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Cello C42T71DVB-3D review

Tom Morgan
11 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
450
inc VAT

A phenomenal value 3DTV, but it's not without its faults

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Specifications

42in, Freeview, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 2x HDMI

3DTVs have been on sale for over a year now, but they still carry a large price premium over standard sets. Cello’s new C42T71DVB-3D is an exception; the 42in passive 3DTV has a 1080p display, high quality IPS panel and four sets of 3D glasses for just £450. At this price, it could be the home entertainment bargain of the year, so we took a close look to see if it could hold up under scrutiny.

Cello C42T71DVB-3D

Although it won’t win any design awards, the C42T71DVB-3D looks moderately sleek from the front. Move to the side, however, and it’s clear to see its budget nature; at almost 11cm thick, it definitely won't look striking if wall-mounted. The glossy black plastic stand is basic, but strong enough to support the TV and let it swivel when needed.

Around the back of the set, connectivity is fairly limited, with just two HDMI ports, component, composite, SCART and S-video analogue inputs, plus auxiliary audio inputs. There’s also a VGA input and 3.5mm audio jack for connecting a PC or laptop.

Cello C42T71DVB-3D ports

Finally, a USB port at the side of the set will let you attach a memory stick or portable hard disk. Unusually for a budget TV, the Cello has excellent file format support; almost all our test files were recognised, with the exception of .divx files. Audio file formats were just as well supported as video, although image display is limited to JPEGs only.

Cello C42T71DVB-3D portsd

The USB port can also be used to turn the TV into a limited function PVR; plug in a flash drive and you can start recording immediately, without having to format first. Surprisingly, you can then connect the flash drive to a PC and copy off your recordings, which are saved as MPEG2 videos. Very few TVs can do this, as almost all require you to format your storage device to a proprietary format first.

The icon-based menu system is basic but responsive and easy to navigate, and the electronic programme guide (EPG) only covers half the screen, so you can continue to watch one channel while searching for another. The range of image settings is quite limiting; with control over brightness, contrast, colour saturation and sharpness, as well as noise reduction and colour temperature, you’ll struggle to tweak the picture to your exact preferences.

Cello C42T71DVB-3D remote

There aren’t online features such as catch-up TV or social networking channels, so you’ll need an additional set-top box if you want them. Without an integrated Freeview HD tuner, you’ll also need another unit to watch free-to-air high definition channels. This is a shame, as the C42T71DVB-3D struggles with standard definition broadcasts; even on the high-quality channels such as BBC One, images looked fuzzy and pixelated. Lower quality channels look even worse, with lots of noise artefacts and a real lack of detail.

That’s not to say that overall picture quality is poor; once we connected a Blu-ray player and tried some high definition video, things improved significantly. We were expecting a slightly better picture than the average budget TV because of the IPS panel, but were still pleasantly surprised at how good an image you can get for £450. Films looked crisp, although we noticed some definite blur in fast-moving scenes.

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