In the normal scheme of things, the unashamedly large scale of our home entertainment dreams tend to mean we’re not particularly drawn to TVs as small as 26in. But every now and then a 26in TV arrives that does something special enough to catch our eagle AV eye and we’re driven to getting it in for a test. Cue the Goodmans LD2661HDFVT.
As you may very well guess from its Goodmans branding, the reason this LCD TV catches our eye is a pretty shallow one: price. It’s just £350 – not far off being only half what we might customarily expect to cough up for a 26in LCD TV. What makes this price even more startling is the fact that it gets you a fully fledged HD Ready TV, not some bog-standard VGA screen.
In case you’re not 100 per cent clear what this means, let’s spell it out for you. First of all, you get a widescreen aspect ratio with a native pixel resolution of 1,366 x 768. Then, when it comes to connections, you get the required HDMI and component video input options, with both able to take the necessary 720p/1080i HD image formats.
Admittedly there’s only one HDMI on the LD2661HDFVT when practically every other TV in town these days has at least two. But frankly having even one is startling enough for this money. Plus there’s some seriously unexpected further compensation for the HDMI shortfall in the form of a D-sub connector so you can double the TV up as a computer monitor; and a built-in digital tuner – the latter being something of a surprise on such a cheap TV.
The LD2661HDFVT doesn’t even look particularly cheap, sporting a reasonably solid black body as opposed to the flimsy silver plastic we might have expected it to come dressed in.
Probably the first real ‘budget reality check’ comes with the TV’s onscreen menus. These are presented with all the technological prowess of a ZX Spectrum and contain next to no features to tinker around with. Really, the only points of even passing interest are a standard noise reduction system and a Film mode that applies a progressive scan system better suited to movie as opposed to TV sources. But come on; with an HD Ready spec, PC compatibility and a digital tuner already delivering more than we think you’ve any right to expect for £350, it’s just not realistic to find anything else.
The really important question, of course, is what level of picture quality we can expect for this price. And the answer is…pretty darned low, sadly.