i-deko TV sound system hands-on

The i-deko is a slick TV stand that doubles up as a speaker system, DVD player, radio and iPod dock and we managed to track it down at the Grand Designs Live show at Excel in London for a closer look.

The product comes in two halves which fit together to create an oval-shaped device that you can sit your TV on. Along with an integrated DVD deck, the i-deko also supports CD, MP3, WMA, CD-RW and MPEG4 playback via the USB port and an SD/MMC card slot. These inputs are located on the front panel, so they're easy to get to. The central panel is also home to the display screen which shows which source you're playing from and also displays track numbers along with information from built-in the FM/AM radio. You'll also find a rudimentary array of controls, while the somewhat basic-looking remote handset is home to a more comprehensive (and slightly baffling) array of controls.

There's an iPod dock on the top of the unit, which will also support iPhones (even our slightly battered-looking 3GS). As well as charging your iDevice, the i-deko will also make sure that you don't miss any phone calls, as you'll be able to hear the ringer through the speakers. There's also a auxilliary input for hooking up non-Apple devices.

At the moment, the i-deko doesn't incorporate a Blu-ray player, but there is an HDMI port at the back if you want to hook one up. A glass shelf in the middle of the unit means that there's plenty of room to house your Blu-ray player, along with any other piece of kits such as a set-top box or games console. The maker has plans to include a built-in Blu-ray deck in a future version of the i-deko. Along with an HDMI port, the back of the unit also reveals a Scart input, while the two microphone inputs on the front of the unit mean that it can be used for karaoke.

The design of the onscreen menus is a little basic, but then its still early days for the product, so this is something that we would expect to see a few improvements on when future models are introduced.  It's reasonably easy to use, although as we mentioned earlier, you might need to spend some time with the remote to get used to all the controls.

The overall audio performance was certainly impressive, particularly in terms of low-end response - we could feel the bass through the floor when the volume was cranked up, thanks to the presence of a dual 40W sub-woofer.

Sporting a slick, rounded designed, the device is available in gloss black or gloss white, giving it a slighlty futuristic look.

The i-deko is available now for £495.



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