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Allio ATVI-3G4542 LCD HDTV-PC  Print E-mail
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Written by Dick Ward   
Tuesday, 07 April 2009
Article Index
Allio ATVI-3G4542 LCD HDTV-PC 
Page 2

Silicon Mountain’s Allio sets out to be the realization of a concept tried and tested by a great many companies over the years: a fusion of PC and TV that doesn’t inhibit the abilities of either.  This was tested not only under standard conditions, but as part of a 14 hour long, post-apocalyptic film fest to push the limits of the machine.

The Allio is as feature rich as they come.   The specific model under review was the ATVI-3G4542, the high end version of the television.  At 42”, the Allio features a 176 degree viewing angle, a 2000:1 contrast ratio, 1080p support, a 3D Y/C Digital Comb Filter and two 12 watt speakers.  If you don’t have a receiver to manage all your HDMI sources, the lack of connections on the rear of the Allio could be somewhat troublesome.  With only 2 HDMI inputs, anyone looking to hook up alternative components will have to acquire a HDMI switch or settle for component connections.


The PC side of the Allio is feature rich, with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor, fairly powerful as processors go, and 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM.  A built in 2x Blu-Ray player is an excellent touch, but the biggest attraction is the massive 1TB hard drive.  Enough for all the music and movies on both my laptop and desktop, it was fantastic to be able to transfer it all over with little effort.  Of course, it didn’t require transferring, as streaming from alternate sources is completely supported.

Features

During setup, the rear of the Allio felt cramped.  6 USB ports are available, but their positioning makes plugging things in incredibly awkward, and at one point I was forced to make a choice between the wireless keyboard adapter and my thumb drive, even though two spots were available.  On the PC side, I was disappointed with the amount of setup required to make the Allio work the way it should.  I was fully expecting the unit to do everything I needed it to right out of the box, but I spent a great deal of time with it before it was ready for use.    Though some may consider it nitpicking, Windows Vista was not set up for performance in any way.  With graphical options set at high and widgets enabled, the on board graphics card proved not to be enough in some circumstances.   Simply turning off graphical Windows Vista enhancements did the trick.

I find it unfortunate that a system meant to satisfy all video and audio didn’t include all the proper codecs pre-installed.  The Xbox 360 can stream Divx files straight out of the cardboard box, and it’s a video game system.  Perhaps Silicon Mountain was going for the ‘new computer’ feel, but properly customizing the machine to fit the needs of the consumer would have made a big difference in the overall setup experience.

As a television, the Allio feels lacking.  Offering a 2000:1 contrast ratio, the picture appeared a bit washed out and certainly didn’t pop off the screen.  It was noticeable enough for my father (not an AV junkie by any means) to remark that the blacks were nearly gray when we watched a bit of Star Wars. The screen stretching controls seemed slightly clumsy, especially when switching from standard definition programming on the television to the PC.  It didn’t seem to remember what ratio each input was at, which resulted in some distorted pictures occasionally.  I did like the 176 degree viewing angle from various points in the room.

Picture controls are fairly standard, with three presets and the usual range of adjustments including three color temperatures options.  Video settings can be set separately for each input and are recalled when switching between them; which is an especially nice feature considering the different sources available for the system.  There is a digital noise reduction included with three adjustable stages as well as an automatic color correction mode that’s fairly accurate.


 
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