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BenQ DV3250 has arrived !!!

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by DownToTheBone, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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  2. Dan Gleebitz

    Dan Gleebitz
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    Nice one!!

    Lots of nice Hi-Res images please! :D
     
  3. intraclast

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    Any new on your Dv3250? I'm really interested in knowing how you're getting on with it.
     
  4. Steviemacca

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    Hi Downtothebone, did you buy it from Benq and what price did you pay? Also it definitely appears to be HDCP compatible can you confirm this please.

    By the way some pictures would be great.

    Thanks.
    Steviemacca
     
  5. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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    OK all I'm gonna give an in-depth review later today. But just to answer a couple of things. I bought the set from Komplett @ £905 including delivery - it took 3 days to arrive.

    PQ - variable depending on source, especially tv. However DVD via component (prog scan) is superb and equivalent to the same on a CRT. DVD via scart (no prog scan) I'd say the CRT looks better. Hi-def trailers via DVI (720) takes the viewing experience to another level.

    One very interesting feature of the set is the fact you can switch off the scaler which means 1:1 pixel mapping is very easy to do. My PC has an ATI based card so I've been able to get upto 1360 by 768 with 1:1 mapping. In my mind LCD tvs and HTPCs are a perfectly suited.

    Main annoyance - the fan ... produces a significant hum but with the quality of the hi-def pics on offer I can certainly live with it. Remote is also just a bit too chunky for my liking.

    Also please note a friend of mine spoke to a BenQ reseller about this tv and they knew nothing about it apparently the model is not to be released onto the UK market until this Christmas. This may explain why the BenQ UK website has no details of any of their LCD tvs. I did however have details of the UK operations listed in the warranty booklet as well as being supplied with a UK 3 pin plug.

    How do I test that it is HDCP compatible?

    Anyway my PC has TheaterTek and FFDSHOW so I'm gonna go away and set this up properly. I've also quickly tried Far Cry, Pro Evo Soccer, Star Wars Republic Commando and GTA:San Andreas and all looked great apart from GTA which I couldn't get to work at all - strange. I'm actually going to build a dedicated HTPC over the next week or so with a Freeview card for telly viewing.

    OK thats it for now I will provide a more in-depth review this evening

    DTTB
     
  6. RockySpieler

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    The latest ATI generic drivers should give a 1366x768 display option.

    Works on both my 9500pro and 9800se aiw cards.

    Try downloading them.

    I found 1360x768 irritrating, screen wrapping side to side on my TV.

    Can you turn off the scaler on Component, and will component take 720p / 1080i, or is HD analogue only over DVI-A adapter?
     
  7. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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    Review:

    Firstly let me compliment the existence of this forum - without it I'd undoubtedly have not known or understood the minefield that it is when buying this and any LCD tv. I've also spent far too much time reading through threads only to come away striking another model off of my shortlist and getting to a point where I was either pulling out what hair I've got left or just resigning myself to the fact that this technology (as related to tvs) is still very immature and whatever model I end up with is going to be a compromise. A friend of mine is currently going through the motions of looking for an LCD and he really isn't interested in sitting for hours on end doing research - luckily I've managed to steer him clear of some models which to him seemed fine but on closer inspection would have been a waste of money in the 'longer term'.

    Frame of reference:

    My previous tv viewing was a Panasonic 100Hz 28" CRT. I've had it for about 6 or 7 years and I've been reasonably happy with it. I didn't use any of the picture processing functionality or very little. I've never used Freeview but have had cable in the past. DVD player is currently the Pioneer 575 but I've only ever used RGB Scart for the connection (no component on the telly). Despite this I thought the pic from DVDs was very good (setup was done using AVIA). Tv reception was fine.

    My experience of LCDs is limited to seeing them in the retailers and use of PC screens. So I haven't really spent time with a properly setup system. Although I've come across screens that provided that wow factor albeit usually running a DVD of an animated CGI feature. So bear this in mind when you read on - I'm comparing my everyday viewing experience of this LCD set with a CRT ...

