shouldn't affect the TV's overall ability to display images from a PC.
Design, speakers, tuner
The design of this unit is quite attractive. It has a black bezel and a silver speaker system located under the panel. In the middle of the speaker, the on/off switch is adorned by a blue neon light. Even though the light fits in with the overall aesthetic of the unit, we're happy that it can be switched off. The TV has good connectivity: two HDMI, one Component, one S-Video and five composite connectors, as well as a VGA port for a PC, are all available.
The speakers are located below the panel and produce rich sound up to about 90% volume, at which point they start to distort and exhibit some case resonance. However, at 90% the volume is so loud that we seriously doubt anyone will even use it long enough to notice the distortion. The clarity of the audio is remarkable, with excellent frequency separation and with bass that doesn't overpower. Best of all, the speakers are quite powerful and very loud; even at 15% there was a lot of volume. At 50%, the volume became too loud for the average living room. It's good to see a TV manufacturer take speakers seriously. We have seen far too many TVs that have mediocre speakers systems, so the Cinemo is a nice change.
Finally, the unit has an integrated HDTV hybrid tuner, which can pick up both analogue and digital signals. However, its default setting is analogue, so if you want to use the digital tuner you have to go into the AV menu and select it manually. The remote doesn't have a button dedicated to switching to the digital tuner. This would be tolerable if the menu system wasn't so sluggish and frustrating. The automatic tuning took longer than most units we have reviewed; it took almost 5 minutes. However, it picked up all of the stations in our area and the image quality of digital TV channels didn't disappoint. Analogue channels looked mediocre, but this is to be expected.
Overall, the Grundig Cinemo GLCD4600HD is a mid-range TV that provides good performance at a reasonable price. It doesn't have the superior image quality of a high-end TV, but it does an exceptional job of displaying DVDs and, while its high definition performance isn't perfect, it's still rather good and should suit most users' needs.
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