Relisys LCD TV releases don't register on the AV radar like a new Sony or Panasonic, but the release of its first models last year was successful enough to warrant an upgrade. True to form for a brand you might never have heard of, the company is targeting the lower end of the market with flat screens in a variety of sizes.
This 32-inch is the flagship model for the company. It has some nice features -- the speakers are detachable so you can get rid of them if you have a home-cinema system, and there's a variety of picture-processing modes to deliver a solid, detailed picture. However, most consumers probably won't even bother finding all this out when they see the TV isn't high-definition ready -- something that isn't beyond the scope of budget LCD TVs, as was amply demonstrated by the ViewSonic we recently reviewed. With HD services now only a scant few months away, lack of compatibility is enough to write the TV off completely.
Physically, Relisys' TV has a lot in common with the big-name competitors that the company is hoping to undercut. It has a solid silver finish, a desktop stand and speakers that detach from the side. It's something we've not seen before on a 32-inch LCD TV, but it's very welcome. Call us AV fascists, but anyone who gets to the 32-inch LCD level and isn't using a surround-sound system isn't getting the best home cinema experience.
Connectivity is good, but the Relisys designers have made a few strange decisions. First of all, there's no composite video input, not something that we'd normally complain about thanks to its poor quality, but it's useful to have if you want to connect an old iPod Photo. The annoying thing is that there's no Scart adaptor included in the box to rectify this oversight -- Relisys should have gone the same way as Philips with its 26PF5520D where, without component video inputs, there was a VGA adaptor included instead.
The other sore point on the AV front is that the DVI input isn't HDCP-compatible. In order for a TV to be given the 'HD Ready' badge, it needs to be 'High Definition Content Protection'-approved, because it will theoretically prevent you from copying content without authorisation. Sky has announced that HDCP compatibility is a prerequisite to receive its services, and Blu-ray/HD DVD could follow suit. We honestly thought we'd never see another non-HD Ready TV, but it seems Relisys is still catching up.
Otherwise, it's all pretty standard around the back of the RLT32AB20, with two Scart inputs (one RGB), component video inputs and a VGA terminal for a computer. If you want to output audio to a home cinema, you can also do this via stereo connectors on the back of the TV. We're used to reporting how cheaper TVs always boast cheaper remotes, but we were pleasantly surprised by the Relisys. The dull grey colour doesn't do it any favours, but the keys are logically laid out and all accessible with one thumb. There's also a red LED to let you know it still has battery power.