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ACER AT3201W 32" LCD Review

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by Xelon, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Xelon

    Xelon
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    First of all a brief background leading up to my purchase of the Acer AT3201W 32” LCD. I have been looking for a 32” plus LCD since last November, during which I have read many reviews and comments in this forum, which is why it has taken so long to make a decision. In a way the decision to go for the Acer was a compromise (or so I thought so), as given the choice I would off opted for a 37” 1080p panel with 1200:1 CR, 8ms RT, int. Freeview, Card reader, multiple HDMI/DVI inputs etc.. Etc... All for around 2K!

    As some of you will have concluded I would have been waiting well into next year, so when I saw DABS advertising the Acer for £799 incl. I decided to take a gamble and order as a stop gap.

    So onto my opinion of the Acer AT3201W:

    Looks: Very Classy nice Black Bezel frame with Silver speakers and bottom trim, speakers can be unscrewed, very happy score it 9/10 given the price.

    Connectivity: DVI (HDCP) VGA (D-SUB) Component, Composite, 2 Scart (1xRGB) SVideo, PC Audio Out, Audio Out/In, all cables supplied minus the DVI. I give it 9/10 would of got 10 with HDMI but hey at this price!

    PQ: I have a very strong Aerial signal as I had one professionally fitted to boost freeview reception, as such Freeview is absolutely superb on this panel, even from 2 metres away, providing it’s not one of the low bandwidth channels, I expected standard Freeview to look quite poor, I was wrong, believe the Acer must have a superb combi filter built in for cleaning noise on SD broadcasts. The panel is rated 800:1 CR and 12ms RT. Watched the Tennis and no problems with trails etc. DVD’s are also superb, even from my cheap Yamada player through the included SCART lead.

    Sound: Acceptable, the Acer has SRS WOW 10wpc RMS but I have connected to an external Sound System as I’m sure most people will do, as I say though it was quite acceptable.

    HTPC: This is one of the main reasons I wanted a large LCD panel, so I connected my Dell 9300 Laptop which has an external DVI input and an NVIDIA 6800 Go PCI Express Video Card. Now one of the main issues with current panels has been the 1366 x 768 resolution, not being available in the driver configuration, well I have good news, I used the latest NVIDIA Beta drivers, and without any custom resolutions I was able to set the resolution to 1366 x 768, I then connected the Laptop via DVI booted up and hey presto full screen bang on XP desktop, I believe it may be tricking the panel and actually using 1360 x 768, but it was pin sharp and looked DOT to DOT to me. I fired up Far Cry all settings maxed and it predictably looked awesome. Off subject a bit I ordered the Microsoft Elite Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard at the same time, an equally satisfying buy, as contrary to previous reports it played Far Cry and Half Life 2 fantastic. Connected USB2 Nova-T Freeview box, this looked better than normal freeview, DIVX, XVID where very watchable, and off course the WMV-HD clips from Microsoft looked awesome.

    Negatives: The Fan noise from the back is Audible, I’m hoping that the fan is thermally controlled, as it has been so hot this weekend it would have been spinning at full throttle.

    I will end this review saying something that I’m sure will annoy Philips owners, I’m not trying to incite a flame war, but I think the 9986 is arguably the current benchmark for 32” LCD TV’s, given the choice between the 9986 and AT3201W I would choose the Acer every time as I believe it has equal PQ and superior HTPC connectivity (well trodden subject) and yes I have viewed a 9986 in the flesh.

    At £799 it is a steal I would buy another if I had another room large enough.
     
  2. pixelpidgeon

    pixelpidgeon
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    Hi Xelon,

    Thanks for the in-depth review. Does indeed sound like a very good quality lcd, and a bargain at that price. As i currently have the Sky Dish and freeview only combo there shouldn't be any problem with tv picture signal.
    I will be looking to connect my denon dvd player via component, my laptop via vga (don't currently have dvi), and everything else via a shared rgb connection.

