I received an AOC Envision 20” LCD Monitor (TV) from Geeks.com to review. I was familiar with AOC from their excellent computer monitors, it only makes sense they would get into the television business. If you are looking for an affordable, quality set that serves a variety of uses, this might be for you.
The unit is attractive, with a basic, non-invasive design. Thin, as an LCD should be. As a geek, I liked all of the connectors/connections available. It is lightweight with a nice base. Overall it gave me a positive first impression. The unit is wall-mountable. You can adjust the viewing angle from the base. This is handy depending on where you will be using it. There are power, menu, channel, volume and source buttons handily located at the top of the screen.
The TV is listed as being EDTV ready. I had was unfamiliar with that term. Enhanced Definition Television (EDTV) is designed to be a mid-step between Standard Definition Television (SDTV) and High Definition Television (HDTV). EDTV is 480p (p= progressive scan). HDTV is 1080i or p. The benefit of the smaller size is that 480p gives excellent definition on a 20” screen, particularly for the price.
The choices for signal input are plentiful. You have basic co-axial cable, composite, S-video, component and VGA. Based on my research, composite would give me the best picture. I use AT&T’s U-verse service (a review is coming) and read rave reviews of their composite signal. Someone even claimed that they broadcast in HD, but cut the signal back to 480p to conserve bandwidth. I read claims that the composite output was just about as good as the HDMI output. I tried all of the connections and this is what I found:
- Co-axial input – Good picture, no problems here.
- Composite (Red, Yellow and White) – Looked good, no real difference from Co-ax.
- S-Video – A definite improvement, picture sharper and brighter
- Component (Red, Blue, Green) – Excellent picture, best of the bunch.
Thanks to the multiple outputs of the U-verse box, I was able to run the LCD tv and my SDTV side by side making a comparison simple. I drove myself crazy for a while adjusting the colors on both the SDTV and LCD. The on-screen menu makes immediate sense and has a pleasant layout. Once I got the sets to match, I’d feel that maybe it just needed a little tweaking here and there. An hour later, I felt comfortable that they were as close as they were going to be. The LCD picture was unarguably better. It was no comparison. Any text displayed on the screen was very sharp, as opposed to the sloppy rendering on SDTV. Franky, I was shocked at how poor the SDTV looked in comparison. Anything with a line looked a lot better on the LCD. Colors were richer. Blacks and whites looked truly black and white. The picture was outstanding.
The picture is meant to be viewed from some distance. I’ve read anywhere from three times the width of the screen to eight feet. Three times the width works well for me. Up close, the picture does look boxy and jagged. Viewed from the appropriate distance, it looked fantastic. I doubt you would be using it with your face right up to it anyway. This is not the case using the VGA connection, where you probably would be sitting close.
U-verse gives you the option to choose your definition. You can choose 4:3, widescreen, 720p or 1080p. It defaults to 4:3. When I chose widescreen, it didn’t give me a widescreen picture, but the resolution almost looked HD. I don’t know what the difference is in how AT&T puts out the signal, the widescreen is strikingly better. I’ve read that EDTV provides 80% of the definition of HDTV, and using the widescreen setting that proves true. It is amazing to look at. The standard 4:3 definition is still very, very good, and I found myself sticking to that.
The speakers were a surprise. U-verse offers surround sound through the box, I enabled it and was taken aback at the quality of the sound. I did not notice the change at first, but soon sound were coming from all areas of the room. This television somehow gives a 3-D sound that is very clear. It is impressive for a budget TV to sound this good. There is an audio out line if you wish to attach it to an existing speaker system.
I’m no gamer, so I didn’t have a console to plug in. Consoles output a 480p resolution, so this unit should work very well with your console of choice.
I hooked my Windows Vista box up to it, the picture looked great. Fonts were off slightly, I’m sure they just need tweaking for the screen. The 800 x 600 resolution, while not normally what I would use, actually works well at a comfortable distance. I started Miro, and bingo, I had a media center going for all intents and purposes. With my wireless mouse and keyboard, I was comfortably chilling and surfing. I tried Netflix’s new streaming service and was watching a movie instantly (almost). Look for a review of this service soon. It is nice to view the content available on the internet without being chained to a desk. It is also convenient to just plug into a VGA port without going through the typical hassle of connecting the tv to the computer.
The menu options for PC input are nice. You can adjust the red, green and blue levels. You can choose “cool” or “warm”. One particularly nice thing is that you can choose the source of Picture In Picture (PIP), so I can have live TV running in a little box while I am using the computer. It might be helpful if I were a sports fanatic, stock junkie or didn’t want to miss any of my “stories”.
The remote is well designed. I’ve suffered through poorly designed remotes, where doing a basic task (like fast-forwarding) becomes at best a chore, at worst a nightmare when it does something you do not want it to do. It is trim and fits nicely in the hand. My only nit-pick with it is I wish more real estate was devoted to the volume buttons, since those are used the most. They are conveniently located where my thumb rests so I can’t complain too much about them. Switching to the PC has its own button. Choosing the input is directly across from that. The layout makes sense and is easy to get used to.
The smaller size of this unit is a selling point for me. The ability to effortlessly switch between the television and computer makes it useful. I could see it as a great addition to a kitchen. You could watch tv while you cook, jump online to get a recipe or check your email. The adjustability of the viewing angle enables you to easily have it face where you are. It works well in a bedroom. It would be perfect for a smaller dorm room or a kid’s playroom. If you don’t need HD but don’t want the enormity of a SDTV and don’t need a gigantic screen for the space, this unit is perfect.
Priced at $214.50, this is a no-brainer to recommend. The picture is outstanding. The variety of inputs is very nice. The VGA port is an excellent addition. The sound is fantastic. It is built well. The manual is actually helpful. I could find nothing to complain about. If you are looking for quality at an affordable price this unit will work very well for you.
AOC A20E221 Envision Series 20-inch EDTV-Ready LCD TV
20-inch TFT LCD display
Built-in 181 Channel NTSC TV Tuner
800 x 600 resolution
4:3 aspect ratio
0.51 mm x 0.51 mm pixel pitch
500:1 contrast ratio
500 cd/m2 brightness
160°(H) /120° (V) viewing angle
16.7 million colors
16 ms response time
31.5 – 48 KHz horizontal frequency
56 – 756 Hz vertical frequency
PC input resolution 800 x 600 @ 60 Hz
NTSC color system
MTS/SAP sound system
V-chip and Closed Caption
Motion Adaptive De-interlacer
Adaptive 4H Y/C Comb Filter
3:2 Pull Down Recovery
On Screen Display (OSD) function
Top Panel Controls:
L/R Audio line out, L/R AV1 in
Component in Y/Pb/Pr, L/R
L/R/Video AV2 in
S-Video, L/R RCA
Mini Headphone jack
Mini Stereo jack
100 – 240V, 50/60Hz, 1.5A
17.6 x 27.4 x 9.9-inches (H x W x D with stand, approximate)
15 x 27.4 x 3.7-inches (H x W x D without stand, approximate)
AOC A20E221 Envision Series 20-inch EDTV-Ready LCD TV
Remote control w/twwo AAA batteries