Have you ever found yourself wondering if any of those no-brand TVs piled on the shelves of your local supermarket are actually any good? We know we have. So we thought we'd get our hands on one: the HD Ready, 32-inch Technika LCD32-209 LCD TV, available from Tesco for a cool £280.
Considering how phenomenally cheap it is for a 32-inch TV, the LCD32-209's provision of two HDMIs among its connections is pretty good. Its two digital audio outputs and subwoofer line out come as a pleasant surprise too.
The LCD32-209's on-screen menus are also better than anticipated. They're attractively presented, easy to read and sensibly organised. They even contain one or two sophisticated features, such as a multi-level noise-reduction processor, a game mode, a film mode -- which adjusts the TV's progressive scanning for film rather than video sources -- and an optional dynamic backlight system that reduces the backlight output during dark scenes to boost the set's black-level portrayal.
This dynamic-backlight feature is particularly welcome at the LCD32-209's price point, and does exactly what we'd hoped it would do -- help the TV produce very respectable black levels. Shots with a mixture of bright and dark elements look punchy and dynamic, while predominantly dark scenes aren't nearly as badly afflicted by the dreaded 'grey mist' effect as they are on most other ultra-budget TVs.
The LCD32-209's sharpness with high-definition sources is also pleasing. It makes its HD Ready resolution count in excellent fashion by reproducing such minutiae as facial pores and individual blades of grass with more accuracy than some TVs that cost twice as much, or more. Also, when watching HD sources, the LCD32-209's pictures offer startlingly vibrant colour saturation.
In terms of audio performance, although the LCD32-209 delivers a fairly average combination of dynamic range and clarity, even that's something of an achievement at this level of the market.