Design and Connections
Along the top are some basic controls for the TV itself, including power, vol+/-, ch+/-, menu and source. At the top right hand side of the chassis there is a manual release button for the disc tray, which needs to be pulled out in order to attach a disc. Whilst this approach might not sound very elegant, it does at least offer a more tactile and robust approach that might prove popular with younger hands. The rear of the chassis is made of matte black plastic, with ventilation grilles at the top and downward firing speakers at the bottom. There is a hard wired power cable that is 1.3m long.
The Alba has a bare bones set of connections, comprising a single HDMI input, a SCART connector, a USB port (which appears to serve no purpose) and a composite video connector with stereo analogue inputs, all facing downwards. At the side, 9cm in from the edge, there is an aerial socket, a headphone socket and a CI (Common Interface) slot.
In the Features menu, you can control the Child Lock, the Language, the Clock, the OAD, Auto SCART, CI Info and Auto Standby. Finally in the Setup menu there are controls for OSD Timer, Sleep Timer, Aspect Ratio, HDMI Setup, Blue Screen, Reset to Default and First Time Installation. In the HDMI Setup Menu there is a choice of Overscan and Underscan, you need to select Underscan which is Alba's interesting name for pixel mapping. You also need to ensure that you select an Aspect Ratio of 16:9 but you can access the Aspect Ratio options directly from the remote control.
As you can see the Greyscale is still showing sizeable errors but now it has too much red, giving everything a reddish tinge. However, whilst far from ideal, the overall errors are better than the other two options of Cool and Standard, so it's the best of a bad bunch. The three primary colours are actually tracking in straight lines, so it's a shame there isn't a two point white balance control, as the errors would be easy to fix. The Gamma curve is still set too low and the picture remains somewhat washed out as a result. The Colour Gamut still has some significant errors, especially in red, which considering the greyscale doesn't come as a surprise. However the secondary colours are certainly better but there is still a pull towards yellow in both red and green.
The Alba doesn't have a dedicated Game mode but given the general lack of features and image processing, it was able to deliver an input lag of just below 37ms which is actually quite good when compared to many other displays this year. It would certainly make a reasonable screen for gaming, especially for a younger child where some of the display's other limitations won't really matter.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box Standard Mode: 17W
- Calibrated User Mode: 16W
- Using the built-in DVD player: 20W
In terms of picture quality the playback of DVDs obviously benefits from the smaller screen size and certainly well encoded discs looked reasonably good. However, the Alba's poor video processing meant that the deinterlacing and scaling of standard definition images to fit the high definition panel resulted in some stair stepping and jaggies. Despite the panel itself being 1080p, given the size, the lack of a Freeview HD tuner and a built-in DVD player, the majority of the content watched on the Alba will undoubtedly be standard definition, so it's disappointing that the video processing isn't better.
The Alba uses a full 1080p panel and there is a single HDMI input 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 to the Alba and 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. However, to our surprise the Alba actually handled high definition content very well and motion handling and detail were very good, even on a screen this small. In fact the increased resolution was immediately obvious and images were nicely rendered and highly detailed with no dead pixels. Freed from the limitations of the poor video processing, the Alba was able to show what it was capable of and it's a shame that it isn't stronger in those other areas because with high definition content the display actually has potential.
- 1080p images looked good
- Decent motion handling
- Good backlight uniformity
- Easy to use menus
- Good input lag
- Very low energy usage
- Poor contrast ratio and dynamic range
- Colour gamut could be more accurate
- Greyscale could be more accurate
- No calibration controls
- Poor deinterlacing and scaling
- Failed 2:2 cadence detection
- Disc operation noisy
- Badly designed remote control
Alba (AELKDVD2288R) LED LCD DVD Combi TV Review
The Alba's all-plastic construction comes in a range of funky colours, which would be appealing to children, and the manual disc tray and tactile buttons might prove more robust in a kid's bedroom. The rear connections are basic but should cover most bases, whilst the setup is easy and the menu system is simple to navigate, which once again might prove popular with the younger members of the household. However, the remote control is poorly designed in terms of ergonomics, with the tiny buttons laid out in symmetric rows, making intuitive use difficult.
The default greyscale and colour performance are wildly inaccurate but sadly the preferred settings are only a slight improvement and the absence of any calibration controls makes further improvements impossible. The video processing is a real disappointment when it comes to standard definition material, which given the built-in DVD player and lack of Freeview HD will be the dominant content. The Alba actually handled high definition content quite well but it seems unlikely that such material will be viewed that often. Aside from the video processing, the built-in DVD player performed quite well, although it is quite noisy in operation.
On the plus side, the screen is reasonably free of reflections and the backlight is pleasantly even, although the black levels and dynamic range are poor. The Alba is also very energy efficient, even when playing a DVD and the input lag is reasonable. However, the Alba has too many limitations for us to recommend it, even at such a low price, and we would suggest those looking for better performance consider one of the more mainstream brands. However with its funky colours, cheap price and easy operation, the Alba might prove popular with those looking for a TV for their kid's bedroom.
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
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