Price (RRP): $1,999
JNC is better known for its wide range of compact MP3 players, and only has a small range of LCD TVs on offer. JNC’s SST-2600 Dream Monitor is an interesting proposition in the LCD TV market. This is because it’s intended to be somewhat of an all-in-one device, with a DVD player built into the screen itself. This makes the screen well suited for the bedroom or rumpus room where you might not want to invest in a television and separate DVD player. The screen is also relatively light, at only 16 kg, so it’s not out of the question to move it from one room to another if need be.
The DVD player itself is mounted on the right-hand side of the screen, and uses a vertical slot loading mechanism instead of a tray. When you insert a DVD it also switches immediately over to the DVD input, making this feature very easy to use.
The 26 inch LCD screen has a moderate specification, including a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and brightness of 500cd/m2. The image quality was reasonably good, especially when running from the VGA or component inputs. Contrast is not as good and blacks not quite as dark as other flat screen TVs around. Strangely, the DVI input was not as impressive as the analog inputs, and gave an overly sharp image with artefacts around the edges of objects on screen. The 14ms refresh is also a bit average, and results in blurring on fast moving images.
Another issue was that we were not able to get it to run properly at its listed maximum resolution of 1366 x 768. The maximum we could get it to was 1024 x 768 when running through the VGA or DVI inputs fed by a Media Centre PC. When attempting the 1366 x 768 resolution the screen would glitch and show a distorted half of the image, along with a band of static. Switching back to 1024 x 768 resolved these issues, but does raise the question of whether the maximum resolution is actually 1024 x 768 instead of the listed 1366 x 768. However, the screen could comfortably handle HD inputs without a problem, happily cycling through 576p, 720p and 1080i. Sadly the tuner is only analogue, so you need a digital set-top box to get SD or HD TV.
Screen settings are managed via the remote control through an on screen interface, which is fairly simply laid out. This is a good thing as the first feature you’ll want to disable is the ascending beep emitted by the screen whenever you switch it on or off. Why such a beep would be considered a useful feature is a bit perplexing, but thankfully once it’s off, it won’t annoy you again.
The Dream Monitor has a fairly slick and austere exterior, with just a smooth wide black bezel and two silver speakers on the base. The speakers themselves are only suitable for basic television use, and lack the clarity or bass to do DVDs justice. You can adjust the sound via the 5-band equaliser in the on screen menu, although the adjustments don’t make a huge impact on the quality of the output.
The Dream Monitor does a reasonable job of offering an all-in-one DVD unit for the bedroom, although the lack of a digital tuner does mean you will end up needing an external box for digital TV. Sadly the image and sound quality don’t quite live up to expectations, but as a second television, the Dream Monitor is worth a look.