Hannspree's main business is producing monitors, but the company also pumps out some budget TVs every now and again. The 42-inch, 1080p SK42TMNB LCD TV is its latest offering. At just £350 or thereabouts, it seems like a bargain compared to tellies from big-name manufacturers. Is this actually the case, or has Hannspree compromised this TV's performance to keep the price down?
The SK42TMNB isn't the prettiest set to look at, but nor is it an ugly duckling. It measures a relatively podgy 85mm thick, and the bezel around the screen is quite thick, but the piano black finish doesn't look too bad and Hannspree has added a brushed-metal band across the bottom of the set to jazz the design up.
The budget nature of the TV becomes pretty apparent when you go to connect up your various AV gear. Most of today's 42-inch tellies now come with four HDMI ports, but this model only has two, which is very stingy for a TV of this size. There's just a single Scart socket as well, which sits alongside the component inputs and VGA port. Hannspree has, however, added a USB port, which the TV makes pretty good use of.
Connect up a hard drive to this port and you can play back a range of different formats, including JPEG pictures, MP3 music, and Xivd, DivX and MKV videos. The telly can't downmix AC3 audio, though, so, if your video files contain surround sound, the SK42TMNB will simply refuse to play them.
Along with media playback, the USB port also supports some PVR features. You can pause live TV, record the channel you're currently watching, or schedule a recording using the set's basic, but functional, electronic programme guide. As the recording feature simply grabs the raw digital TV stream and saves it to disc, the recording quality is just as good as the original signal.
The bad news is that the TV only has a standard-definition Freeview tuner, so it doesn't support high-definition broadcasts. Still, that might not be a problem if you get your TV via a third-party service, like Sky or Virgin Media.