Although 'combi' sets like Ferguson's HD Ready, 26-inch F2620LVD LCD TV and DVD player don't seem very fashionable with manufacturers at the moment, we're still convinced there's a place for them -- especially now that more and more people are installing LCD TVs in second rooms, where having piles of separate kit isn't an option. It's a shame, then, that the £330 F2620LVD isn't a better advert for the combi concept.
The first thing that strikes you about the F2620LVD is that it looks cheap. Its bodywork looks and feels like pure, unadulterated plastic, and the featureless shape of the black chassis couldn't be less interesting if it tried.
The TV's connections are also bad. There's just a single HDMI input when even the most basic TVs these days generally manage two. The built-in DVD player means there's one less thing you might need to attach to the F2620LVD, but we still don't think a single HDMI input is enough.
Aside from its HD Ready resolution, there's little to excite us about the F2620LVD's other screen specifications, either. There are practically no picture features or processing options to speak of, and the set's claimed contrast ratio of 700:1 is scarily low compared to that of most rival LCD TVs.
The built-in DVD drive, accessed via a slot on the side, provides some cause for cheer, though -- it can play MP3 audio and JPEG photo files, as well as CDs and DVDs.
But the cheery moment is short-lived. The DVD player doesn't support DivX playback, and flatly refuses to pull any discs into its slot unless you've first selected DVD playback via the TV's horribly flimsy remote control. Quite why the DVD slot can't just pull discs in whenever they're presented and then have the TV automatically turn to the DVD channel is beyond us.
The single biggest problem, though, has to be the screen's dismal contrast. Watch any dark scene, and it's impossible not to feel depressed by the amount of low-contrast grey mist hanging over anything that's supposed to look black.