capsule review


At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder A42HD84

    TechHive Rating

Photograph: Chris Manners

With its glossy black bezel and silver accents, AOC's A42HD84 cuts a handsome figure. Its $1700 price tag (as of 6/6/06) adds more luster. However, this HDTV's image quality, though generally acceptable, didn't wow our test jury--and its basic controls (and skimpy tech support hours) offer little help in customizing the display.

The A42HD84 did a respectable job of showing details on our HDTV tests, but many jurors found its colors--reds and greens in particular--weak and off-putting. Many jurors also complained of a soft, pale picture on most tests. These three trends continued on our DVD tests, particularly with the minute details and colors of racing jerseys in Seabiscuit. The A42HD84's weakest point was its rendering of standard-definition content, which produced ghostly skin tones.

Changing the settings on the A42HD84's remote was a simple matter. At least part of this simplicity owes to the fact that AOC didn't pile on the features. The picture and sound adjustment functions are easy to change, but they don't provide sophisticated settings. Extras like picture-in-picture mode aren't a part of the package with this budget model. However, the remote works just fine--no mystery buttons--and the speakers sound acceptable.

Inputs are important in a plasma TV, and this set comes close to giving you what you're likely to want. It includes many of the standard inputs (composite, component, and S-Video) but forgoes the expected HDMI input. Almost all plasma TVs of this size and resolution (1024-by-768 native) include HDMI for accepting high-definition content; it's rather a surprise to see one without it. However, the A42HD84 does include DVI input, which makes it a natural match for a PC.

With its ease of use, so-so TV image quality, and DVI input, the A42HD84 seems better suited to a conference room than to a living room. Its image quality is more than good enough for PowerPoint, and it would work just fine for watching news or a training video. If you want to settle down for an evening of inexpensive TV entertainment, though, you'd be better served by Vizio's P42HDTV, which delivers better TV and DVD viewing for $1599 (price as of 6/6/06).

Laura Blackwell

This story, "AOC A42HD84" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Attractive, low-priced model disappoints on TV quality but would make a great conference room monitor.


    • Handsome design; easy to use


    • Unimpressive image quality
    • Lacks HDMI input
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