Sagem Axium HD-D56B

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Sagem Axium HD-D56B

Pros

  • Huge!, HD ready with 720p content support, excellent design, ample connectivity

Cons

  • Aliasing effects, poor viewing angle, significant visual aberrations, expensive

Bottom Line

An insanely large HD-ready display with significant visual aberrations that might deter some users.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)

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Sagem are best known for their mobile phones, but has now also ventured into the home theatre market, releasing a series of TVs, including a 56" rear-projection TV (RPTV). We cannot stress the sheer size of this behemoth - at 56" (142 cm), the DLP-projection based Axium HD-D56B 56" RPTV is nothing short of gigantic.

The design of the Axium is outstanding. When we first unpacked the screen, we were impressed with the simplicity of the aesthetics, which helped in drawing attention to the display content rather than the physical design. The central console, located beneath the screen, houses two 30 watt speakers, which provide ample power for most consumer stereo audio.

We were blown away by the amount of inputs at the rear of the unit, which include: three SCART ports, S-Video, composite video in, four RCA audio inputs, component video, DVI, VGA, headphone out, line in and two digital audio inputs. This unit definitely wins points in the connectivity stakes - more than any other TV we have seen to date. The only connection option which is missing is HDMI support.

After installing and powering up the display, we noticed that there was a slight illumination near the bottom of the screen. This is indicative of unwanted internal reflection, and even though the effect was not very noticeable, it is definitely something to look out for. We also found some other very distracting effects including reflections around bright text similar to what we have seen with LCDs that use glass protective coatings such as the Avatec 37" LCD TV. This effect appears in the form of a halo around bright display elements, and is most noticeable at wider viewing angles.

Even though RPTVs do not advertise a viewing angle, we found the TV to be unwatchable past 100 degrees. Comparatively, we have seen plasmas and LCDs regularly hit 170 degrees, and this low viewing angle might be concern for users who do not have a large TV room, as users will have to sit further back and centered for the best results. RPTVs generally need a larger viewing distance, due to their enormous screen size and visual aberrations.

Another problem we found with the display was the incredibly high noise level. There seemed to be a constant haze on displayed textures due to the noise in the projection. Some of the visual aberrations named above were very distinct within the 2 - 3 metre viewing radius, but are negligible at larger distances.

Readers who have researched projectors might have come across the colour wheel or rainbow effect, present in DLP projectors. Unluckily, this is also present in RPTV's that utilize DLP projection systems, and in regards to Sagem's set, it was extremely noticeable. The rainbow effect was evident in bright pictures, and was almost nauseating at some points. Users with sensitive eyes should be aware of such effects.

The bonus of buying an RPTV is that the price/screen-size ratio is considerably smaller when compared to technologies such as plasma and LCD. The RRP of the HD-D65B is substantially larger than other 56" RPTVs, but is still cheaper than any other display technology of this size.

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