For most people, the biggest turn offs about the home cinema dream are cost and clutter. Which just so happen to be the two issues Humax's LP40-TDR1 LCD TV tries especially hard to address.
When it comes to reducing clutter, the ‘killer app' of the LP40 is its Freeview Playback capability, meaning that it has a fully featured hard disk recording system built into its body. There's no need for a separate recorder box, or the attendant cabling that would require.
In terms of cost, you can get your hands on the LP40's still very rare, subscription-free built-in Freeview Playback system, plus its big old 40in LCD screen, for the extremely aggressive price of £690. That's less than many ‘vanilla' 32in LCD TVs. So are we looking at the bargain of the year, or what?
If you're the sort of person who just likes to get a lot of sheer hardware for your buck, the LP40's design will have you on cloud 9. It really is a brute of a thing, featuring a much wider bezel than is common these days, and sticking out round the back a country mile versus the increasingly skinny efforts of most of today's ‘flat' TVs. People with dodgy backs should also note that it weighs a relative ton.
There is, at least, one potential performance benefit to the TV's bulk, though, since its speaker system is so large that it's almost a separate element, sitting half an inch or so below the main screen like some kind of these new-fangled ‘sound bar' thingies. If this audio approach can't deliver a richer sound performance than the increasingly invisible speakers found in the majority of flat TV rivals, we'll be very disappointed indeed.
At this point I probably should add that as you can tell from our pictures of the LP40, its size doesn't necessarily make it ugly - just unfashionable.
Craning our necks around the LP40's substantial rear uncovers a nasty surprise: just one HDMI input. Convinced we must have missed something, we checked the TV's sides out for more, but to no avail. The LP40 apparently doesn't think that its owners will want to add more than one of such various HDMI sources as an upscaling DVD player, an Xbox 360 Elite console, a PS3 console, or an HDMI-sporting PC. Er, cheers.
What's more, the HDMI provided is only built to the now out-dated V1.2 specification, denying you support for the enhanced picture quality possible via the high-bandwidth Deep Color and xvYCC image formats.
Although it's entirely possible that many of our readers simply will not be able to see past the single HDMI cock-up, I should say that in other ways connectivity isn't actually bad, with a dedicated PC port, component video jack and digital audio output catching the eye.