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NEC NLT-26HD1 review: NEC NLT-26HD1

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The Good Built in HD tuner. Good sound and picture quality.

The Bad Extremely slow menu response times. Remote doesn’t always work. PIP doesn’t work with digital tuner. Can’t use native resolution with PC. Expensive.

The Bottom Line This TV is far too expensive and has too many things wrong with it. You can get better TVs with more features for far less money.

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6.3 Overall

Review Sections

The NEC NLT-26HD1 is an all in one LCD TV with a built in HD digital tuner. It's on the smaller end of the TV scale at 26 inches, but with large speakers mounted on either side of the screen, it is big enough to look the part in a large room.

It is intended to be a high end unit with dual tuners, picture in picture functionality and HDMI inputs. It has a strong feature set, but NEC has done a poor job of packaging them together. At AU$2499, we'd expect much better product.

Design
Its styling looks OK, but is spoilt by a shiny piano-black finish and a silver, plastic trim that just looks cheap. In fact, on the test product some of the trim wasn't glued on correctly.

It's a little tricky to get at the ports on the NLT-26HD1. All are on the rear of the unit and face straight down. It lacks a few easily accessed side inputs for ad-hoc connections.

The menu system has a no frills layout and its overuse of acronyms is irritating. Do you know what SSM, OSM and ARC refer to? Assuming your user manual is handy to decode it all, the menu system is easily navigated using the remote control.

One big complaint about this TV is its appallingly slow response time. Anything you select takes a few moments (in some cases over a second) to actually happen. The remote itself doesn't transmit properly, compounding this frustration further. We found ourselves pressing commands repeatedly. It was enough to put us off this TV altogether.

Features
This TV features digital and analog tuners, but amazingly, the picture in picture function is completely disabled when using the digital tuner. You need to switch back to analogue or another input in order to use it - unacceptable.

The screen is 1366 x 768 pixels - not true HD, however it will accept almost any signal up to 1080i. It offers a good range of standard wide screen settings including panorama, 16:9, 14:9 and 4:3.

A reasonable range of inputs are available including an HDMI, VGA, two composite inputs (one with an s-video combo) and one component.

Performance
Its picture quality is actually very good. The HD tuner, apart from being too slow to respond, has excellent sound and picture quality. Our test images looked very sharp and skin tones appeared excellent in highlights and mid-tones, but do go very green and get a little lost in shaded areas.  

We are also disappointed by this unit's PC connectivity. The screen has a native resolution of 1366 x 768 but if auto-detecting on a PC, this resolution is not available in the list. Higher resolutions are listed, but when chosen, the TV reports an unsupported mode. This was resolved by reverting to a 4:3 resolution (1024 x 768), but this leaves black bars down each side. NEC should really ensure straight forward plug and play -- this simple flaw makes the TV generally unsuitable for use with a PC.

The performance of the picture itself was solid. Gaming with an 8ms response is no problem -- there is minimal blurring and the TV keeps up with any movement.

The sound performance was also excellent. It has two large 15 watt speakers mounted on each side of the screen and it carries more bass than any other TV we have seen recently. It can push out some really good sound.

For AU$2499, we expect a lot more from what is a disappointing TV. Its menu system is far too slow and its remote is unreliable -- a bad combination. Add to this poor PC connectivity and an inability to use native resolution -- we find this TV hard to recommend.

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