Equipment Review No. 2   November 2002

NetTV’s DTV-34XRT 34” Digital Monitor
M.S.R.P.: $1,899.00

Key Manufacturer Specs:

Display Type: 34” (32”viewable) CRT Direct View Monitor
Maximum Resolution: XGA (1024x768)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Compatible Formats: 1080i, 720p; 480i/p, standard analog broadcasts, PC and MAC
Dimensions: 28.25”H x 34.125”W x 22.5”D
Weight: 156 pounds
Warranty: 2 years parts and labor
http://www.net-tv.net

For those unfamiliar with the NetTV brand name, the company was founded in 1996 and is based in California. From its inception, NetTV has concentrated its efforts on creating a product line of display devices that are multimedia in nature. As its display devices are fully compatible with PCs, standard television signals and digital home theater equipment, NetTV has become a favorite of educators and has captured a share of the video displays in the educational field. NetTV has also established a presence in corporate and government sectors.

Since progressive scan and HDTV display capabilities have become a necessity for the video display devices used by high-end home theater enthusiasts, NetTV, with a product line that includes several monitors that are compatible with all of the digital display formats, is positioned to make a serious run at a share of the home theater video market. Included in its product line is the DTV-34XRT, a direct view 32” CRT monitor that is focus of this review.

Physical Appearance

The DTV-34XRT is substantial in size (28.25”H x 34.125”W x 22.5”D) yet streamlined in appearance. The back of the monitor does not thrust out as far as others monitors I have reviewed, thereby allowing it to be placed much closer to a wall. The outer case is black, a welcome change to the seemingly endless number of other monitors on the market with silver or gray color casings. Audio speaker grills are located along the front left and right sides of the monitor. There are seven unit controls located across the bottom face of the monitor (volume +/-, menu +/-, degauss, input select, and power). NetTV refers to the DTV-34XRT’s direct view screen in its product literature as a 2R Flat Screen, although in actuality, the screen has some curvature to it. While not a true flat screen, the curvature is minimal and does cut down on the amount of reflections compared to a typical, non-flat, direct view monitor. The monitor is also relatively heavy as it weighs in at 156 pounds. Overall, the DTV-34XRT has a stylish and contemporary look.

Connections

The DTV-34XRT has many of the types of connections necessary to accommodate most multimedia applications. For those who desire to use this monitor in conjunction with computer applications (PC and Mac), there is one video input for RS232, two D-sub 15-pin RGB inputs (one front and one rear), and one D-sub 15-pin RGB output. For the home theater enthusiast, the video connections for the DTV-34XRT include one (Y-Cb-Cr) component video input, one RF antenna/cable input, one S-video input, two composite video inputs, and one composite video output. On the audio side, there are five corresponding composite audio inputs, one for each of the component, S-Video, rear 15-pin RGB, and two composite video inputs. There is also a matching composite audio output for the composite video output.

For home theater enthusiasts who want to use the DTV-34XRT to display progressive scan output from a progressive scan DVD player or who want to display HDTV output from a HDTV source, the monitor’s D-sub 15-pin RGB inputs are the only inputs that can be used to do such. While there are a couple of HDTV set-top boxes on the market today (RCA DTC100 and Samsung SIR-T160) that have a 15-pin RGB output and therefore can be directly attached to the DTV-34XRT, most HDTV equipment and progressive scan DVD players have RCA jack component (Y-Pb-Pr) video outputs. In order to pass through the progressive and/or HDTV signals from the RCA component outputs to the 15-pin RGB input, an intermediary device is required. My recommendation for this task would be to use Key Digital Systems’ Clear Video 2 (KD-CTCA2) component-to-VGA video adapter. The Clear Video 2 passes the native 480p, 720p, or 1080i signal it receives from the source device on through to the monitor’s VGA/RGB input without any noticeable video signal degradation. The Clear Video 2 video adapter can be purchased on-line from the Key Digital Systems’ website for $349.00.

If displaying HDTV signals are not a requirement, another option by which home theater enthusiasts can enjoy 480p progressive scan output on the DTV-34XRT is through the use of a line doubling/upscaling device. With such a device, NTSC interlaced video signals from a non-progressive scan DVD player, laser disc player, satellite receiver, VCR, etc. are converted into progressive signals for display upon the monitor. One product that does a superb job for a sub-$1,000.00 price is the Silicon Image iScan Pro. The iScan Pro has video inputs for component, S-Video, and composite sources as well as a 15-pin VGA/RGB video output connection. It has 3:2 pulldown detection for film-based materials, auto sensing and switching capabilities, and five picture controls for fine-tuning purposes. The iScan Pro can be purchased from authorized distributors listed on the Silicon Image website.



