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Before today, we thought we’d done a pretty fair job so far of covering HD Ready TVs across the pricing spectrum. Turns out we were wrong. How do we know this? Because we’ve been getting busy with a 27in HD Ready LCD set from Mirai that costs just – drum roll please - £520. Repeat: £520. That’s a cool £400 cheaper than the nearest rival product (Sagem’s 26in LCD HD-L26TP2) we’ve covered to date in our pre-World Cup TV frenzy.
As ever, though, where there’s a price as extravagantly cheap as this, the question that has to be asked is this: does the Mirai T27004 make its rivals look like overpriced chumps, or does it just prove once more the old adage that you only get what you pay for?
Aesthetically the T27004 fits the ‘only get what you pay for’ scenario all too well. The ‘design’, if you can call it that, is an exercise in dullness thanks to its uninspiring rectangular lines, drab grey colour scheme and depressingly plasticky build quality. Shudder.
Our mood starts to improve fast, though, as a search for connections uncovers that delectable HD Ready duo of a DVI input and a set of component video jacks. These two connections alone are impressive finds on a £520 27in LCD TV, but they’re also backed up by a pair of SCARTs, a PC port so that the TV can double up as a computer monitor (further increasing its value appeal), and even a subwoofer output so you can add your own external bass speaker. This latter jack is unusual but, as we’ll discover, also quite necessary…
The Mirai completes its HD Ready specifications with an HD-friendly native resolution of 1,366 x 768, and compatibility with the required 720p and 1080i HD picture formats. What’s more, while we’re on the subject of specifications it also boasts both a contrast ratio (900:1) and a brightness output (550cd/m2) that on paper shame many a more expensive rival. Let’s just hope these figures turn out to be reasonably reliable reflections of the Mirai’s performance rather than just the pie-in-the-sky numerical conjuring tricks they sometimes appear to be on other LCD screens.