Cheap LED-LCD TV Review: Sansui 24″ HDTV

cheap led tv sansui 24 inch

I’ve been doing most of my work at a kitchen table/desk after a recent move and recently decided I probably should go ahead and buy a small tv for the space.  These days you can watch many programs on your computer, but it seemed easier to just go ahead and get a cable box/DVR down here so I won’t miss entire seasons of my shows (like I did with Mad Men this summer).  I haven’t been in the market for a tv since January 2005 when I bought an early Vizio plasma – since then I’ve inherited a very nice Samsung LCD and have not had the need to add another tv.  I typically do WAY too much research before making a purchase, and since this was just going to be a small set for the desktop (and occasionally, to act as a second monitor) I decided I would just head down to Wal-Mart and check out the offerings.

The 24″ Sansui LED-LCD set was on sale for $178 and looked like it would be perfect for my needs: 1080P, dual HDMI inputs and a brand name I recognized (albeit from the 70s when it was a Sony-esque force; I assume they are “rebooting” the brand name in America.  Or else I just hadn’t heard much about them in a long time.)  Anyway, the online reviews were pretty positive so I went ahead and picked one up (pictured here – hadn’t removed the protective tape at the time I decided to take the pictures).

sansui 24 inch led lcd tv

Netflix Instant via laptop and HDMI cable

Setup was quite simple, obviously, as I’m currently just running coaxial cable directly to the TV.  After a brief channel scan I was up and running.  The picture looks okay with SD programming; I’m assuming it will look better when I get a cable box down here.  The remote is as expected, but it seems to have a pretty narrow reception window – I frequently find myself having to press buttons multiple times and point directly toward the blue light.  This will also presumably not be an issue when I am using the DVR remote.  The Sansui is very thin, light and wall-mountable.  Apparently the LED-LCD designation means that the set uses LED technology for backlighting – which apparently reduces energy usage (thus the Energy Star designation).

I also bought an HDMI cable to use the Sansui as a secondary monitor – I will post an additonal entry about how to set it up in Windows 7; it’s pretty simple but there are a couple of little things that can speed up the process.  The picture quality looks fine to me as a monitor when set at the correct resolution (1920×1080) and streaming Netflix, for example.  Sometimes the picture quality deteriorates and looks a little blocky, but I suspect that is more a function of the wifi/internet connectivity than television performance.  Pictured below is the right side of the back of the television, where the HDMI and other connections are located.

Back Panel of Sansui LED LCD 24 in tv

Back panel connections

Summary: The Sansui 24″ LED-LCD HDTV provides reasonable bang for the buck, is easy to set up and can serve as both a television and an auxiliary computer monitor via HDMI connection.  The model number for the Wal-Mart version is SLED2453W; I’ve linked to an Amazon version below as well – be sure to click the link for updated pricing.


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Dish Network Broadens International IPTV Offerings

Dish Network yesterday announced a broadening of its IPTV offerings to international customers.  Enhancements to the initial DishWorld IPTV platform since its March launch include more languages and the ability to watch programming on a computer (PC or Mac) as well as a Roku device.  Dishworld programming is avaiable in Arabic, Bangla, Brazilian, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu and monthly packages start at $14.99/month.

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Review: Belkin @TV Plus – A Legitimate Slingbox Competitor

cheap Belkin @TV Plus home video place-shifting deviceBelkin – probably best known for their line of routers – recently introduced the @TV Plus “place-shifting” device that allows users to remotely watch their home television or DVR – ideal for frequent travelers who desire access to local programming.  Slingbox has dominated the category for years, probably because they also invented the category.  Slingbox was acquired by Dish Network a few years and the general consensus (check the Amazon reviews to confirm) is that the product quality has suffered, possibly from lack of attention/focus as part of a larger company.

Enter Belkin with its @TV Plus to offer some Slingbox some competition (another competitor, the Monsoon Vulkano, entered the market three years prior).  The device itself is pretty small and sleek and reasonably easy to connect.  In fact, some investigation reveals that the device was actually manufactured by Vulkano, and is quite similar to the Vulkano Flow model (but perhaps more aesthetically appealling).  This device was easy to set up, a pretty intuitive process for someone who plays around with electronic gadgets a lot; the one downside was the large size of the software package, it took some time to download the file.  But once that was done, the process was seamless – the lack of HDMI input or output is disappointing, but most likely users will be watching programs remotely where streaming HD programming would have been difficult to pull off anyway.

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Component, composite and ethernet connections

As with set up, using the device is pretty straightforward – you get remote access to the DVR/Cable Box that the @TV Plus is connected to via laptop, tablet or phone.  (Apps for the laptop and tablets are free, phone apps are supposed to be $12.99 but you can get the Android @TV app for free on Amazon.)  On my first short trip out of town I had no difficulty watching my local channels on my iPad – which was the main reason I purchased the device in the first place, to not miss out on sporting events that are not nationally televised (ie don’t want to be stuck watching the Cowboys every Sunday when I’m traveling!).  I have a Comcast box at home and navigating the menus, changing channels and finding DVR programs on the app is not intuitive, took some playing around with to figure out where everything was and the response time seems a little slow.  All in all, it’s a small price to play in efficiency for the convenience of having access to all of your programs remotely.

cheap belkin @tv plus ipad app

Tablet app screenshot

Pros: Convenient and easy to set up, multiple users can access the device on home network, non-iPhone apps are free, has built-in WiFi (Slingbox units are wired Ethernet)

Cons: Unit gets pretty hot, no HDMI connection, risk of losing recorded program if you lose internet connection while recording to device, cannot schedule recordings in advance from phone/tablet



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