Linsar LED906 (22LED906T) LED LCD DVD Combi TV Review
A TV/DVD Combi from that rarest of beasts, a British TV brand
The model we have for review is the Linsar 22LED906T 22 inch Full HD LED LCD TV with built-in DVD player, Freeview tuner and full UK specifications. Also available is the Linsar 19LED906T 19 inch Full HD LED LCD TV and the Linsar 24LED906T 24 inch Full HD LED LCD TV which have not been reviewed here, although they offer the same features and a similar performance.
You might not be familiar with the name Linsar because until recently they have concentrated on smaller screen sizes and TV/DVD combis. However they are now moving into other areas including larger sizes, passive 3D and their own smart TV platform. This strategy will bring them into direct competition with the industry's big boys but what makes Linsar different from almost every other TV brand you'll see on the market is that they're a British company based down in Bournemouth. Of course the TVs aren't actually made in the UK, like many other brands including the recently reviewed Finlux 40S8070 and 46S6030 models, the TVs themselves are all made at Vestel's gigantic factory in Turkey. However, it is Linsar that choose the various designs and components, fashioning a TV that they feel caters to specific needs in the UK market.
The 22" LED906 represents Linsar's bread and butter up until now, with a 1080p LED LCD panel and a built-in DVD player. The feature-set is fairly basic but then you wouldn't expect the full monty on a 22" screen aimed at someone's kitchen, office or bedroom. The company believes that what the LED906 offers is a well made product that provides value without compromising the performance. In fact they're confident enough in their product to offer a five year guarantee on their TVs and a 2 year guarantee on the DVD players. They also pride themselves on the quality of their customer service, offering a UK based helpline that is staffed by people that actually know the products. This all sounds great in theory but let's see how the 22LED906 performs in practice.
The overall design of the 22LED906 is quite attractive and despite its plastic construction it has a solid feel. The stand provides ample support but it would have been nice if you could swivel it. The remote control might appear slightly large at first but it is comfortable to hold and well laid out. There are a reasonable set of connections including two HDMI inputs, an aerial socket, a SCART input and a VGA connector at the rear and a Common Interface (CI) slot, a headphone socket and a USB port at the side.
The Menu system is well planned, informative and easy to follow and setting up the 22LED906 was very straightforward. The Freeview tuner is only standard definition which is a shame because it means you can't take full advantage of the 22LED906's 1080p panel but the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) is easy to read, if a little monochromatic. The USB port on the side means you can listen to music and look at photos from a USB drive and you can use it to record programmes via the EPG.
In terms of video processing the 22LED906 performed very well and deinterlaced and scaled any standard definition content to match the high definition panel. There was a hint of softness but this could be an advantage with many of the more compressed TV channels and overall the images were free of jaggies or other unwanted artefacts. The details in shadows and peak whites were excellent and the blacks looked reasonable, thanks in part to the back light appearing quite uniform, although the screen was noticeably darker in the upper half of the panel. The screen didn't suffer from reflections and the off axis performance in the horizontal plane was very good, although we found the 22LE906 performed better when being looked down at a slight angle in the vertical plane. Motion handling with both standard and high definition content was very good but with 24p material, we noticed 'shredding' at the top of the image in the tests was also apparent when watching 24p Blu-rays.
The 22LED906's colour gamut and greyscale performances were rather poor, although the Cinema mode was certainly an improvement on the default Dynamic setting, and the absence of any calibration controls made further improvements impossible. Whilst we really aren't expecting comprehensive calibration controls on a 22" TV/DVD combi, a more accurate out-of-the-box performance would be appreciated. As a result of the inaccuracies in greyscale and gamut, there was an obvious green tinge to the image. However, the 22LED906 had an input lag of only 18ms which is excellent and would certainly make it an attractive choice for a serious gamer. The energy consumption was also impressive with the 22LED906 only drawing 17W in its calibrated mode.
Overall the Linsar 22LED906 was able to deliver a pleasant enough image, especially with standard definition content, which is what it will predominantly be used to show. It was also a competent DVD player that was both responsive and reasonably quiet in operation. Since the majority of the 22LED906's shortcomings won't be apparent with standard definition content and it will predominantly be used in kitchens, studies and bedrooms, its performance was more than adequate for that purpose. Ultimately though, we expected more at this price point and found ourselves slightly disappointed.