    I know im taking the mickey, but have you or anyone else viewd a standard xbox with the rgb high quality scart connection?... im presuming that the 360 xbox will connect to this lcd via the dvi connection?

    thanks again, pixelp
     
  3. mcduck

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    Good review thanks I am thinking of getting this or the Tosiba 32WL56.
    As far as I can make out the acer doesn't support NTSC. This may not be a problem I have only just stated to look at LCD screens. So not listing NTSC will it not support it at all? From xbox or R1 dvd's? I would have thought this would make no deference via 720P for example but is this still 50hz on pal and 60hz on NTSC if so very daft. Any views?
    Cheers
     
  4. Llanowar

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    Great review, hope you keep enjoying it, sometimes you start to notice things when you have it a bit longer, or when things you now point out as minor annoyances as very irritating in the long run, hope it doesn't happen for you :)
     
  5. Matt TRD

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    I was interested in this model until i contacted Acer and they told me that the unit does not support NTSC so i opted for the Hitachi 7200.

    Also a lot of people on here have complained about noise and the unit losing signal tracking.
     
  6. Xelon

    Xelon
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    Haven't tried an XBOX yet, probably this weekend when my nephew brings his, as for the xbox 360, no details on specific inputs, Microsoft not released that info yet, so maybe it will have HDMI or DVI maybe not, MS just quoting USB2 ports and memory slots, sounds interesting though as the 360 can be used as a media extender.

    Don't have Sky, maybe next year when Hi-Def available, now I've got a HD ready panel!
     
  7. Xelon

    Xelon
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    What do you mean by signal tracking? Channel drifting maybe? Haven't tried the in built analogue tuner as I use a Freeview Box, which gives superb PQ.
     
  8. pixelpidgeon

    pixelpidgeon
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    Xelon. do you remember roughly how long dabs took to deliver. from payment to the knock on the door? Thanks for your time helping me make a decision, which i havent quite yet! heh heh pixelp :rotfl:
     
  9. Xelon

    Xelon
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    Ordered on Monday (late pm) received Thursday, would of been quicker but Dabs put the order on hold due to a security check, had to use 2 different Credit Cards and mail customer services several times.

    Good Luck!
     
  10. Chris The Ninja

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  11. brakepad

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    Xelon - great review, just wondering if you've fiddled with the PC-over-DVI settings any more since you wrote it?

    Specifically I'm interested to know whether you did actually get 1360x768@1:1 pixel mapping, or whether, as the TrustedReviews review suggests, the screen is upscaling to give the full 1366 horizontal res.

    Bottom of page 2, top of page 3, comments on pixel tracking:
    TrustedReviews review of Acer AT3201W

    Is there any option within the TV's menus to run at 1:1 pixel mapping over DVI?
     
  12. Barzo

    Barzo
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    Just received one of these, and it is going back on Friday. In so many ways an excellent set, but one fatal flaw. PAL prog scan. In either 625p or 750p over DVI (or 625p over component) motion such as camera pans shows judders. This from my Panny s97 and also from Pioneer 575 (component). Excellent interlace pic, including at 1080i, but as I bought the set to be HD ready in PAL prog scan (720) back it goes. Might not be a flaw for most people, but I found it disappointing and worth returning for. A pity, as it looks so good, has a slick operating system and had no dead pixels and a very even backlight across the screen. Also, motion in NTSC prog scan much better, suggesting that the screen is happier with 60HZ signals than 50HZ (interestingly, converting my PAL output from s97 to NTSC worked wonders for judder, except that general motion and colour seemed a little unnatural - players conversion at work here, I suspect)

    The hunt is on for another screen. Might have to look towards Tosh, as the Samsung R41/51B/D seems to have hamstrung itself with its 60Hz tearing issue. Ho hum.
     
  13. Bigice

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    hay Barzo, are you sure you have not just got the settings wrong?? As on the trusted reviews site it clearly staes it does progressive scan over component..... :eek:
     
  14. Barzo

    Barzo
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    No, all settings are correct. Very sorry to report the fault, but, as I say, there is definite judder and a fractional bit of tearing on camera pans in PAL prog scan, be it digitally fed or analogue fed. Not exactly stunning for a screen which claims, at least as far as the vague statements on the Acer website go, to be HD ready.

    Also, the familiar LCD problem of no deep black rears its head, but that is to be expected given the cost of the screen. Don't mean to be negative, but thought it important to give my impressions of this product. Have not tried it VGA to see if it is any better there.

