Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
What makes an excellent LCD TV often has little to do with the particular LCD panel it uses. There is a limited number of panel manufacturers, but we’ve seen some pretty dreadful LCD TVs, and some excellent ones, all based on LCD panels out of the same factory.
It is what’s behind the LCD panel that often makes all the difference: the video processing. In its current series of LCD TVs, Baumann Meyer has introduced an upgraded video processing engine, called ‘QIA3’. This allows this TV to produce one of the best images I’ve seen from any TV in at least one respect.
The TV has a good-sized 117 cm (46 inch) panel which delivers a full high definition experience of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Baumann Meyer says that the contrast ratio of the TV is 2000:1. No dynamic processing is employed to achieve this, so that’s a quite high number.
The speakers and stand are removable, and while black is the standard finish, the TV is also available in a white finish for $3,799.
The TV has two HDMI inputs and, unusually, two SCART inputs. These can be useful for those who still have a beloved standard definition PVR, since most of these are fitted with SCART outputs. Otherwise a digital TV tuner is not necessary since this TV has a HDTV receiver built in, along with an analog one. Thanks to the flexible Picture-in-Picture feature, you can use the lower quality analog tuner to monitor other stations while watching high quality digital TV.
The performance of this TV was for the most part excellent, with only one real deficiency compared to the current state of the art for LCD TVs. That deficiency was black levels. The 2000:1 contrast ratio allowed an excellent picture to be delivered in a well-lit room, even if the scene was quite dark. It also did a good job with black during largely bright scenes, even in a dark room. However dark scenes shown in a darkened room allowed the backlight to glow through somewhat, reducing the picture’s impact considerably.
That said, I still really enjoyed this TV. The main reason was the colour performance. This wasn’t especially ‘rich’, although it could be when the picture demanded it. Instead it was extremely natural. Outdoor scenes in particular looked pretty much spot-on like what you would expect to see if you looked out a window.
The picture scaling from DVD resolution to the HD panel’s resolution was strong. The TV accepts 576i from DVD players with its HDMI input, but it’s a touch basic in its deinterlacing, so I suggest you use a good 576p output DVD player.
There was no special setting available to ‘switch off’ picture scaling to allow Blu-ray and HDTV to be sent through unaltered, but there was a work-around using the ‘Geometry’ setting in the menus. With this it was possible to resize the picture to eliminate scaling and the overscan this produces.
The Baumann Meyer DT 4660DFBC is a very solid LCD TV that owes its performance primarily to the high quality video processing circuitry behind the decent 117 cm LCD panel.