Review – NEC E464 46" LED Edge-lit Commercial-Grade Display w/ Integrated Tuner

Wander into a big box store and you will see racks of LCD displays. All of them will be stocked with features ranging from Smart TV apps, differing refresh rates, audio options, and backlighting technology, but most of them have something else in common – a short duty cycle and a one-year warranty. Enter the world of commercial displays, designed for signage, but perfectly at home as well. The NEC E464 46" LED Edge-lit Commercial-Grade Display w/ Integrated Tuner is designed for 12-hour-per-day operation, carries a 3-year warranty and has a TV tuner if you’d like to use an antenna for free HD content.

This TV eschews lots of bells and whistles in favor of a unit engineered for everyday, all-day operation. Its specifications include a native HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, and a 4000:1 contrast ratio, at 350 cd/m2 luminance level. It has enough inputs to satisfy just about any variety of sources including 3 HDMI inputs, Analog video inputs include a VGA 15-pin D-sub, RCA (Y, Cb/Pb, Cr/Pr) Component in. Audio options include HDMI Audio, Stereo Mini-Jack, and External Control has the requisite RS-232C port. To export audio, especially derived from the tuner, there is a SPDIF optical out. The built in speakers surprised us, as most of the units we have tested have featured speakers whose key audio trait could best be described as “tinny” but the E464 sports a 10W Audio Amplifier, with dual down-firing speakers.

The built-in tuner is a normal NTSC/ATSC analog/digital tuner; the menu options include several variable picture modes (dynamic standard; energy savings; theater; custom); advanced video/audio settings; sleep timer; built-in closed captioning; parental control (V-chip function); power management; and a USB port. What’s more, it comes with a three-year warranty covering parts and labor, including the backlight. The remote is full-featured, but sports only the essential buttons, so it won’t require poring over the user manual to decipher. Nothing fancy, but it does the trick.

The question remains: who would are this display’s target customer? The obvious answer is anyone seeking dependable display technology, at a budget price. This includes schools, medical facilities, boardrooms, restaurants and bars – users run the gamut. But is it appropriate for home use? We thought about this question, and realized that despite the industry selling TVs that are chock full of “smart” features, the fact is that many folks are turning to TV tuners (rather than traditional cable service) to save money and get higher quality by utilizing over-the-air stations. With so many Blu-ray players sporting Netflix, Hulu, and other apps, the need for the TV to have those features seems diminished if not feature bloat. Add a Roku, Apple TV, or similar box, and once again the need for a TV with smart apps is less pressing.

Since most folks purchasing a display of this size would most likely be connecting it to a modern AV home theater receiver, along with either a sound bar, or surround sound system, all fed by HDMI cables, it seems that the most important aspect of a display is to provide a great picture. Aesthetically the E464 is thin, with a bezel that is .39-inches on three sides, and 1.3-inches on the bottom. The unit is black and the bezel is so thin it just about disappears in use. It ships with a stand, but takes a standard VESA mount, which we suspect many folks will use. The picture quality was first rate, running though the Spears & Munsil High-Definition Benchmark Blu-ray Edition test disc. It revealed a consistent luminance level, with well-defined control of contrast and flare, but capable of subtle consistent skin tones.

We tested the E464 display with the extraordinary Oppo BD-105, using a variety of sources including Netflix, Hulu, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray, DVD, and other formats, all with exemplary rendering on the display. Although this unit is being marketed primarily for commercial use, we feel that many consumers should consider this unit for personal use in homes, especially since many folks view close to if not more than 12 hours of daily viewing time. It makes sense to us, considering the E464’s longer-than-average warranty, and the expectation of a longer duty cycle during the day, coupled with its first-rate visual performance in a well-designed package, at an attractive price. The NEC E 464 46" LED Edge-lit Commercial-Grade Display w/ Integrated Tuner comes highly recommended.

Harris Fogel and Nancy Burlan, posted 12/6/2013

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