What is the Cello P50ANSMT-4K?
It accepts 4K signals but is not HDR compatible for any of the current standards, and it uses Android tablet TV (version 4) for the smart system, so you can side-load apps or use those already in the app store. This is a different implementation of Android than used by current Philips and Sony TVs, it is quite basic in comparison. Being an IPS panel it also has excellent viewing angles of up to 89 degrees horizontal and vertical before the image washes out and it has an LED backlight, but no local dimming.
AVForums members have asked us to look at this end of the market in the past, so can this Cello deliver a bargain high-quality image or is it best relegated to the kitchen or bedroom? Let’s find out.
The TV is thicker than edge lit panels and there is a further raised section in the middle of the rear, which houses the connections and electronics. Everything is made from plastic and the weight of the set is only 12.75Kg, which does give the impression of cost savings being made with the build quality. Compared to the recently reviewed Hisense H55U7A, which can be bought for £579, this Cello TV feels very basic in terms of build and materials used.
To the bottom of the remote we have coloured keys, direct keys for HDMI and USB sources and player controls. There is also a large ‘Air Remote’ logo at the bottom of the controller. This works in a similar fashion to the LG Magic remote, but is nowhere near as good. You plug in the supplied USB receiver to one of the Android USB ports and by pressing the mouse key on the remote you now have access to a pointer that you can move around within the smart TV functions, by moving the remote. Now with the review sample supplied by Cello this receiver was in the remote bag, but there was also a flyer stating that you need to pay £20 to activate this feature, although it worked for us out of the box. We have asked Cello to clarify if this will be the case for retail versions.
Selecting the TV tuner did turn out to be confusing as it is classed as the Smart TV system and a number of times this either crashed or just hung for ages while it opened up the Android system. Pressing the direct TV button on the remote control didn’t work at all. So we did find that slightly odd, as well as the number of channels we receive. There were no problems on our long-term OLED test TVs but some channels were missing in this tuner, no matter how often we tried to get them with a re-tune.
Once you get used to how to bring up the channel listings and EPG it is easy enough to navigate around the channels and make selections, but it doesn’t feel very slick or intuitive, unlike like the majority of set-top boxes from Sky, Humax or BT.
In the end, we found the best way to use the Cello P50ANSMT-4K was with a separate set-top box and Apple TV, using the TV as a monitor only, which is a little damming on the functionality of the Cello. Also be aware that the P50ANSMT-4K applies an approximate 5% overscan crop to HDMI sources and you have to go into the menu system and change the HDMI mode to PC Mode to switch off overscan.
One aspect of the Cello that some users may like is that this Android system allows sideloading of apps and software, so you can access Kodi and similar without any issues. Obviously, although Kodi is an open source and legitimate piece of software it doesn’t take a genius to work out what else could be used with the system, a use we do not condone.
Our feedback to Cello would be to get the Smart system up to date and working in a manner that is comparable to the major brands. Using a system designed for a mobile or tablet is never going to work with a TV set that uses a remote control. For example, the YouTube app is unusable without an Air remote and keyboard, whereas the same app on the - not that much more expensive - Hisense was a doddle to use with the remote control only. With some viewers actually watching YouTube more than normal terrestrial TV the interface needs to be much more usable. We also think that the menu system has to offer more options, which we will go into more detail further in the review.
At a glance, the feature set seems to be very good with Android Smart TV with most of the major catch up services and on-demand streaming apps being available. There is Wi-Fi built-in along with the air remote with pointer for using with the smart system, and it has a strong design along with the built-in soundbar. So on the surface at least it appears to have lots of bases covered.
Our feedback to Cello is that the picture modes have to be far better in terms of image quality and fidelity (more on that later) and there has to be at least a hidden advanced menu for those who want more adjustment. There absolutely has to be a gamma selection that tracks luminance correctly for normal content that is designed to be viewed with a curve between 2.2 and 2.6 which we will cover more in the picture assessment. We understand the market that Cello is selling to, but even that market deserves some options that reflect the content they are watching and the standards they are mastered to.
