Linsar LED906 (22LED906T) LED LCD DVD Combi TV Review

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A TV/DVD Combi from that rarest of beasts, a British TV brand

by Steve Withers Aug 8, 2012 at 12:00 AM

  • TV review

    Linsar LED906 (22LED906T) LED LCD DVD Combi TV Review
    SRP: £230.00

    Introduction

    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.

    Design and Connections

    The 22LED906 sports Linsar’s '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 can’t 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 it’s 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.

    Menus

    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 doesn’t come as a surprise considering the smaller screen size, the LED906 has a 1080p panel so it’s a shame not to take full advantage of it. The Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) is fairly monochromatic and doesn’t 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 what’s 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 22LED906’s ‘Plug - Play - Record’ 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.

    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 couldn’t 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.

    Test Results

    To establish the most accurate out-of-the-box settings we started by choosing an aspect ratio of Full which pixel maps the incoming high definition signal to the 22LED906‘s 1080p panel. Full is only an option if the TV is receiving a high definition signal and strangely it isn’t even mentioned in the manual but if you’re watching high definition content via one of the two HDMI inputs then this is the aspect ratio you should choose. The default setting is Auto and this, or 16:9, are suitable if you only intend to watch standard definition content from either the inbuilt Freeview tuner of DVD player.

    Once you have set the correct aspect ratio, you then select the correct picture mode which in the case of the 22LED906 is Cinema. You can then set the Contrast and Brightness settings to suit your environment, in our case this was 32 for Brightness (which was also the default setting) and 50 for Contrast. We used a test pattern to determine that zero was the best setting for the Sharpness control and we left the Colour control at its default position. We turned the Power Save Mode Off because it interferes with the picture quality and the 22LED906 uses almost no power anyway. We also turned the Noise Reduction control off, although you might want to experiment with this control if you are watching a particularly noisy DVD or TV broadcast.

    The LED backlight on the 22LED906 has no problems in pumping out a fair amount of brightness, so much so that even on a minimum setting, we could easily hit our target of 120cd/m2. Finally, in the Advanced Settings sub-menu we checked which Colour Temperature had been selected in the Cinema mode and as we suspected it was Warm. We also checked that Film Mode was on, that the correct aspect ratio (Full) was selected under Picture Zoom, that HDMI True Black was set to on and that the Colour Shift was left at zero.

    As you can see from the graphs above, the position is much improved over the defaultDynamic mode, although it is still not ideal. Red and blue are now tracking close together, if a little underpowered but there is a large excess of green, resulting in noticeable errors. In fact the entire image has a green tinge that is obvious on both stair step patterns and normal viewing material. The gamma is improved but still far too bright, hitting 1.5 when our target is 2.2. The colour gamut is also improved over the default setting but again there is an excess of green in terms of brightness and saturation and a sizable error in terms of hue. These error appear worse in the graphs than they do when actually watching normal viewing material but there was an obvious green hue to everything.

    As we mentioned previously the 22LED906 has no calibration controls, not even a two point white balance, which makes further calibration impossible. We tried to improve the colour performance slightly by adjusting the Colour control and the Colour Shift control but were unable to make any real improvements. Therefore the final out-of-the-box measurements shown above represent the final calibrated performance of the 22LED906. Of course, the 22LED906 is a small screen TV/DVD combi aimed at the lower end of the market and it is unlikely that anyone is going to calibrate the TV in their kitchen, so the absence of calibration controls is something of a moot point.

    As you may have noticed, we have started to add some new sections to our reviews, including a more detailed look at a display’s black level and contrast performance. There are two measures of the dynamic range of a display, the on/off contrast ratio which shows the difference between black and white from frame to frame and the ANSI contrasts ratio which shows the difference between black and white within the same frame. The ANSI contrast ratio is the better measurement because it is more realistic (you are unlikely to be looking at just a black screen or just a white screen) and because the on/off ratio is more open to manipulation from manufacturers. The on/off ratio is calculated by measuring the calibrated peak white output, using a full white pattern, and dividing it by the measurement for a totally black pattern. The ANSI ratio uses a checkerboard pattern of alternating black and white segments that give a much better indication of real world intra-frame contrast and by measuring each segment we also get a much better idea of the screen uniformity.

    As soon as we turned the 22LED906 on we could see that the panel was darker at the top than at the bottom and this observation was backed by the ANSI measurements. As you can see on the table above, the blacks are blacker and the whites are less bright in the top half, compared to the bottom half. We are not sure why this might be, it might well be a fault with the panel or it could just be that the LEDs are along the bottom, either way the difference was less obvious when looking down at a slight angle at the 22LED906. Aside from this problem the uniformity of the backlight was good with no bright corners or clouding but then you would expect that on a screen this small. In terms of actual numbers we measured white at 120cd/m2 and black at 0.12cd/m2, giving an on/off contrast ratio of 1000:1 and we measured the ANSI contrast ratio at 895:1, all of which are fairly mediocre.

    The 22LED906 actually performed reasonably well in the video processing tests, although it is obviously benefiting from a much smaller screen size. Like the other Vestel processing we have seen, the scaling of standard definition shows a little softness so your DVDs might not look the best but it can be of benefit with some broadcast TV. With the Film Mode engaged the 22LED906 was able to pick up both the NTSC 2:3 cadence and the PAL 2:2 equivalent, which is something that tripped up the Finlux TVs and even some Samsungs recently. Video deinterlacing was also good with jaggies only appearing when the line was at an acute angle in the first test and slight jaggies appearing on the bottom of the three moving bars in the second. The 22LED906 also had no problems showing details up to video level 255 and down to video level 16, which means you are getting all the details in shadows and peak whites. Initially the 24p performance looked good but we noticed ‘shredding’ as the moving wedge pattern went towards the top of the screen and this problem was also noticed when watching normal 24p content.

    We should just point out that the measurements were taken with our old camera method rather than with the yet input lag tester because we’re waiting for one to be delivered, however the 22LED906 performed extremely well. In fact it delivered an average input lag measurement of just 18ms in Game mode, which is very low. No doubt this is a benefit of not actually having too many picture processing features but it does make the 22LED906 a handy little display for the serious gamer.
    • Standby: 0W
    The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
    • Out-of-the-Box Dynamic Mode: 19W
    • Calibrated Cinema Mode: 17

    DVD Performance

    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

    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.

    Conclusion

    6
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    Pros

    • Easy to use menus
    • Good video processing
    • Excellent input lag
    • Well designed remote control
    • Very low energy usage
    • DVD player works well

    Cons

    • No calibration controls
    • Tearing at top of image in 24p
    • Image appears darker in top half of screen
    • Colour gamut could be more accurate
    • Greyscale could be more accurate
    You own this Total 0
    You want this Total 0
    You had this Total 0

    Linsar LED906 (22LED906T) LED LCD DVD Combi TV Review

    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.


    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £230.00

    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    7

    Screen Uniformity

    7

    Colour Accuracy

    5

    Greyscale Accuracy

    5

    Video Processing

    7

    Picture Quality

    6

    Sound Quality

    5

    Smart Features

    5

    Build Quality

    6

    Ease Of Use

    8

    Value for Money

    6

    Verdict

    6

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