The lack of recording quality is unfortunately emphasised by the fact that the picture quality from the LP40’s screen with original Freeview broadcasts is actually very respectable. Not least because noise levels are actually rather well suppressed for such an affordable TV, with surprisingly little grittiness or MPEG fluttering to divert your attention from what you’re watching.
Even better, this relative freedom from noise with standard definition sources doesn’t come at the expense of sharpness – a trait that’s reinforced when watching HD content, as the set does a neat job of portraying the lovely extra detail, depth and clarity visible during, say, the opening jungle sequences of Apocalypto on Blu-ray.
The general lack of noise during standard and high-definition sources suggests, too, that the LP40’s image scaling is pretty effective for a budget LCD TV.
The shots of the panther pursuing our hero through this jungle later on in the film reveal the set to have respectable black levels for its money too, with less greying over the panther’s skin than we would have anticipated. Though it is a bit tricky to make out any sort of detail in the panther’s fur, thanks to a lack of shadow detail finesse.
Sticking with Mel Gibson’s Mayan epic, the LP40 also does quite well with its colours, portraying the verdant jungles with verve and a passably authentic rich green tone, and not struggling as severely with the film’s tricky skin tone variations as we might have expected.
During the aforementioned panther sequence, too, it’s noticeable that the LP40’s picture also suffers less with motion blur than many of its cut-price peers.
Against all this mostly positive work you have to set some small but still slightly annoying light bleed from the screen’s corners (though this is only visible during very dark shots), the occasional off-key colour tone (especially during standard def viewing), and a lack of shadow detail subtlety which is why, as previously mentioned, you can’t really make out any fine detail in the Apocalypto panther’s fur.
One final little gripe most obvious while playing games is a tendency to leave a small ‘trail’ behind fast-moving objects or scenery elements. Though to be fair, this sort of lagging error is hardly rare in the affordable LCD world.
What is rare in the affordable LCD world, though, is sound quality as good as that of the LP40. That ‘speaker bar’ effect delivers fully on the promise suggested by its size, pumping out more power than half a dozen normal LCD TVs put together, and fleshing out Apocalypto’s action scenes with some impressive dynamics together with a much greater bass-to-treble extension than we’re used to hearing from a flat TV. Excellent.
For its money, there’s no doubt whatsoever that the Humax LP40-TDR1 has a lot to offer in terms of general picture quality, some of its features, and sound quality. But before you all rush out to buy one, don’t forget that its recordings are fundamentally flawed, while its provision of just one HDMI is frankly ridiculous.