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Relisys RLT26AG20 26in HDTV

I have a love-hate relationship with television. Shows such as Scrubs, Stargate, South Park and The Simpsons provide me with great entertainment that I don't think I could do without. However, having to sit down in front of the TV at a particular time in order to catch them, is an annoyance and I always have an appetite for “just one more”. The biggest problem with that, is that when the show ends, there is a high chance you'll just end up watching whatever comes on next, or channel surfing until you find something else. You'll later ask yourself why on earth you watched a special on the correct way to fold trousers. If you're not careful television can waste away entire evenings and weekends, when you could be doing something considerably more worthwhile, like folding trousers (learn by doing!).

Media Center, DVDs and Internet downloads have really helped in this area – to stop you getting caught up in television's warm, glowing, warming glow. By scheduling the programs you want to watch, buying them on DVD or just downloading them (legally of course), you can watch the stuff you want, when you want, without being suckered into wasting your whole evening.

When I was a lot younger, I remember watching quite a lot of TV. But as soon as I had a computer in my room, I soon stopped watching it and started programming (yeah, I'm a geek). If you've ever tried this, you'll soon forget about TV altogether and wonder why you ever watched it in the first place. But watching a few select shows is a much healthier way of going about things, so naturally I want a decent TV to watch it on.

HDTV has been a much talked about technology and we've been trying our best to help you along with your purchasing decision, with a considerable number of TV reviews and Riyad's excellent HDTV demystified piece.

The television I'm looking at today is the 26in Relisys RLT26AG20. I've been testing this over the past few weeks in my bedroom, replacing my archaic 21in fishbowl of a TV.

To look at, it's sleek – I really like the way it looks. It has a small footprint and is also wall mountable. A number of visitors that got as far as seeing my bedroom commented “nice TV” without even seeing the thing switched on. Not that I'm one for status symbols, but it obviously has some street cred.

The switch-out took barely any time at all. So before I did, for old times sake I watched some videos on the CRT for comparison. Upon moving to the Relisys the first thing I noticed was that the colours were no where near as vibrant and the blacks were pretty poor – this difference was startling, in fact at first I started to miss my trusty CRT. This is a common complaint of cheap LCDs. With a contrast ratio of 550:1, this is not surprising at all, as this is a pretty poor ratio. Ideally, you want around the 1000:1 mark.

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