While it’s easy for us as a technology review site to get all hot under the collar about the latest cutting edge TV features - 3D, Smart TV, super-charged LCD panels and so on - we should never forget that there are many people out there for whom a TV is simply something that’s supposed to show good-quality pictures. No more, no less.
So it is that we’ve chased into our test rooms Samsung’s UE32D5000: a 32in LCD TV lit by edge LEDs that can be yours for the princely sum of just £345.
That this remarkably affordable TV has arrived from Samsung - a brand that’s keener than most to stick to a ‘premium TVs only for review’ policy - is one surprise. But another is how good most things about the UE32D5000 are for its money.
The set hits the ground running with its design: a typically crisp, clean and stylish affair, comprising a ‘crystal’-finished black bezel rounded off by a cute transparent outer trim. The detachable desktop stand fits in a treat, too, thanks to its transparent neck - though the screen’s extreme slimness makes the UE32D5000 a great option for wall hanging too, especially as its connections are all positioned for side access rather than facing straight out.
These connections are excellent for the UE32D5000’s money. With its four HDMIs, two USBs, D-Sub PC port and Ethernet socket, it appears at first glance to be just as well connected as many TVs costing four times as much.
It’s only when you start delving deeper into the full abilities of each of these key sockets that the feature compromises start to crop up. For instance, while the USBs can still play video, photo or music multimedia files, they can’t also record from the built in tuner like they can on Samsung’s higher spec models.
Next, while the Ethernet port can, impressively, port in files from a networked PC, it can’t take you online to Samsung’s Smart TV portal. This means the UE32D5000 denies you access to all the extra content now offered by Samsung’s Smart TV system - but we know from debates on this very website that Smart TV features leave plenty of people cold.
The UE32D5000’s HDMIs, meanwhile, are built to the v1.3 standard rather than the v1.4 standard required by Samsung’s 3D TVs; wi-fi has to be added via an optional USB dongle rather than being built in; and finally the UE32D5000 only has a Freeview tuner rather than a Freeview HD one.
This latter feature compromise is unquestionably the most controversial one. For we have no doubt there will be people out there who just won’t countenance buying a main living room TV these days that doesn’t have an HD tuner built into it. If you’re looking for a 32in TV for a second room, though, then the lack of an HD tuner is unlikely to matter nearly as much.