Other TV Brands
Gericom GTA 42 HD SA 10 1A
The Gericom GTA 42 HD SA 10 1A TV is a 42" (106 cm) plasma flat-panel TV and has been available since summer 2007 for just about 770 GBP.
Florian Friedrich, August 15, 2007
- Natural picture from the built-in cable receiver.
- The DVI feed gives good, sharp pictures.
- This is stone-age plasma technology - the picture is plagued with pronounced digital artifacts (noise, gradation patterns...).
- Don't worry, you don't need glasses. The images through the Scart video input really aren't thatblurry.
- Not much here for HD movie fans - 1080p signals are not supported.
- Not exactly state of the art - there is no HDMI input.
- Watch out for sharp corners, the finish leaves something to be desired.
From the land that gave us Wiener Schnitzel comes... a basic but affordable flat-panel TV! Still, at 770 GBP, the Gericom provides only the bare minimum of value for money. The signal processing may be good enough for cable TV reception, but for DVDs and HDTV it is simply not up to scratch.
Located in Austria, Gericom has been known for years for offering cut-price notebook computers. But the alpine manufacturer does not just do low cost PCs - they also have a line of flat-panel TVs. Their LCD and plasma sets, sized from 37" (94 cm) to 42" (1.06 meters), are some of the most affordable units on the market in their respective categories.
2x 1x 1x 1x 1x
Gericom's GTA 42 HD SA 10 1A delivers a screen diagonal of 42" (106 cm), but the plasma panel has a resolution of only 1024 x 768 pixels. It is therefore not suited to HD-TV or high resolution movie playback, but it has been shown by other manufacturers - a few Japanese brands come to mind - that this resolution can be sufficient for processing a signal in standard format.
In this price category, you have to lower your expectations somewhat. This is obvious from the word "go" when looking at the Gericom's feature set - no HD-Ready logo, no headphone jack, no combined analog/digital tuner, only simple Teletext and no swivel stand.
Instead of the modern HDMI input we have come to expect, only a DVI connection is provided, which does at least, however, offer copy-protection (HDCP) for HDTV playback. Analog devices can be connected via the two Scart sockets (only one of which is RGB-capable), S-Video, composite or YUV. PC signals can be displayed via either the DVI or VGA inputs.
The remote control feels good to hold, but is significantly overcrowded. The simply arranged on-screen menu works well, but reacts with some delay to the user's commands, which is particularly irritating when changing the volume or channel.
It is possible to control the basic functions with buttons on the actual TV, but these are badly labeled and very difficult to use.
Danger: The casing has sharp edges, and there is a real potential to get hurt!
TV and DVD Picture Quality
Ghost Images and Trailing Effect:
The plasma panel displays a strong weakness with fast movements - watching a game of tennis, the ball flies over Centre Court with a trail of colored ghost images. Current generation brand name plasmas have all but overcome this weakness. Also, the front panel is only slightly tinted, so it reacts very sensitively to external light sources. A darkened room is therefore a necessity with the Gericom.
In TV mode, the Gericom presents a natural picture with realistic colors when the picture content is slow-moving. With fast movement, however, you get the trailing effect mentioned above.
If possible, you should avoid connecting a satellite TV receiver via the Scart-RGB input, which has a limiting resolution of just 4 MHz. As such, the pictures are so unsharp that even the crispest of images lose their brilliance. The color signal is 3 pixels apart from the brightness signal, so that picture quality hardly surpasses the level of VHS.
S-Video and YUV Input Usage:
While the other inputs, such as S-Video, YUV and DVI, do not suffer the same fuzziness as the Scart-RGB, they do still have some weaknesses. Artifacts appear that were typical of earlier plasma technology, and these are particularly irritating when watching black and white movies, which are left prone to false contouring. White tablecloths or clouds look slightly colored and give black and white cinema classics like "Casablanca" an artificial atmosphere.
The best quality playback is via DVI - as long as the input signal has been pre-scaled to 1080 lines. This gives just the right amount of sharpness, and the color balance can be adjusted using the RGB settings in the menu. The rather cool factory preset can therefore be corrected slightly.
There are, however, other problems with DVI-playback - the picture looks washed out and there are no saturation controls to improve this. The only remedy is to use a DVD player or satellite receiver with its own saturation control.
The picture also looks milky and dark scenes appear over-brightened. The reason for this is the Gamma value of 1.8, which is normally used for PC displays. For TV and home-theater, the value should be more like 2.2, so you get the impression that Gericom has just slapped a TV tuner onto a PC flat-panel.
HDTV Picture Quality
Although the Gericom does display sharp images, if you move close to the screen you notice the low resolution (1024 x 768 pixels) straight away. A full HD TV (1920 x 1080 pixels) can, quite simply, display more detail.
With HDTV playback, the same saturation problems are evident. The brightly lacquered bodywork on the cars in "The Fast and the Furious - Tokyo Drift" appears dull, and dark details from the Blu-ray version of "Kingdom of Heaven" look poorly differentiated. Frequent color fringing and graininess are visible and, finally, due to a lack of 1080p signal processing, experiencing the kind of motion we see in the cinema at 24 Hz frame rate is out of the question.
The built-in loudspeakers deliver crystal clear high tones, but the sound is spread a little too much to the sides. With a poor positioning of the set, this could lead to some sound reflections, making speech harder to make out.
The same thing that is true for many flat-panel TVs is also true of the Gericom - for good home-theater sound, you need to connect the unit up to an AV receiver, with a decent set of speakers. For this, however, the Gericom only provides analog audio output.
Settings for the best home-theatre performance*
Mode: User Defined
Color Temperature: Warm 1 or User Defined (6,600 K)
* applied to realistic playback from HD-DVD/Blu-ray material through the HDMI interface in a darkened environment. Manufacturing and HDMI playback device deviations may necessitate slight adjustment.
Quick Points Summary
Good value: For only 770 GBP, Gericom gives you a large, 42" plasma screen.
Not state of the art: Instead of HDMI, Gericom provides an HDCP-capable DVI input.
Untidy: Despite the neat navigational cross, the remote control is overcrowded.
Close, but not quite perfect: The TV overemphasizes greens and leaves color mixes looking a bit cold.