These days, £200 doesn't get you much. It's not enough for an iPad, and it's probably only enough to fill your car up with petrol four times. But the Acer AT2356 costs only £200 or thereabouts, and it's a 23-inch, 1080p LCD TV with a built-in Freeview receiver and two HDMI sockets.
Aimed at people who want a TV for the kitchen, study, bedroom or for use with a games console, the AT2356 is a pretty attractive option. We can see students in particular queuing up to get their hands on one of these. It's well suited to that market thanks to its built-in Freeview receiver and a VGA jack that means you could, at a push, use it as a monitor, although it doesn't have any tilt adjustments.
Design and inputs
The AT2356's appearance is quite pleasant. It's a small, black box that should be quite at home in any room you care to place it in. Out of the box, it comes in two parts -- a stand and the main body of the screen. Connecting the two is simple. You just screw the base onto the bottom of the TV -- it only goes one way, so it's idiot-proof.
The TV offers a pair of HDMI inputs, which is fair enough for its size. Also present are Scart, component video, VGA and composite input connections. That's a decent amount of sockets for a little TV, and almost certainly more than enough for a bedroom or small study.
We also rather like the remote control. It's pleasant to hold and really easy to use. The buttons are logically laid out and, even more importantly, the TV responds to commands quickly.
Hook the AT2356 up to a computer, and you'll see that it's a surprisingly good monitor. It's capable of accepting 1080p signals via its VGA socket, which is great. What's not so great is the fact that Acer doesn't provide a tilting stand. That means it's nearly impossible to use the AT2356 as a monitor unless you mount it up high, and peer up at it.
Most people probably won't buy the AT2356 for use as a monitor, but it's a shame to see that it functions so well in this capacity apart from one flaw.
No Freeview HD
There are two features a TV needs to have in order to receive Freeview HD broadcasts. The first is the ability to cope with H.264-encoded video. On this score, the AT2356 passes with flying colours.
In the UK, unlike most of the rest of Europe, you also need the TV to support the DVB-T2 standard, which the AT2356 sadly doesn't. We can't criticise Acer too much for this, though. The AT2356 is, after all, a budget TV, and it does have a standard Freeview receiver, which is likely to be enough for most people.