Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
Laser DVBT-ST35 portable TV
Laser's portable television is a good idea in theory, but you'll have to be in an area with good reception to get the most out of it
- Portable, reasonable price
- No multimedia playback, poor internal antenna
If you're in a metropolitan area with good digital television reception then Laser's DVBT-ST35 portable TV is a cute novelty. If you're a reception black-spot, though, it becomes an expensive paperweight.
Price$ 229.95 (AUD)
The Laser DVBT-ST35 is a 3.5in portable LCD TV with a touch screen and an internal digital television tuner and aerial. It has a rechargeable battery, so you can use it to watch TV on the move, but a poor internal antenna means the unit is only useful in areas with strong digital television reception.
The Laser DVBT-ST35 portable TV comes with a swag of goodies: a soft fabric carry bag, a pair of earphones, a wall socket for charging the battery (as well as a USB charging cable) and a collapsible antenna. You don’t need any of these for normal TV watching, though — you can just switch on the DVBT-ST35 and watch television. After you turn on the TV it takes 10 seconds until the main menu is presented, displaying options for DVB-T television, DVB-T radio and FM radio.
The touch screen of the Laser DVBT-ST35 is reasonably responsive. The on-screen items could have been bigger to allow easier input, but unless you have excessively large fingers you won’t have any problems tapping menu prompts or icons. Menu settings aren’t what we’d call extensive — the only picture adjustment options are for aspect ratio, subtitles and teletext, so users wanting to change the player’s screen brightness or contrast level are out of luck.
Digital television reception when we tested it in the northern suburbs of Sydney ranged from acceptable to poor when using the internal antenna. We found the full range of stations when we scanned in the North Sydney CBD, but reception suffered as we moved indoors. The bundled external antenna is able to clip on to the bezel of the Laser DVBT-ST35 — although it increases the bulk of the unit significantly — and it boosts digital television reception dramatically.
We found the screen of the Laser DVBT-ST35 acceptable for most situations. The viewing angles are reasonable — you can move it up and down and side to side a fair way before there's contrast and clarity are lost. The screen’s 320x240 pixel resolution and 400:1 contrast ratio are good enough for normal television viewing.
The internal speaker is crisp and has a high maximum volume, so you’ll be able to hear the latest news updates in your crowded train carriage — as long as you don’t mind annoying your fellow commuters. If you’re considerate, a 3.5mm jack allows headphones to be used.
The DVBT-ST35 has no multimedia card slot, which means you can’t display photos taken with your digital camera or play music stored on an SD card.
If you absolutely have to keep up with the latest digital TV broadcasts while on the go, Laser’s DVBT-ST35 is the only product on the market for you (short of a TV tuner for your notebook). Other people might be better served by a portable media player.
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