Rock X-TV review

Price when reviewed

The World Cup has kicked off and high-definition broadcasts are finally upon us. Put simply, if you haven’t already taken the plunge, there’s never been a better time to invest in a new television. Rock is more commonly known for its notebooks, but this 32in panel marks its first foray into the world of consumer displays.

Rock X-TV review

It has a standard resolution of 1,366 x 768, making it capable of displaying 720p video in all its glory, and it can also accept and scale 1080i signals. More importantly, it’s HDCP compliant via the HDMI port on the back, so it will happily display HD feeds from Blu-ray and HD DVD players.

But if you don’t have a high-definition source, there are plenty of other possibilities, with an analogue TV tuner and both DVI and D-SUB ports also present for PC connections. Composite and component inputs offer more options, and there are three scart sockets to easily hook up your DVD player and the rest. Lastly, S-Video completes an exhaustive array of connections, and there are even composite and S-Video outputs too.

So everything’s covered in that respect, but it’s a shame the build quality isn’t quite as impressive: it isn’t awful but it certainly feels plastic. It isn’t a particularly elegant design either. A large, removable two-speaker bar sits under the screen with 15W in each channel, but the sound produced is a little tinny at times. The supplied remote is fairly solid, though, and the OSD is clear and easy to use.

We connected the Rock up to a PC via DVI and played a variety of video clips, and the results were mixed. The colour is undeniably vivid and bright, and our 720p samples looked gloriously detailed even from close-up. But 1080i clips were a different story: the Rock panel had difficulty deinterlacing the video and the result was a nasty comb effect on vertical edges, noticeable even from several metres away.

This may or may not be an issue, depending on what you plan to watch, but bear in mind that there are likely to be just as many future broadcasts in 1080i as in 720p, so it isn’t a simple case of sticking to the latter. Fast-moving images were particularly badly hit, so HD DVD or Blu-ray movies may not look their best should you invest in a player.

With such a large screen and such a low resolution (to PC users at least), it’s inevitable that the Desktop doesn’t look perfect. In our technical tests, we saw slight problems with pixel tracking, resulting in the occasional blurred line of text. The backlight is even and bright, though, and the contrast is excellent, as you’d expect with a 1,000:1 ratio. All the minute variances in the lowest blacks are visible, and our colour ramp test showed an even progression from dark to light.

Considering its wide array of connections, the Rock X-TV is certainly cheap at £595. This low cost does show itself in the build quality and other weaknesses, particularly its poor deinterlacing performance, but it offers an undeniably inexpensive way to watch high-definition video from the comfort of your sofa.

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