Humax LGB-26DTT £900

1st Jan 2005 | 00:00

A cheap LCD IDTV with high

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Respectable, but not as good as it should have been

Like:

<p>Vivid colours</p><p>Two Freeview tuners</p>

Dislike:

<p>Poor sound</p><p>Picture struggles with some inputs</p><p>Tuners lack versatility</p>

Over the past year or so, Humax has developed quite a name for itself as a producer of decent, affordable home entertainment gear and, priced at a very reasonable £1,200, this 26in LCD certainly falls snugly into the latter category. Whether or not it's decent is another matter entirely.

The initial signs are encouraging, with the screen seemingly put together quite nicely. The plasticky styling isn't particularly alluring, and the stand doesn't swivel, but there are some impressive connections. At the back are three Scart sockets, an analogue PC monitor input and a DVI socket for digital video input; thanks to HDCP copy protection, the latter works with both PC and AV gear, including current HDMI and DVI-outputting DVD players and the HDTV receivers we're sure to see in the not too distant future.

There is a component video input located on the side panel, along with S-video and composite video inputs and a digital audio output.

The TV has access to both analogue and digital tuners, so you get Freeview access built in and, unlike many IDTVs, there is a Common Interface slot allowing you to upgrade to Top Up TV (www.topuptv.com) very easily if you wish. The LCD panel's 1,280 x 768 resolution makes it fully HDTV compatible and its 16ms response time should mean that blurry trails need not mess up your viewing experience.

In practice, though, the screen is really nothing special, unless given a very high quality signal. Colours are bright enough, gradation is fine and blurring isn't a problem, but with both the built-in digital tuner and external RGB sources, there's a noticeable amount of colour bleeding and ghosting. It isn't awful, and it isn't likely to spoil any of viewing, but it's not particularly good, especially when compared to some of the competition. This, it seems, is the price you pay when you buy a 26in LCD screen for £1,200.

Sound quality is pretty good, as long as you're not expecting anything stellar (if you're after truly powerful audio, use the digital outputs). Nicam stereo is perfectly adequate for everyday viewing, as well as the SRS WOW virtual surround system, which is mildly effective at widening the soundfield.

Friendly face

The television scores pretty highly in terms of user friendliness. While it doesn't reach the heights of, say, Philips' new range of LCDs when it comes to ease of use and setting up, we didn't have any major problems with tuning either the digital or analogue channels in here.

Likewise, the onscreen menu system is simple, clear and effective in conjunction with the remote control. Some things are a touch deficient, namely the lack of a proper seven-day EPG for the digital channels, and the design of the remote control could be a little more ergonomic, but overall Humax has made things pretty painless for the user.

One final point worth mentioning is the TV's cooling fan. This is a feature used by some manufacturers, but they are normally almost silent. That isn't the case here, and the background hum given off by the TV means you can't really leave it in standby mode; a novel way to encourage more efficient use of electricity, perhaps?

Overall, this is a decent enough IDTV-cummonitor, given the price. If you're looking for top class performance, though, you'll be better off looking elsewhere.

HumaxHDTVHigh definition
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