    You know, I'm coming to the conclusion that it is still an analogue world, and that a high spec CRT will still comfortably outperform most LCD screens, as least as far as contrast and capability with lo-def sources are concerned. Have no idea if panning problems are common nowadays on LCD screens, but I know they used to be in the past.
     
  15. Xelon

    Xelon
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    Not tried PAL HD, but have viewed WMV-HD clips @ 720p, several XVID encoded HD US TV episodes, lots of PC Games in 720p + all through a HTPC using DVI and all have displayed perfectly and look glorious. :thumbsup:
     
  16. Barzo

    Barzo
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    Yes, I suspect it is all about what you intend to use it for. For you, it is clearly to be used as a screen for a PC, acting as a media hub. For me, it is as part of a seperates based home entertainment system. It is this context that it is found lacking, not because of the screen (which, given the even backlighting, excellent response, etc. is clearly very high quality), but the screen's inbuilt processing. 'Real world' AV sources, such as Freeview or SkyDigital, look pretty awful imho. The inherent blocking in these low rate sources comes out as smudging, and motion is awful, suggesting that the processing is really not that great. Don't get me wrong - a 1080i (1125i) source through this screen really has to be seen to be believed - superb. It is just that my needs and wishes are different than yours, and, sadly, as a TV the Acer does not excell in these situations.

    I also cannot forgive the PAL prog scan problems, even in such a well priced screen. Until it moves the 720(750)p image looks amazing, and clearly better than the 1080i upscaled image, due, no doubt, to the fact that it is closer to the resolution of the screen. The glitching with movement, however, which is absent with interlace signals and NTSC prog scan, is very poor. I know it is not the Panny's implementation of prog scan, as it works fine on my CRT set, and also because I tried the Pioneer 575 prog scan in PAL through component, with the same results in PAL prog scan vs NTSC prog scan (though, obviously, in vanilla prog scan, as that player has no upscaling).

    Like all things, you pays your money and makes your choice. It is clear to me that if I am going to get a screen that suits my needs, it is time to check out the processing from major brands - DNIE from Samsung, DIST from JVC (which I'm familiar with in its CRT incarnation), Hitachi's processing and Toshiba's acclaimed Active Vision. If I can find a screen with the spec of the Acer and good processing to deal with lower rate sources, I will be in LCD heaven. In fact, really, if I can find a screen like the ACER which handles PAL prog scan properly, I would still be very pleased. Time to hit the beat again, and see what I can see.
     
  17. Paul101

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    Hey Barzo

    If it's the Tosh 32WL56 you're thinking of and wanting component, then I think you're out of luck m8? ( and me! ) :(

    Maybe the lack of component is what is keeping the price down to the 800 quid mark. Shame it looks pretty good :rolleyes: .
     
  18. Barzo

    Barzo
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    Yes - it is annoying, but it is possible to use a component-VGA adaptor. I think I will hold out for the 32WL58, which DOES have a dedicated component output.
     
  19. Barzo

    Barzo
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    In case anyone else sees the problems with juddering motion in PAL prog scan with this TV, a solution might yet arise. I e-mailed Acer tech support when I returned the set (Friday last week), and today received the following:

    Thank you very much for informing us of your observations. I agree that an
    issue like this may well be rectified in a firmware revision. I have
    forwarded your email onto the relevant parties.


    Regards
    Acer Technical Support Team
    **********************
    Might be an idea to e-mail tech support, so that they have a notice of the issue from more than one source. Makes me no difference to me, of course, as I'm no longer an owner. :D
     
  20. markino

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    I'm interested in the 26" version of this (which presumably works exactly the same).

    Can anyone who has either the 26" or the 32" tell me if all the picture settings on this set are per input settings - ie can you set up each input differently and it will remember those settings individually?

    Also, does it remember which input you were on when it was switched off so that it comes back up on the same input when switched on?
     
  21. Shock_xe

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    just orderd one of these Acer 32" screens from Dabs, cant wait, Hope I made the right choice, Will be connecting it to a HTPC, Cat wait!!
     

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