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TVs have been getting complicated lately. It seems as if every review I do involves me getting my head round some groundbreaking new technology that might or might not turn out to be god's gift to television. Even today I was intending to bring you a review of Sony's 40ZX1 - the first TV with edge-based LED backlighting (enabling it to be just 9.9mm thick) and wireless HD connectivity. But, um, I couldn't get the wireless HD system to work.
So pending a call from someone who knows about these things in Japan, I decided to turn my attentions to the polar opposite of the TV world: a 26in TV from budget brand Goodmans.
Actually, even though the Goodmans LD2667D is only my ‘second choice' TV for today, I'm pretty pleased to be reviewing it. For it's probably this sort of cheap and, hopefully, cheerful TV that most people will be thinking of buying in these hardest of times.
Plus I'm genuinely intrigued to see if Goodmans - and, in coming weeks, other self-consciously budget brands - can still really justify their existence now that so many mainstream brands are delivering TVs at prices that get dangerously close to treading on the budget brands' toes.
As a perfect case in point, Toshiba's respectable 26AV505DB 26in TV was available online for only £287.90 when we reviewed it towards the end of last year - and that's just £18 more than the Goodmans 26in we're looking at today. Hmm.
Aesthetically, it's nice to see that Goodmans is at least ‘having a go'. For the dull grey plastic of so many Goodmans sets of the past has been replaced by a genuinely glossy black bezel, offset by a neat silver trim and grilled speaker section along the bottom edge. The finish is still very plasticky, and has an uncanny knack of showing up finger marks, but at least it's not actually ugly.
Things take a turn for the worse when it comes to the TV's connections, though. For no matter how hard I looked, I could only find a single HDMI socket when I'd expect even the cheapest TV these days to offer two. Certainly Toshiba's 26AV505DB manages two.
Compounding this problem is the fact that the HDMI socket is fiddly to access, tucked away behind a ridge along the TV's underside. So switching HDMI sources over as and when you need to is hardly straightforward.
The connection news isn't all bad, though. For the LD2667D does manage a dedicated D-Sub PC port while the Toshiba model did not, and also carries both a digital audio output (for the built-in Freeview tuner) and a component video input to complete the set's HD Ready requirement.
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