    Reason for change:

    My flat is quite small and I was looking to recoup some of the space taken up by the CRT and also wanted a larger screen but was not prepared to live a behomoth of a 32" tube. With improvements in LCD technology coupled with falling prices I decided this was the way forward. Of course budget was a key factor and I wasn't prepared to pay more than a £1000. This turned out to be a little of a problem as a all the rave reviews and praise were being poured upon models in the £1300 and above category. Initially my attention was focussed on the Video7 V32 but the revelation that it was not HDCP compatible threw that one out the window. Then I spotted a posting about the BenQ models and the fact that they were using Faroudja technology. Knowing Faroudja's reputation and them having been in the imaging business for quite some time I thought I'd investigate. Unfortunately I couldn't find many real world reviews on the 3250 and the two I did find weren't really in-depth enough although they were positive. After much umming and aahhing I took the plunge last week and ordered it from Komplett.

    Before I took delivery I found out the set had not officially been released onto the UK market. I was concerned about warranty and contacted Komplett for clarification. They said they would provide the warranty if BenQ did not. I shall be contacting BenQ just to see what they say. Anyway it took three days to arrrive from time of order online.

    The Set:

    Visually the set is fairly non-descript silver colour - the surround is plastic so nothing snazzy here. Styling is simple in a rather geometric fashion. There are they usual technology logos along the bottom section of the surround with a raised BenQ logo in the centre. All the controls are located along the top of the set in a recessed channel. Speakers are not detachable and add quite significantly to the overall length of the set. There is an ir receiver in the bottom right near the power led. The screen itself is 31.5" rather than the 32". Presumably the pixels are smaller?? Don't know why the half inch was lost.

    The remote has all the necessary functions on board but for me is a little too chunky.

    Connections:

    On the left side behind the speaker there is an AV input - composite and SVHS along with a headphone output. The rear has a recessed area where all the main connectors are housed (see the manual for complete listing). The manual does not mention that one scart can handle RGB and the other scart SVHS. There are two component inputs (each with its own audio input), one VGA connector (with PC audio input) and a DVI/HDCP socket with audio input. Composite and SVHS as well.

    In use:

    When you first switch on the set the fan powers up quite lodly but within a second powers down to a more quiet operating speed. Despite this the whine/hum is still quite significant and I'd imagine would become annoying to others.
    Initial setup was quite fairly straight forward. Just select your country and broadcast system and off it goes searching the frequency range. Once the channels are found you can do the usual fine tuning. Picture quality out of the box is reasonable but I must admit that I was rather disappointed (again only due to the fact I was used to the CRT viewing) with the tv reception. There are a number of different preset picture modes along with two personal settings. Each input will remember it's last pre-selected mode but can also have its own personal settings as well. I decided to whip out the AVIA disc and run through the setup routine - this improved the picture significantly for all input signals. Having viewed the tv reception over the last few days I've now realised that the LCD is indeed highlighting all the faults with this 'low' bandwidth signal. Ghosting due to the aerial not being setup is now apparent where in the past the CRT had actually masked this flaw. Channel Five is the worst of all the channels. However picture quality changes depending on channel and program on view. For example I watched LOST on C4 yesterday and that looked great but I watched the US tv series The Magnificent Seven and that looked rather grainy - all appears to be content related rather than any issue with the set.

    DVD watching over standard scart and SVHS is no better than, if actually worse than CRT however switching to component and all changes for the better - significantly. Progressive scan from the Pio 575 is very nice indeed and re-watching films has provided detail and colouring I'd not seen previously. In fact colour separation and contrast levels are outstanding. Black levels are as to be expected of any of the current well known models.

    Finally the real reason I wanted an LCD - HTPC output. I connected my Shuttle PC and was able to get a res of 1360 by 768. I tried using Powerstrip but could only select 1368 or 1360 as the closest to 1366. I've got an ATI 9800 pro and I'm using Catalyst version 5.8 - not sure how to get 1366 as reported by others here. I will be buidling a dedicated HTPC soon but will switch to a Nvidia 6600GT. I settled on a res of 1360 by 768 but was a little disappointed by the image in Windows - areas of text were blurred, a result I guess of a non 1:1 pixel mapping. Whilst cycling through the aspect ratio settings I came across a 'REAL' setting which 'fixed' the image. Consulting the manual it states - displays the actual size of the video source without re-sizing (I'm presuming then the scaler is switched off). All was good and sitting on my sofa 9ft way using Windows was great!! Having downloaded a few hi-def trailers (720p) I fired these up and sat in awe as these perfect pictures exploded on screen - Madagascar and Shark Tale looked supreme (pin sharp and vibrant) whilst Batman Begins was equally impressive. I then hooked up a few games and these looked good albeit not at optimum res since most didn't have LCD tv friendly resolutions.