Features

The DTV-34XRT is a monitor that contains a high-resolution Toshiba CRT data grade tube. With its XGA resolution, this monitor is fully compatible with standard analog NTSC broadcasts, as well as 480p, 720p, and 1080i digital TV broadcasts. The monitor houses dual speakers powered by 12w amps, and a built-in subwoofer. The built-in tuner section of the DTV-34XRT has 181-channel capability, a V-chip, and closed captioning. Its display and audio fine-tuning controls, which are accessible via the front panel or remote control, include brightness, contrast, color, tint, sharpness, degauss, Red-Blue-Green gain, V-size, V-position, H-size, H-position, pincushion, rotation, bass, treble, balance, video modes, power, and volume. The ability to change channels on the tuner, however, is available only on the remote control.

Performance:

(Standard Analog Broadcasts)
While some digital monitors on the market today employ internal line-doublers to enhance the quality of every source signal they receive, the DTV-34XRT is a native display device; meaning that it displays exactly the signal it receives. Using a standard, non-digital cable feed (estimated to be about 150 to 175i), I would rate the DTV-34XRT’s performance as above average in displaying analog broadcast signals.

(480i Material)
Using the component video input (Y-Cb-Cr), I connected an Xbox video game system/DVD player to the DTV-34XRT and used “The Mask of Zorro: Superbit Edition” as my test DVD-movie and “NFL Fever 2003” as my test DVD-video game. The DTV-34XRT performed strongly in reproducing both of these 480i source materials. The movie was displayed cleanly with bright, vivid colors. The video game was also cleanly reproduced with great coloring, but, as is the case with some interlaced source material, line jaggies and flickering were evident. Overall, I would rate the DTV-34XRT’s performance as very good in displaying the various 480i source materials.

(480p Material)
Using the afore-mentioned Key Digital Systems’ Clear Video 2 video adapter to connect the RCA component outputs from a progressive-scan Pioneer Elite DV-37 DVD player to the DTV-34XRT’s RGB 15-pin rear input, I again used “The Mask of Zorro: Superbit Edition” as my test DVD-movie. Being displayed in a progressive format, the movie was noticeably smoother and more film-like. Colors remained vivid with fully saturated hues and detail was razor sharp. Next, I used the Clear Video 2 video adapter to connect the RCA component outputs from the Xbox to the DTV-34XRT’s RGB 15-pin rear input. I set the Xbox to output a 480p signal and again popped in NFL Fever 2003 as my test DVD-video game. While maintaining its great color, the most noticeable difference between the 480i and 480p display was the significant reduction in jaggies and flickering. The game was much cleaner and easier to view. Overall, I would rate the DTV-34XRT’s performance as ‘excellent’ in displaying the various 480p source materials.

(HDTV 720p Material)
Once more using the Key Digital Systems’ Clear Video 2 video adapter to connect the RCA component outputs from the Xbox to the DTV-34XRT’s RGB 15-pin rear input. I set the Xbox to output a 720p signal and popped in NFL Fever 2003 as my test DVD-video game. Simply put, the result was stunning. The monitor did a superb job of reproducing the brilliant colors and life-like images that HDTV can put forth. There were even several occasions when I would swear I was watching a real NFL game on Sunday afternoon. The DTV-34XRT displayed one of the strongest high-definition pictures I have seen on any monitor or other display device. Overall, I would rate the DTV-34XRT’s performance as ‘excellent’ in displaying 720p source material.

The remote control that comes with the DTV-34XRT is of average size and is fairly straightforward to navigate. There are roughly fifty keys on this remote and all of the major functions (including power, volume, channel changing, picture adjustments, and input select), are present and directly accessible. The remote control is an infrared model but does not function as a universal remote for other AV equipment.

Conclusion

The NetTV DTV-34XRT is a top-notch multimedia monitor. It performs admirably in displaying standard analog broadcasts and 480i material, and excels in displaying 480p and HDTV material. The audio and video settings are simple to adjust via the monitor’s front panel or remote control. My only suggestion of how NetTV might make this a better monitor for the home theater market would be to include progressive scan RCA component video inputs. The D-sub 15-pin RGB inputs function well enough, but are just not compatible with the outputs of the vast majority of home theater equipment today. NetTV includes a two-year parts and labor warranty with the purchase of a DTV-34XRT and also has additional warranty packages available for purchase that extend beyond the initial two-year period. Based on the value and performance of this monitor, I believe that the DTV-34XRT is well worth a closer examination if you are in the market for a digital monitor.

- Calvin Harding Jr.-

For more information about the DTV-34XRT or other NetTV products:
NetTV
2591 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael, CA 94901
(800) 440-6388
e-mail: marketing@net-tv.net
http://www.net-tv.net

For more information about the Clear Video 2 Video Adapter or other Key Digital Systems products:
Key Digital Systems, Inc.
314 W. 231 Street, Suite 504
Riverdale, NY 10463
(718) 796-7178
http://www.keydigital.com

For more information about the iScan Pro Line Doubler/Upconverter or other Silicon Image products:
Silicon Image, Inc.
1060 E. Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 616-4000
http://www.siimage.com

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