The Cello iViewer TV is a quirky new LCD flatscreen line headed to a Marks & Sparks near you. It’s got an unusual twist in that it’s web connected, and offers a vast array of IPTV services, with no dish or set top box required. We’ve just got some facetime with the HDTV, so read on for pictures and details.
We usually ignore the budget TVs on the supermarket shelves, but the Cello iViewer TV will makes us think twice about that next time. Yes, they’re cheap (£399 for the 26-inch, 720p display and £499 for the 32 inch with full HD), not particularly thin, and only have two HDMI ports. But the Cello iViewer TV line is also the best crack at making a consumer friendly web TVs we’ve seen yet.
Fire up the Cello iViewer TV and you’ll be presented with a slick tile based menu system to scroll through. BBC iPlayer is one of the options – and has its own physical button on the remote – and looks exactly like it does on other set top boxes, with big, easy to use icons. It loads quickly and looks as good as you’d expect, although BBC iPlayer HD won’t be available until next year.
Other web video feeds available include YouTube and popular podcasts like Diggnation, but you can’t add your own to the Cello iViewer TV, at least for the time being. Cello told us there was also a full web browser inside too, but that it will be closed off for users unless there’s a substantial demand for it in feedback. We can take it or leave it, since typing out URLs with a remote or gamepad is a pretty unpleasant experience. Much more exciting is the inclusion of DLNA, so you can load up pictures, music and video from your PC wirelessly. We saw it demoed, and it worked flawlessly, pulling up albums from a nearby computer.
There are also web widgets which appear, picture in picture, even on web streaming video like BBC iPlayer or YouTube. At the moment, they only extend to weather and news, but Cello says Facebook and Twitter are just around the corner, with an SDK for third party developers following soon after early next year. Yes, the Cello iViewer TV is going to have a widget app store, although how well that will go down with the coding community remains to be seen.
The good news is that you don’t just have to connect via ethernet to get online: the Cello iViewer TV will come with a Wi-Fi dongle add-on, and we’ve confirmed that it’ll be bundled in free by M&S, so you won’t have to choose between Xbox Live and BBC iPlayer.
As a TV, the Cello iViewer does an OK job, with reasonable picture, if nothing to get Sony and LG worried. It’s only Freeview rather than Freeview HD ready though, so any HD content needs to come from a Blu-ray, HTPC or console for the time being. We’re told a Freeview HD ready version may be coming in the first quarter of next year, but Cello can’t confirm this just yet. As an on-demand display for the living room however, it’s a superb low end option.
The Cello iViewer TV is out from tomorrow, so get a good look now in our hands-on snaps before popping down to Marks & Spencer for yours.
Out December | £from 399 | Cello