While you may not have heard of AOC before, the company has been in the TV business for quite a long time. Originally founded as Admiral Overseas Corporation, the company supplied that venerable American brand with low-priced compact color televisions and has since grown to be a very large vendor of LCD flat-panel televisions and computer monitors. On a press trip to its Chinese facilities two years ago, I was highly impressed with the company’s state-of-theart production technology, and I also saw that they produce a wide range of TVs and computer monitors for many well-known brands. In fact, it’s quite possible that you might have an LCD monitor on your desktop that came from one of AOC’s plants. The L32W761, a recently introduced model, first came with “Envision by AOC” branding, sporting an Envision logo on the set’s front panel. Recently, the company decided to harmonize the AOC branding across all model lines, and so you’ll probably find the set marketed as “Envision Series by AOC,” with the AOC logo on the front panel. Either way, this set is a winner, with solid performance that belies the quite affordable $550 price tag.
• ATSC/NTSC/Cable Clear-QAM tuners
• HDMI input
• VGA input
• Component video, S-video, composite video inputs
• Coaxial digital audio output
The remote control is reasonably laid out, but features small font white labeling that is hard to see in low light. A video adjustment button calls up brightness and contrast screen controls, but for other adjustments such as color and tint, the main menu must be called up.
There’s also an audio adjustment button, but both buttons are small in size with similarly small labels. For source selection, the remote features dedicated buttons for video, component and VGA inputs and the set’s internal TV tuner, but lacks an HDMI input selection—for that, you have to toggle through the source selector function.
The on-screen menu is well laid out, with adjustment indicators featuring both sliders as well as numerical read-outs, with a wide adjustment range for precision fine-tuning. The adjustable backlighting features 10 steps, and while the set has individual picture adjustment memories for each input, there are no dedicated picture memory buttons or presets (other than a factory default reset) in the on-screen menu. That precludes having “day” and “night” memory settings, for example. Within the set’s video adjustment section (in tuner mode) there’s a DTV signal strength indicator that’s helpful for antenna adjustment, if you’re going the overthe- air route instead of cable or satellite. Overall, the menu design is intuitive as well as informative.
RECOMMENDED PICTURE SETTINGS
Note: The following recommended settings were obtained using a Samsung Blu-ray player, set to 720p output, and connected to the set via HDMI, using the recently released Digital Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray test and set-up disc. Having a test DVD and/or HD disc on hand is really the only way to ensure that your source components and the display are properly adjusted, especially with respect to the brightness and contrast controls.
Color Temperature Warm
Dynamic Contrast Off
Noise Reduction Off
3D Y/C On
Backlight 0 (minimum)
Ambient Light Tolerance: I always prefer to dial down an LCD TV’s backlighting to the bare minimum in order to achieve the best overall contrast and dark gray details. Even at the lowest backlight setting, however, the AOC has sufficient brightness to be able to put out a suitably bright picture for daytime viewing.
Viewing Angle: Typically an LCD TV’s biggest weakness, with obvious shifts in contrast and detail when viewed off angle from dead center, the AOC suffers much less in this regard than other LCD sets, with only minimal differences visible even when viewed from way off to the side—yet one more reason why I’m so impressed with this set. Audio: Average TV sound quality, which is why you’ll be better off hooking up the set to an external audio system.
I’m highly impressed by the AOC/Envision’s overall picture quality; in fact, it’s one of the best LCD TVs I’ve come across. However, as with just about all other displays, the AOC features out-of-the-box factory default picture settings that produce an initially poor picture, with excessive brightness, contrast and garish color tone. Trim back the backlighting, and tweak the picture controls, and the AOC turns from an ugly duckling into a magnificent swan. Even at the lowest backlighting setting, the set still puts out a sufficiently bright picture that is entirely watchable in daylight conditions, and the overall color fidelity and picture quality is quite remarkable for a set with such an affordable price tag.