Sharp LC-22DV200E television review
With the nation's bedrooms now one of the main battlegrounds for the major TV brands, there's a lot of competition to produce the perfect all-in-one space-saving screen. Sharp's 22DV200 makes a stab at upstairs elegance by packing some crucial features into a svelte shell.
No "small" TV yet includes a built-in Freeview HD tuner - arguably there's little point on a set under 26-inches - but Sharp has fitted its 22DV200 with a HD Ready screen (1366 x 768 pixels) and a DVD player that can spin DVDs and CDs (and even DivX files), alongside some nifty ins and outs.
It's no media-savvy model though; there's a USB input, but it's for service only, while the Wi-Fi niceties of higher-end models hasn't trickled-down to this 22-inch set. Not that's it's a bare bones approach. Around the back is an impressive collection of connections, including a single HDMI input (two would have been nice), Component video, S-Video and Composite video, a RGB Scart and a PC input.
The audio side is equally impressive, with a headphones socket, a coaxial digital out and a PC audio in all increasing its versatility, though corners have had to be cut to reach its slim size (the 22DV200 measures just 67mm in depth); its NICAM stereo speakers, mounted below the screen, can achieve just 1.5W of power - though they can deal in Dolby Digital Plus audio.
Elsewhere in Sharp's DV200 range - which are all Energy Saving Recommended - is a 19-inch (£299) and a 26-inch (£429) version. Both are have simple HD Ready resolutions, though the larger model adds a second HDMI input and far more powerful 10W speakers.
Those speakers prove a disappointment on the 4.8kg 22DV200. Too small to produce much bass, they're unable to cope with the width of movie soundtracks - even with a quasi-surround sound mode switched-on.
Otherwise, the built-in DVD player impresses; as usual on combis, there are two separate interfaces, one built-in for the TV itself, and another for use with the DVD player only. But although you can make audio and picture tweaks on both menus, there's not too much overlap. There are individual settings for contrast, sharpness and brightness etc. within the DVD player's set-up menus for video, though it's basic stuff - better to rely on the TV's built-in "movie" picture mode. Still, pictures from DVD and DivX files might have plenty of realistic colouring, but there's a distinct lack of depth and believability to blacks, while jagged edges are common.
None of those problems are fatal on a TV this small, and the built-in DVD player does remain one of the easiest to use; operation is simple and commands such as scanning, pausing and returning to DVD menus are instantly obeyed.
It's the other way around with Freeview; pictures are bright and involving, but the electronic programme guide proves a letdown. Information for eight channels is presented simultaneously on the blue/white/yellow interface, with 5 hours of upcoming programming listed, though scrolling through the information takes too long, as does actually selecting a channel (which can take up to three seconds). Nor does the EPG "float" over the programme you're watching; instead, the audio plays underneath a black screen that contains the EPG.
Super-slim and nicely priced, it's a wonder that Sharp has got a DVD player into this telly at all. It may lack some niceties in terms of pictures and ease of use, but if you're after a TV for a bedroom or kitchen primarily for Freeview, this 22-inch comes recommended.