Out of the Box Measurements
The problem the Cello has is that by going for simplicity of use, they have not added in picture controls of any worth and as such we are at the mercy of what their engineers think an accurate image is, and we are guessing it will not be to the industry standards. We chose the Personal picture mode after measuring all those available. It is the only preset that has basic controls available for picture adjustment.
Moving to the colour gamut (top right) and that cyan push seen in the greyscale is obvious here as it pulls the gamut and saturation tracking over towards cyan. This causes issues from 75% saturation and below and is annoying because if the greyscale and gamma were accurate, then this Cello TV would have been able to get pretty close to the industry standards.
Our feedback to Cello is pretty obvious and that is to get an image preset that has good greyscale tracking and to add a gamma selection to the picture menus for 2.0 to 2.6 and also include ITU BT.1886. If they managed to do that then the TV would at least have a fighting chance of being able to show content as it was mastered and should be viewed. Yes, it might be a budget TV, but every TV should be able to show content as it is mastered, as it’s first priority, or why bother at all.
However having been able to make some very basic adjustments to the greyscale we were able to reduce the cyan push of the colour gamut (top right). Again it points to a missed opportunity by Cello as most of the saturation tracking points were close to being where they should be for an accurate Rec.709 image, but of course, luminance is way off.
It is a shame that Cello have not included a gamma selector or curve to the P50ANSMT-4K and a quick greyscale alignment from the factory, as doing so would suddenly give this TV a fairly accurate image to the standards used to master our TV and Film content and allow us to view them properly. If people then want to switch to brighter and more garish modes, that’s fine, but a TV must have at least one preset that is as accurate as possible, otherwise, it isn’t doing its job.
Cello P50ANSMT-4K General Performance
Viewing angles and panel uniformityThe P50ANSMT-4K is using an IPS LCD panel and as such the viewing angles are very good with contrast and colour managing to look decent until you get quite far off axis. This means that for a normal living room where some viewing positions are not central to the screen, those viewers should get a balanced image and not one that is washed out like a VA panel would be.
The Cello also has an LED backlight, which also manages to do a decent job with just the occasional sign of dark corners and some patchiness and blotching of the backlight on the panel, and DSE (Dirty Screen Effect) is visible with some content. Football content did suffer from DSE with most of the image being green from the pitch, which highlighted it more. It was harder to notice with everyday TV programs and news bulletins, but as the viewing surroundings got dimmer in the evening, we did notice the dim corners and uneven uniformity more.
Black levels and contrast performanceBeing an IPS panel the drawbacks are with the contrast performance, as opposed to a VA panel which is strong in this area with excellent blacks and more contrast. The panel here wasn’t the brightest, nor did it have a great contrast performance, mainly due to the terrible gamma tracking blowing out detail and the panel only being able to hit 140nits brightness at its peak. Blacks measured 0.20nits, which meant that overall on/off contrast was 700:1 which is quite low by today’s standards.
Motion handling and video processingThere is no frame interpolation on the Cello P50ANSMT-4K and we didn’t find any major issues with motion with the majority of content we viewed. 24fps material is played back well with no signs of induced judder from the processing and image blur is in the source. We did notice some edge trailing now and again with faster moving scenes and 50i material did have a slight micro stutter every now and again with TV viewing, under scrutiny, although it was hard to see if you didn’t notice it straight away, you needed to go looking for it.
Input LagWe measured a lag of 58ms in all the picture modes, which is just a tad high for competitive gaming with some genres. It’s certainly a screen you need to demo if gaming is important and you must have this TV.
Sound QualityGiven we have a soundbar with stereo speakers providing a total output of 16W with 4 woofers and two tweeters, we found the sound to be functional at best and a little sibilant if pushed too hard. However, used as an everyday TV the soundbar does a perfectly reasonable job of conveying what is happening on screen. We didn’t find the surround mode added much, other than a wider soundstage, but dialogue started to become lost. Overall it works as intended within the remit of this TV's price point.