Design, Connections and Menus
The 22LED906 sports Linsarís 'Titanium' design which is essentially a gun metal grey finish with a brushed metal effect creating a two tone bezel. This bezel is 3cm wide at the top and sides and 4.5cm wide at the bottom. The rear is black in colour and the entire chassis is constructed of hardened plastic, giving it a reasonably solid and well made feel. The stand is also made of hardened plastic and shares the same gun metal grey and brushed metal effect seen on the bezel. The stand is reasonably solid in terms of support but it canít be swivelled which is a shame because that would make for easier positioning in the kind of smaller spaces the 22LED906 is most likely to be used.
On the right hand side of the screen, at the side, there - is the DVD slot and two basic controls - a play/pause button and a stop/eject button - as well as small notice telling you which way to insert the disc. The buttons have a very plastic feel but we found them to be reasonably responsive and the only button you are likely use is the eject button. On the left hand side there is also a small thumb wheel which can be used for basic controls such as on/off, volume up/down, programme up/down and source selection. The 22LED906 weighs 3.2kg and the overall dimensions are 37.6cm high by 53cm wide by 13.4 deep, with the increased depth obviously to accommodate the DVD player.
Unsurprisingly the remote control is almost identical to the one provided with the Finlux TVs we reviewed recently. It is quite large and made of black plastic with a rubber feel to the back, which makes it comfortable to hold and easy to use. Whilst the size of the remote might seem out of proportion to the size of the TV itself, they are of course mass produced for multiple screen sizes. However there is another reason, Linsar feel that the bigger design benefits certain customers who might appreciate larger buttons. This logic is carried over into the layout, with the main controls well positioned along the central half of the remote, although the EPG button could be more prominent. There are all the controls you would expect to see, such as source, info, menu etc., plus the Screen button which changes the aspect ratio and the Presets button which can be used to select the different picture modes. The design does a good job of combining all the controls for a TV and a DVD player, although the play/pause/stop/skip/scan buttons could have been laid out in a more ergonomic fashion and itís worth noting that the button for selecting the menu on a DVD is called Root.
The 22LED906 has a reasonable set of connections, especially when you consider that a DVD player is built in and where the TV will most likely be used. At the rear there are two HDMI inputs, a VGA input, a SCART connector, a SPDIF coaxial output and an aerial socket. At the side there is a headphone socket, an AV socket, a USB port and a CI (Common Interface) slot.
The 22LED906 is very easy to connect and install and we had the Freeview tuner set up in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately it is only a standard Freeview tuner and whilst that doesnít come as a surprise considering the smaller screen size, the LED906 has a 1080p panel so itís a shame not to take full advantage of it. The Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) is fairly monochromatic and doesnít have any audio or a thumbnail picture but it is clearly laid out and easy to follow.
If you hit the Source button on the remote then, depending on whatís connected, you can choose between TV, SCART, Side AV, SCART-S, DVD, HDMI1, HDMI2, YPbPr and VGA. If you press the Menu button then you will see a series of icons across the centre of the screen, the options are Picture, Sound, Settings, Install and Retune, Channel List and Media Browser.
The Install and Retune sub-menu can be used to setup the Freeview tuner, although you are given the option to do that when you first turn the 22LED906 on, and the Channel List allows you to organise the TV channels in the EPG. The Media Browser sub-menu allows you to use the 22LED906ís ĎPlug - Play - Recordí feature to watch movies, view photos or listen to music from a connected USB thumb drive. You can also record programmes from the Freeview tuner to a USB drive using the record and time shift features in the EPG. You can use the control buttons on the remote for watching movies, listening to music or playing back recording off a connected USB drive. In terms of file support you can watch movies using mpeg, dat, vob and avi files, you can listen to music using mp3 files and look at photos using jpeg and bmp files.
