We don't know about you, but we have to admit we'd almost forgotten about Sanyo as an AV brand. It used to be one of the biggest players in the UK, but these days it seems to have become lost under a deluge of sets from Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony and the like. So that part of us that always loves the underdog is pleased as punch today to get our hands on a new Sanyo LCD TV in the shape of the 32in CE32LD81-B.
Catchy by name the CE32LD81 is not, but it's kind of catchy by nature. Take its price, for instance. Less than £430 for a 32in LCD TV really isn't much at all, taking Sanyo dangerously close to the sort of territory usually reserved for dedicated budget brands like Goodmans and Bush. The TV's also a pretty attractive looker in its minimal, gloss black bezel and unusually bold neon blue standby light. If you're thinking of wall-hanging it, though, just heed the fact that it's actually quite chunky round the back.
Connectivity is perfectly acceptable for such a cheap 32in TV. Twin HDMIs and a component video jack get the HD video ball rolling, plus there's a D-Sub PC input so the TV can double up as a computer monitor, a CAM slot for adding subscription services to a built-in Freeview digital tuner, and even a digital audio output so you can pass on to a suitable AV receiver any audio information carried in via the HDMIs.
We should probably say in the interests of completeness that the CE32LD81's HDMI inputs are v1.2 affairs, not v1.3, and also that they don't take 1080p signals, instead topping out at 1080i. But then it's hardly realistic to expect HDMI v1.3 on a TV as affordable as this one, and 1080p really isn't very important at all on a set as small as 32in, where spotting differences between 1080i and 1080p is next to impossible.
The CE32LD81 is an HD Ready set rather than a full HD one, which is to say its native resolution comes in at 1,366 x 768. This again is perfectly fine for a 32in TV. More alarming is a claimed contrast ratio of 1,200:1 which looks rather underwhelming when you consider that LCD TVs are coming out now with contrast ratios as high as 8,000:1. The only potential strength we can find in this apparent weakness is that it means there's no backlight-adjusting dynamic contrast system in play and so we won't have to worry about the sort of brightness ‘stepping' that can afflict some dynamic contrast TVs. Or maybe we're just clutching at straws…