SyncMaster 173MP is equipped with DVI and D-Sub inputs as well as two audio inputs, connectors for TV and VHF antennas (the simplest version of the latter – a long wire with a connector on one end and a plastic loop on the other end – is included with the monitor), SCART connector, S-Video and composite inputs. One of the audio inputs is a 3.5mm mini-jack, and the other consists of two RCA connectors. Like in the above-discussed monitors, the second audio input belongs to the same group as SCART, S-Video and composite video inputs and turns on when one of these inputs is enabled.
The beautiful and colorful menu with icons and other graphics interface offers you an abundance of settings.
You can change the name of each of the signal sources as it is shown in the list. The name is selected from the manufacturer’s prefabricated list including words and abbreviations like “VCR”, “DVD”, “Cable STB”, “Satellite STB”, “A/V Receiver” and so on. When you switch between the inputs, the monitor automatically excludes empty connectors from the list (it’s impossible to identify connection for the SCART connector, so this input is always available in the menu). Thus, if you’ve got only your computer connected to the monitor, you will have only three options for the video source: D-Sub (or DVI, if you attached the monitor to the computer across this interface), the integrated TV-tuner and the ubiquitous SCART.
The TV- and FM-tuners can be set up automatically or manually. Besides that, it is also possible to change the order of channels for the TV-tuner and assign a five-character name to each channel (consisting of Latin letters and numbers).
It seems that the audio tract of the FM-tuner is used when displaying TV programs since you can enable this tuner only when you work with the computer. The FM-tuner works in a range of 88..108MHz and can remember as many as 60 radio stations.
The TV-tuner is highly functional, too, especially as far as the ways of outputting the picture onto the screen are concerned. The “Picture-in-Picture” mode is simply splendid here:
First of all, we have the classical “picture-in-picture” mode, when the first image is outputted in a window, and the second - on the whole screen.
Of course, you can swap the pictures. Moreover, you can change the size of the window (not at your wish, though, but choosing one of two available variants), its position (four variants – in four corners of the screen) and transparency (four variants from opaque to transparent).
You can make the two images occupy two halves of the screen and you can also choose if the images should be stretched vertically or not.
The Virtual Dolby Surround technology is meant to enhance the sound quality, but its effect, although hearable, is quite negligible on the humble integrated speakers. Well, I actually dislike such “sound-enhancing” technologies as they often transform music into something quite different from what the sound producer intended. Timbre controls are also available, but they don’t have any positive effect on the integrated speakers, though may be useful with external speakers or headphones.