Cello is very much the last man standing of British television manufacturers, assembling components in its North of England factory to supply screens around the world at a very keen price, backed by UK-based telephone customer support.
With the Platinum range, Cello is making a determined push upmarket with high quality components while eschewing the industry trend for ever slimmer bezels in order to improve the sound output.
The sound output of modern televisions is so universally bad that a thriving market for sound bars has been created. The Cello approach is to build this sound bar into the television, producing a rich, deep bass and crisp, bright high notes. A vast improvement on what one would normally expect from a modern LCD TV with the added benefit of not requiring a rat’s nest of cables to set up. The aging warship, HMS Belfast, on which the launch of the range took place, was probably unprepared for Katy Perry blasting out over the decks to emphasise the quality of the Cello audio solution.
Cello has used high quality LCD panels with resolutions ranging from basic 720p all the way up to 4K, although sadly without HDR support at present. As well as Freeview HD and satellite tuners, the Platinum range also features Android 4.2 powered by an A7 CPU with 1gb RAM and 4gb of Flash storage. USB connectivity is available to increase the storage space if required, and Android itself clips along at a good pace (unlike many other smart TV’s that feel sluggish by comparison.) Unfortunately, there is no upgrade path to later versions of Android so other than what Cello’s inhouse team releases in the way of updates, the core operating system will remain unchanged during the lifetime of the TV.
As a plug-in-and-go solution, the Platinum range has much to recommend it, with bright, clear displays. The sound is particularly impressive and I can imagine a niche of users that will be overjoyed to be able to hear audio from their television that doesn’t sound like the strained output from a phone speaker. The inclusion of the Android OS opens users up to a range of applications and games far beyond those found on other smart TV’s.
However, those strengths can also be regarded as weaknesses. While the sound output is undeniably impressive, some purchasers may prefer to choose their own audio solution and with the advent of Amazon’s Fire TV, Google’s Chromecast and the Apple TV, the days of requiring a Smart TV are numbered – buyers are unlikely to want to be constrained by decisions made at the factory forever.
It will be interesting to see where Cello take the Platinum brand over the next 12 months.