Acer LCD TV AT3705-MGW

If you are thinking about integrating a media server into your home theatre, this is the LCD for you. With a host of top-end features, multiple inputs and stand-out performance, the AT3705-MGW is the perfect compliment to your home media network.


7.9
User Rating

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Design
When you first pull the box off of the AT3705, the first thing you notice is the size-this is a really, really big TV. The 37-inch screen is framed in a case that is 1185mm by 724mm and will definitely be a focal point of your living room or home theatre. The unit features clean lines, tasteful graphics and controls and sits comfortable on a stylish curved stand and wouldn't look out of place in a board room or in your living room. The speakers on either side of the unit don't detract from the clean lines and generally, the design falls into the high-end of LCD TV designs we have seen.

The front panel on the unit includes volume, channel, menu and input controls, just in case you can't find the remote control. There is also as a media card reader (which we will get to in a moment) , as well as a headphone jack and video and audio inputs.

On the rear panel of the unit, there are four (yes, four) SCART hacks, as well as two component inputs, an S-Video input and CVBS-Outputs. At the bottom rear of the panel, there are also HDMI, DVI, VGA and Audio In ports, as well as an input for the analogue tuner, the DVB-T tuner and an RJ-45 port for Ethernet.

Given the amount of hardware on the back, I wouldn't recommend actually wall-mounting the unit unless you have sorted out all of your input and output collections first. There is some clearance if you wall-mount the unit, but as always, it is easer to plug and unplug cables when you can actually see what you are doing.

The remote for the unit is equally as stylish, with clearly labelled buttons and controls, as well as easy-to-understand icons, making it intuitive to use. You won't need to be diving into the user manual to find everything you need -- it's all laid out for you.

Features
To start, when you plug the unit in for the first time, there is a setup wizard to help you get started. It will guide you through setting up the language, local time zones, etc. as well as scan for digital and analogue channels to automatically tune your TV for you, which is quite nice.

Once you have got the initial tuning complete, you can then turn your attention to connecting up your peripheral equipment. And with the AT3705, you have a number of options as to how you connect up your DVD, VCR, PC, Laptop, gaming console, etc. The manual provides clear diagrams and instructions, as it can get a bit confusing with so many ports to choose from.

With everything connected, you can use the remote to access the on-screen display and there is a well-organised menu system that categorises all of the features and functionality that the unit provides.

There is also a large "E" button on the remote that toggles the "empowering mode" where you can choose from a range of pre-set modes and settings like "Movie", "Game", "Sports", etc. where all of the audio and video settings are optimized for what you are viewing. You can also setup your favourite channels, with up to five channels available. This makes it easy to press the "E" button then select your favourite channel and is definitely a time-saver.

On the features side, you can view movies, TV, etc. using picture-in-picture, picture-by-picture or picture-on-picture with up to 13 screens at one time. This sounds like a lot, but you have a lot of real-estate on screen to use. The widescreen modes available on the unit are 4:3, 16:9, Panorama and Letterbox 1-3, ensuring that no matter what input (DVD, TV, Computer, etc.) you get the most out of the available viewing area.

You can also lock the unit with a password and block a single channel, multiple channels or all TV sources and the unit is equipped to handle TV ratings when viewing digital TV and you can block unwanted content with a PIN code. (Don't forget to hide the manual from your kids, as the reset code is in there as well.)

There is an electronic program guide for digital TV, which is easy to navigate and displays a preview of the program, as well as the details on the program and a summary of what is coming up on a particular channel. There is also a "My List" function where you can setup a list of programs you have selected to watch.

On the audio side, the unit supports SRS WOW, BBE Digital and Dolby Digital surround sound for digital TV and you can switch between the different audio modes with a single button the remote, which is quite handy.

The unit features an integrated media card reader on the front, which can be used to access media files from Compact Flash cards, IBM MicroDrives, SD cards, MMC cards, and Memory Sticks (MS, Duo and Pro). There is a button on the remote to access the card reader and you can select the picture, video or music files that you want to view, making it very easy to take content directly from your digital or video camera and view it on the AT3705.

The MGW designation of the AT3705 stands for "Media Gateway" and the unit can be connected to a media server to deliver content directly to your TV. From the server side, there is a piece of software called "e-Console" that you will need to install and configure. You can use the software to share media, create playlists and favourites folders for viewing on your TV.

In addition to the wired Ethernet port on the back of the AT3705, the unit also has a wireless card built-in, so you don't need to string an Ethernet cable across the house to connect to your media server. You can search for and select from a list of wireless SSID's and connect to your wireless network, including WEP-secure networks and access your content that way. If you don't have a home network setup, don't despair -- you can also make a wired peer-to-peer connection or an ad-hoc wireless connection to connect your computer to the unit.

Performance
The AT3705 performed well under a variety of inputs and playback options. As we ran the unit through its paces, we found that the best quality pictures came from the pre-set configurations available through the "Empower" button on the remote control. Some did require minor tweaks, but overall the pre-defined settings provided optimal results.

When viewing DVDs and digital TV the unit performed flawlessly, with deep, dark black tones and crisp, true-to-life colours that did not require any additional tweaking. On the gaming side, the unit kept up with even the most graphic-intensive games and scenes, providing smooth scrolling, motion and perspective throughout the entire game, with no visible lags or stutters, even when the action got hot and heavy.

