They've been a part of our lounge rooms since the 60s, yet the humble TV is still one of the most desirable and talked about items we can buy. Perhaps partly due to the bewildering array of options -- size, resolution, design, technology and brand.
If a visit to the TV showroom is already leaving you dazed and confused, Baumann Meyer is not about to make your choice of telly any easier. The boutique manufacturer has released an 80cm widescreen flat panel TV designed to lift the image of LCD with careful consideration to quality and finish. It might even give some plasma buyers pause for thought.
LCD TVs are essentially computer screens and so may have a less glamorous tag. Yet they can display a smooth, crisp scene and may actually last a little longer than their plasma brethren. Although it's a matter of taste, in a smaller room, where the distance between the screen and viewer is closer, the usually smaller format LCD screens may even be easier on the eyes.
In the AU$5000-or-so market, some LCDs still look a little too much like computer monitors (and let's face it, its hard enough parting with $5K, let alone for something that reminds us of an item included in PC packages).
Enter Baumann Meyer's DT-3200 LCD TV - where image is everything, on the screen and around it.
Baumann Meyer has a background in touch screens, but has been making inroads into quality TVs. The proof is in the panel, it seems. There's not a hint of the dreaded monitor look or feel in the DT-3200. This is a Korean-built LCD screen wrapped in European styling.
The airbrushed aluminium casing gives the unit a classy, semi-industrial feel, suitable for posh lounge rooms or the oft-idealised warehouse conversion.
It is sturdy enough to dominate a low entertainment unit or claim a bench as its own, but can also be wall mounted. The slim 110cm profile highlights the need to consider space, particularly with city living. The DT-3200 has a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, brightness rated at 450cd and a contrast ratio of 500:1. While such specs will appease boffins, the rest of us can simply appreciate clear smooth lines, soft skin tones and a strong black saturation for watching moody crime flicks.
The TV is High Definition (HD) ready, although the 96 channel multi-zone analogue tuner isn't quite enough to get the full benefits. Baumann Meyer includes a free set-top box as a bonus, to ensure viewers are able to receive widescreen broadcasts on its true 16:9 format. However, the included Topfield set-top is only SD (Standard Definition) and not HD. HD boxes are available separately (at about AU$600) -- take a look at CNET.com.au's digital set-top boxes reviews for more information.
At this end of the market, it's a fair bet that most buyers are either thinking of a surround sound speaker system or already have one. No TV is complete without some attention to its sound, however. The DT-3200 has a 12-watt stereo amplifier and a 'Spatial mode' to create surround 'effects'. It's no replacement for a surround sound system, but the result is better than nothing. The speakers themselves are discreetly built-into the elegant end supports and almost unnoticeable. The TV's tiny buttons are similarly subtle, located out of site just under the bottom rim, with small grey writing indicating where to press.
All the vital sockets at the rear are tucked under a shelf, which keeps the cables tidy and allows the set to be pushed to a wall or wall mounted, however if you move the set and jiggle the power lead these are hard to push back in. This is only a minor point, but there's the temptation to tip the set forward, and while the feet provide good stability in an upright position, no one would want to risk marking the airbrushed finish of this TV. This is a telly you buy for its looks.