Cello P50ANSMT-4K Picture Quality
Standard – is washed out and again suffers from the gamma issue of clipping bright detail within any image. Faces still look like everyone is addicted to Botox use and anyone wearing a white shirt looks very odd. Colours are more muted than dynamic but still far from being accurate, with whites looking blue.
Theatre – this is the one setting you would assume would try and get close to being accurate and it does try to add in a high contrast feel, but does so by hard clipping blacks and eliminating large parts of the darker parts of the image (I won’t say shadow detail as there is none in any preset). Gamma is still an issue and brighter parts of the image are still blown out, so you have clipping at both ends of the image and not a lot to like in-between. You can probably start to see a pattern here.
Personal – This is the only picture mode that allows any kind of adjustment to the brightness, contrast, sharpness and colour, but like all the others we have no control over gamma. We can however adjust the white balance in the personal mode as well (and can apply this to the other presets) but you can’t do this by eye, only a calibrator or someone with the necessary kit can do this, so defeats the purpose at this price point.
Image quality is based on the Standard mode as a starting point in Personal, which isn’t ideal, but then none of the image presets are good here. Even when calibrated, image quality is compromised by the gamma not following a curve. We didn’t enjoy watching anything on the Cello and we would really like to see the company take on some feedback and implement this to the TV. We don’t think it will take much to improve the performance dramatically.
The TV accepts 4K Ultra HD signals and displays them without HDR and does so to a good standard with motion, resolution and no signs of posterisation of higher bitrate content. Colour and gamma are still an issue that affects image quality.
Feedback for Cello – We understand that this TV is built to a price point and accept that the audience is perhaps not the type of person who would visit and use AVForums. But at the same time, the job of a TV is to display images and sound as close as possible to how that content was mastered and intended. Otherwise, it is just the interpretation of the engineers on what an image should look like, and they are not the creators or artists.
There are clear standards that have been laid down for decades on what an image should look like, and it is the opinion of AVForums that at least one picture setting on any TV should be set up to get as close as possible to display an image to that standard. AVForums has been lobbying TV manufacturers since 2005 on this subject and we are pleased to see that every major brand now realises that director or content creator intent is important and have at least one mode (usually more) that try to get to the standards.
What we have seen from the Cello P50ANSMT-4K is promising because it would only take some slight changes and adding new settings (which probably exist in the service menu and software already in the TV). We saw this recently with electriQ and their OLED TV and just by fixing some of the issues the image was immediately more viewable. We believe you can still have a budget TV aimed at the mass market, which has excellent picture quality, is easy to use, and has everything we suggest you add. Over to you Cello.
- Good viewing angles
- Soundbar built-in
- Can accept 4K content (not HDR)
- Picture quality suffers in every mode due to gamma not tracking a curve at all
- Picture controls are very basic
- Air remote difficult to use with pointer
- Android TV is dated, crashes and is for tablet and mobile devices, not a TV
- Poor contrast and panel uniformity issues
Cello P50ANSMT-4K Review
We know that is a bit of a leap when the product we are actually reviewing performs poorly in the tests and assessment, but there are enough glimpses of what could be achieved to make us think the company could introduce them and still have a product in the same price bracket, but one that performs well to the accepted industry standards. Yes, consumers at this end of the market probably don’t care at all about standards, or director’s intent or good image quality, but a TV must, in our opinion, have at least one image preset that tries hard to do that, or it will never score highly in our reviews.
We really hope that Cello takes our feedback and assessment in the spirit in which it is intended and that is to focus on small improvements that could turn this TV and future models from the company, into excellent value for money products with more accurate image quality. We look forward to seeing more from this British company and the AVForums door is open to pointing them to what our readers will be looking for in a TV.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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