Digital TV receivers, games consoles, PCs, VCRs, DVD players, amplifiers, speakers… the amount of clutter your average home cinema fans have to pile under their TV these days really is quite frightening. The sheer volume of space it all eats up and the mess it can cause – especially with coils of cable spaghetti all over the place – just isn’t conducive to the clean, open, family-friendly space most people want their living rooms to be these days.
So when a product comes along that combines three separate AV devices in one tidy box, it’s fair to say that we sit up and take notice. Cue Sagem’s HD-L26TP2: a 26in LCD TV complete with a built-in digital tuner and – extremely unusually – a built-in hard disk video recording system. Could this be the answer to our clutter-busting prayers?
It’s certainly a hell of a lot nicer to look at than a separate TV, Freeview receiver and hard disk recorder would be, at any rate. The high-gloss black finish is sumptuous, and the design boldly minimalistic. On the downside, the TV’s speaker-bearing ‘wings’ stick out an unusually long way to either side of the screen, making it take up rather more space than your average 26in TV. Also, the stretched design has the effect of making the screen part actually look slightly smaller than it really is.
Considering how many features it’s got built in, we would have forgiven the L26TP2 if it hadn’t bothered providing as many connections as its rivals. But in fact it’s unusually well connected, with highlights including two HDMIs, component video inputs, a PC connection, two SCARTs, and a USB jack for taking in digital photos from a USB key or memory card reader. There’s even a digital audio output to support Dolby Digital 5.1 audio signals should the digital terrestrial ‘Freeview’ service ever start broadcasting them. The only disappointment connections-wise is the lack of a conditional access card slot for adding subscription services to the basic Freeview channel roster.