    Haven't mentioned the sound - the built in speakers are capable of quite high volumes with little distortion. The level runs from 0 to 47. For me 10 is high enough for normal listening. You can tailor the sound using a 5 band equaliser.

    I haven't begun to mention the other picture and audio settings but you can view all of this in the online manual. Plus the Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture functionality.

    Annoyances:

    Hum from the fan is a bit of a pain and there is no easy way to change it. Would have been nice to detach the speakers
    Teletext - why can't it store sub-pages like my mates telly?

    Summing up

    Still unconvinced about the pics from terrestrial analogue broadcasts - I'm hoping this will be remedied by the Nebula DigiTV card in the HTPC. Also note I haven't seen any noticeable artefacts/tearing on any inputs
    Superb when linked to a HTPC and I'm hoping it'll improve when I set up TheaterTek and FFDSHOW correctly.

    Pics show a selection of analogue broadcasts, component DVD (Bond), hi-def trailers and PC games. When viewing please bear in mind the limitations of digital photography or more to the point my IXUS V3 camera.

    ... Link to images in later posting ...

    DTTB
     
  8. TinCool

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    Hey DDTB,

    Thanks for the in depth review. I am weighing up purchasing one of these sets also. Although I have one slight concern, does it have a normal cat-5 type aerial connection ? I am living in Ireland and the cable TV that we have here uses one of these type of cables. I would be really grateful if you could take picture of the back connections so I could see for myself :)

    Thanks,
    TC
     
  9. Paulando

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    Nice to know I'm not the only one in that boat :D Every day I have my heart set on a particular model, before I read something about it which puts me off.

    Interesting thoughts, thanks- I'm really considering going for this one now. Two component inputs, DVI and no tearing! :thumbsup: I'm looking forward to the pics!
     
  10. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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    Pics here - more to follow.

    An update on the warranty situation - I contacted BenQ UK and they have stated they are currently not supplying LCD tvs to the UK market however they do plan to do so by year end. However their warranties on LCD tvs are Europe wide and they will honour this European warranty in ANY country that it applies to including the UK (sigh of relief ...). They were aware of Komplett and that fact that its central warehouse is based in the Netherlands.

    I've today purchased a Nebula DigiTV freeview card and will be trying it out. I also picked up this glass stand from argos


    DTTB
     
  11. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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    Looks like i've got bandwidth issues with geocities - any suggestions for a free picture hosting service ...

    DTTB
     
  12. Paulando

    Paulando
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  13. Cowden_harley

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    RockySpieler where did you get the drivers. My Half Life 2 keeps going on about updating drivers but I can't seem to find them.

    Cheers
     
  14. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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  15. peahead

    peahead
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    Nice selection of inputs there mate do both component inputs accept progressive signals and does the tv have any fans.
     
  16. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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    Yes both accept progressive. According to the manual the component inputs will accept HDTV resolutions from a suitable decoder as well.

    There is one fan which has a bit of a whine/hum to it ...

    DTTB
     
  17. RockySpieler

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    Depends which graphics card you have, ATI or Nvidia, and which operating system XP, XP-MCE, 98 etc.

    For ati 9*** cards this is the general link:-

    https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=894&task=knowledge&folderID=27

    To get 1366 as an option instead of just 1360 on Xp with 9500pro, and 9800se I used this driver:-

    https://support.ati.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=894&task=knowledge&folderID=27

    You can choose either control panel (prefered), or catalyst (more graphics, more memory useage).

    Good luck, they are large downloads, hope you have broadband. I also downloaded and used the ati driver uninstall ultility list in the second link.

    btw I have got catalyst 5.8, so I am unsure why DTTB cannot get 1366.
     
  18. Geoxis

    Geoxis
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    DownToTheBone,

    Do you have any good web sites where I can found HD trailers?

    The images look really good, I am looking for a display I think I'll have a closer look at the Benq it is very impressive.

    Thanks,

    Geoxis
     
  19. TinCool

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    Well you have me sold. I'm going to order one of these baby's for my new apartment in the next couple of weeks when my bonus comes through :thumbsup:
     
  20. Geoxis

    Geoxis
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    Down?
     
  21. Paulando

    Paulando
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    www.divx.com have a few HD trailers, including the one for Madagascar which looks fantastic (on my TFT monitor at least :p)
     
  22. DownToTheBone

    DownToTheBone
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    Don't know any specific sites just downloaded from Divx and Microsoft.
     

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