Viewing analogue TV posed a problem, as the unit showed a "ghosting" effect when viewing live-action television with quick camera cuts and pans. We viewed a fast-paced game of football on analogue and found the ghosting to be annoying, but well within the tolerance limits. We spent some time working with the settings to minimize this effect, but only with limited success. On the flip side, a similar program viewed on digital TV provided crisp, clean images with no ghosting effect.

On the audio side, the included speakers performed well across testing the various audio modes, providing rich, deep bass tones as well as crisp, clear highs with a well-proportioned middle. DVDs sound as the maker intended them, with every sound effect clearly enunciated. The Dolby Digital surround was a surprisingly solid performer on digital channels and during our testing, provided stunning sound from the programs we watched.

The setup for the Media Gateway was quick and painless, with little or no PC experience required to get things up and running. Connecting to a media server was equally as easy and even the most novice user should be able to connect and select content they wish to view. Both the wired and wireless access worked well, with the only concern being the wireless bandwidth -- we recommend using an Ethernet cable for the best results, especially when there is more than one computer or device in the household accessing a wireless connection.

In total, the unit is a stand-out among the LCD units we have seen on the market in the past six months. Even if you are not interested in the media gateway features, the unit performs well under a variety of conditions and is a pleasure to watch. Enough thought has been put into the remote, on-screen menus and settings to make this the perfect LCD for when you just want to watch high-quality content without worrying about tweaking every little setting. In short, a solid performer with enough tech features to keep even the most advanced videophile happy.

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asphoto45 posted a comment   

We have had our 37" Acer for 2 1/2 years. Until recently we were very happy with it. About 3 months ago it developed a crescent shaped shadow in the middle of the screen that shows up best in fleshtones. Does anyone know the cause? Can it be easily fixed or? It would seem that the days of a tv lasting for ten to fifteen years is going the way of the dodo bird.

 

hitech posted a reply   

I still use this TV and it has a great HD picture OTA... I too have got a faded shadow running through the center of the picture. It started about 3 years ago, and seems to be getting a little darker now. Wondering if you had yours fixed or did you abandon the set. I love the sound and picture it has.... hate to ditch the set just for the shadow!!!

ronnin
7
Rating
 

ronnin posted a review   

The Good:impressive as long as it works well

The Bad:don`t put your faith in a piece of techno.

i`ve got 2 pale purple lines running across thetop and bottom.thought it was interference.had the acer for 2 years.

karen and Peter
8
Rating
 

karen and Peter posted a review   

The Good:so clear and vivid

The Bad:we are not able to work out all the features

we love the tv however we can not make the picture fit the screen we seem to lose a lot of the right and left side of the picture sometimes miss words if there are subtiltles any ideas on how to fix this?

iced_pt
8
Rating
 

iced_pt posted a review   

The Good:Nice Piture and sound

The Bad:Manual very hard to follow

Hi there,
When I first turn on the tv it is black and white colour fir 2-3 seconds. Is this normal? Please help

Beaumont
2
Rating
 

Beaumont posted a review   

The Good:Nice colour

The Bad:Appalling reliability and service

Make sure your screen doesnt have a problem. In a bit over a year mine has been in for service 3 times. the last time it went in was April and I still dont have it back!

Ostiffle
8
Rating
 

Ostiffle posted a review   

The Good:Very impressive

The Bad:Manual was not that people friendly for somebody not familiar with electronic setups.

Hi Anybody,

Could you tell me as to how I can connect Home theater system to this TV unit. I want to run two satellite receivers, dvd player, video recorder through the unit and was looking for an audio out on the TV receiver to plug into the audio in on my home theater system, but was unable to find an audio out scart connection. I do not want to run the Sat receivers, dvd and Video recorder throgh the Home Theater system.
Any ideas on how I can achieve this.

Thanks.

fishfiend
9
Rating
 

fishfiend posted a review   

The Good:no more burning discs to watch my collection of films!

The Bad:MGW will only fast forward xvid at 8x, and no rewind, but only a small price to pay for the convenience.

Top telly, Great Picture, full res.

majicard
10
Rating
 

majicard posted a review   

great quality in this price!!( i spent 1700$!!)

Freeform
9
Rating
 

Freeform posted a review   

The Good:Heaps of inputs, very good remote. 2 x tuners. great PIP / PBP & POP

The Bad:No HDTV tuner

Great Set - heaps of inputs, nice & Bright, does 1080i, not p. But whad do you expect for this price!

spideronfire
9
Rating
 

spideronfire posted a review   

The Good:Its 1080p and really cheap. Got mine for $2500NZ.

The Bad:Media Server is pretty average and doesn't work well for HD. Only coax audio out.

Awesome TV. Love the 1080p from my 360. Will be glad to check out the digital tuner when OTA starts in NZ.


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User Reviews / Comments  Acer LCD TV AT3705-MGW

  • asphoto45

    asphoto45

    "We have had our 37" Acer for 2 1/2 years. Until recently we were very happy with it. About 3 months ago it developed a crescent shaped shadow in the middle of the screen that shows up best in flesh..."

  • ronnin

    ronnin

    Rating7

    "i`ve got 2 pale purple lines running across thetop and bottom.thought it was interference.had the acer for 2 years."

  • karen and Peter

    karen and Peter

    Rating8

    "we love the tv however we can not make the picture fit the screen we seem to lose a lot of the right and left side of the picture sometimes miss words if there are subtiltles any ideas on how to fi..."

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