Lenco TFT-725 does DVB-T on the cheap

I can’t help but wonder how they can possibly make this for 60 euros? The Lenco TFT-725 combines a DVB-T receiver with one of those 7″ screen typically found in portable DVD players. Throw in a card reader, MPEG 1/2/4 playback, a USB port and you’ve got a pretty amazing deal. And, as I tested yesterday, it all actually works as advertised.

Holland may be a small country, but with relatives living in every corner of it, my kids still spend a lot of time in the backseats of our car. I’d been considering getting them a portable DVD player when I came across the Lenco TFT-725. This thing plays the movies we’ve already encoded for use with our WD TV Live, and the ability to use it as a portable TV is a nice bonus.

Exterior

The 725 is an inch-thick slab of cheap-looking black plastic. It feels sturdy enough, but I wouldn’t risk dropping it if I can avoid so. There are a couple of buttons and a D-pad to the left of the screen, which in case you were wondering doesn’t respond to touch. There’s a kickstand on the back, and several connectors on the left and top sides of the device.

Battery included

It comes with all the necessary cables, including a car charger. What’s nice is that there’s an AV in and out, so you can use it as an extra screen for a DVD player, or add an extra screen to it and watch MPEG4 on two screens. There’s no built-in storage, but there’s a USB port on the top of the device, right next to the card reader. I popped in the SD card from my digital photo frame and it displayed the images without issues. I’m not sure how good the battery life will be, but I’m planning on using it with one of the included power cables.

Screen

The 725’s achilles heel is its screen. It’s not bad, but these cheap 7″ video screens usually come in low resolutions (the Lenco’s is 480 x 234 pixels). Viewing angles aren’t great but will do. Video playback doesn’t look half bad, but the menus look very ‘pixely’. The user interface design is poor at best, but once you figure it out it’s really not very hard to use. There’s a basic electronic program guide (EPG), and navigating the menus is using the D-pad or the bundled remote is a breeze.

DVB-T

The external antenna gave me excellent reception out of the box, but when I moved the device a couple of meters from said box it was gone. Antenna placement is still an issue with DVB-T, so it’s probably a good thing that the antenna has a long, flexible cord. In The Netherlands, only a couple of channels are free-to-air (FTA), but luckily, one of them will broadcast the football world cup :). There’s no way to get additional channels, because the 725, like all cheaper DVB-T devices, lacks a smartcard slot.

All in all this device offers an amazing value for money. It’s not very slick-looking, but if you can live with the FTA limitation and the low resolution screen it’s the cheapest little TV you can buy. And it works.

Roy | May 19, 2010 | English,Gadgets | Comments (11)
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11 Comments

  1. Hi I know this is the wrong place.

    I have been using your tag cloud on my stumbleupon site and in the last few days the font size has gone huge how do I get it back to size., before it worked fine thanks

    Alistair

    Comment by Boyofbow — May 19, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  2. Seems Great! :D Waiting for it to be in Indian Market :P

    Comment by Ashu — May 28, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  3. Link: Lenco TFT-725 does DVB-T on the cheap | xtremecoders.org
  4. Why can’t i get some channels in belguim?

    Comment by Stefke — June 10, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

  5. I think this looks really interesting. Any idea when it comes to denmark?
    Thanks

    Comment by Milo — June 19, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

  6. We warned: this unit does not support all types of DVB-T transmission… it’s not working in Belgium for instance.

    Comment by Wim — July 9, 2010 @ 8:30 am

    • No reception at all in France (Gerardmer region, Lorraine) either. But that may be because it’s a very rural area ;).

      Comment by Roy — August 4, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  7. i cut it open it and is my second view for dslr- nice part.
    and minitv

    mike

    Comment by mikemac — August 3, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  8. I use the Lenko tft-725 with good results, i love the radio function. Batary does aprox. 2 hours!
    I use a DVB antenna from a KPN set, wich is the best performance as an active antenna.
    Better than the one delivered with it.
    But there is a smaller and cheaper DVB TV±

    The `MT Logic PD-1003` 3.5 inch DVB-TV with card reader, build in antenna, thats the bad part.
    Actualy as use as portible radio it will do.
    No ins and outs, only USB charge and a mini sd slot for pictures and movies.

    Comment by DotzZz — January 25, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

  9. I come from Ghana am currently in Heidelberg Germany using the DVB-T, TFT-725 but all the channels are in German.I don’t understand German.Can i get channels in English? Also can this device be used in Ghana?

    Comment by MAXWELL DALABA — July 29, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

    • Hmm, there should be a language setting somewhere I think. Never been to Ghana, so I’m afraid I’m not going to be much help.

      Comment by Roy — August 14, 2011 @ 11:25 am