In the Settings sub-menu there are combined controls for both the TV and the built-in DVD player and here you can select Conditional Access settings if you are using the CI slot, you can configure the Language settings, you can configure the Parental settings, set the Timers, set the Date/Time, enable and disable the different sources and various Other Settings.
The Sound Settings allow you to set the volume (although you can also do that directly from the remote of course), as well as the Equaliser, the Balance, the Headphone volume, the Sound Mode (Movie, Music, Speech, Flat, Classic and User), Automatic Volume Levelling (AVL), Dynamic Bass and Digital Out. Overall the sound was passable but very limited, regardless of which settings you chose, but again given the size of the screen and where the TV will be used, you couldnít expect much better.
The Picture Settings menu allows you to choose the Picture Mode (Cinema, Natural, Game and Dynamic), as well as set all the usual controls such as Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness and Colour. There is also a Backlight control with four settings - minimum, medium and maximum or auto, a Power Save Mode and a Noise Reduction feature with options for low, medium, high or off. Finally there is an Advanced Settings sub-menu and in here you can select the Colour Temperature (Normal, Warm or Cool). You can also turn on the Film Mode for correct cadence detection, select the Picture Zoom (aspect ratio), set HDMI True Black on or off and select the Colour Shift, which appears to be a tint control. As you will notice there are no other controls, not even a basic two point white balance control, so calibration will be challenging.
As a DVD player the 22LED906 performed very well, although the side slot mechanism was a little slow to load and eject the discs. However once the disc was loaded the player brought up the menu screen very quickly and general navigation was easy and responsive. The menu system and setup was very straightforward and the only problem we had was initially working out which button brought up the disc menu, it turned out the correct button was called Root. Otherwise we found it easy to play and watch discs, scanning, skipping and pausing without any problems. The player was reasonably quiet in operation and you couldn't hear it spinning the disc when you were watching something.
In terms of picture quality the playback of DVDs obviously benefits from the smaller screen size but certainly well encoded discs looked excellent. The 22LED906's impressive video processing deinterlaced and scaled the standard definition images to fit the high definition panel with ease and although there was a hint of softness, overall users will be happy with the performance. It is certainly good enough watch DVDs in bed or keep the kids quiet over their breakfast, which is probably what the 22LED906's most likely purpose.
Picture Quality Ė 2D
The chances are that the majority of viewing on the 22LED906 will be standard definition, either from the built-in DVD player or from the Freeview tuner. In this respect the 22LED906 performed very well and deinterlaced and scaled any standard definition content to match the high definition panel. There was a hint of softness but this could be an advantage with many of the more compressed TV channels and overall the images were free of jaggies or other unwanted artefacts. The details in shadows and peak whites were excellent and the blacks looked reasonable, thanks in part to the back light appearing quite uniform, although the screen was noticeably darker in the upper half of the panel. The screen didn't suffer from reflections and the off axis performance in the horizontal plane was very good, although we found the 22LE906 performed better when being looked down at a slight angle in the vertical plane. The colours did have a slight green tinge to them, as was shown in the test results but the 22LED906 had brightness to spare and overall it delivered a perfectly watchable image that would be ideal for kitchens, studies or bedrooms.
Of course the 22LE906 has a full 1080p panel and there are two HDMI inputs if you wish to take advantage of this capability. It's unlikely that the majority of people will be hooking up a Blu-ray player in their kitchen but it's a shame the Freeview tuner isn't HD, although it's debatable how much advantage there would be on a 22 inch screen. When we watched high definition content on the 22LED906 the increased resolution was immediately obvious, even with a smaller screen, and images were nicely rendered and highly detailed with no dead pixels. The overall picture had all the advantages and disadvantages we have already mentioned and motion handling with both standard and high definition content was very good. Unfortunately with 24p material, the 'shredding' at the top of the image that we had noticed in the tests was also apparent when watching 24p Blu-rays. Whether this is a problem with 24p playback or just a fault with our review sample couldn't be ascertained but given it appeared at the top of the screen where the image was also darker it might be a fault.
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1080p LED LCD TV with Built-In DVD
Size: 22 inch television
Suggested price: £230
Reviewed 8th August, 2012 by Stephen Withers
To get the best out of your TV or projector, consider getting it calibrated.