Sanyo CE47FD51B £1200
8th Aug 2008 | 15:50
It's big. It's inexpensive. It's Full HD. It's also not the complete bargain it first appears
You really don't have to look far to find the appeal of Sanyo's CE47FD51B. A whopping 47in of Full HD LCD pictures for just £1,200 delivers a pounds per inch ratio that's bound to get the mass market chomping at the bit. The important question is whether its quality matches its quantity...
Aesthetically, the CE47FD51B is better than you might expect, with a robust feel and some nice sculpting, although the matt finish lends it an inexpensive sheen.
Connections tick the key boxes: two HDMIs are joined by component video input, a PC input and two Scarts. There are even a couple of surprises in the shape of an optical digital audio output and a subwoofer line out.
Returning to the spec, it's really satisfying to find a Full HD pixel count (1920 x 1080), at such a relatively low price here. Also good to find for £1,400 are the digital tuner, '3D-Panorama' mode (for creating a pseudo surround sound effect), a noise reduction system, and a film mode.
The claimed contrast ratio of 1,000:1 is rather worrying, however. It's low by today's standards and suggests, unlike most rivals, that the CE47FD51B doesn't have a dynamic backlight system whereby the picture's brightness reduces during dark scenes to boost black level response.
Our concerns about the CE47FD51B's black levels prove well founded. Watching our test HD DVD disc of King Kong, we're instantly struck by how the dark scenes on the boat to Skull Island look uninspiringly misty and flat.
It also doesn't help that the screen isn't much cop at bringing out subtle background shadow details that give pictures a sense of depth. Much of the extraordinary detailing present during the fight scenes between Kong and the T-Rex remain unseen.
Sharp HD images
Perhaps as a result of the black level issues, the CE47FD51B's colours aren't great either. Skin tones tend to look over-ripe while greens and reds look off-key during dark scenes .
Although these problems stop the CE47FD51B being a real contender, it isn't entirely without its pictorial charms. It makes good use of its Full HD resolution, presenting a surprisingly sharp and detailed image that picks out every pixel of special effects information in King Kong, with even the great ape's individual hairs being discernable.
Adding to this impressive clarity is a striking lack of picture noise – extremely surprising for such a budget screen. Customary problems that blight many a cheap screen – like grain, dot crawl and over-stressed edges – are all remarkably well suppressed for a TV that apparently boasts no significant image processing technology.
Battle sequences, meanwhile, suffer less with LCD's motion blur than you might expect from a TV with no 100Hz processing and an uninspiring claimed response time of 8ms.
Sonically speaking, the CE47FD51B is a disappointment. The overall sound is thin, and made to seem even weedier in the context of such large pictures.
The CE47FD51 may just about satisfy those who want the biggest screen for the least money. But if you've got more in the kitty, we think you should look around.