Humax has gone one step further than most manufacturers by adding a whole PVR into its latest bargain 32-inch LCD TV, so you can record your favourite shows straight to its built-in hard disk.
But can one product ever work as effectively as two?
Once we got the LP32-TDR1 out of the box we started a thrilling game of 'hunt the on/off switch' -- Humax keeps its power button well hidden. Eventually we discovered it towards the bottom-right of the screen.
Other than its secret power switch, the screen has a simple but pleasant design. The bulk of the TV is finished in a shiny 'piano' black with the stand finished in silver. There's a long speaker strip that runs along the front of the TV. We wouldn't describe it as the best-looking TV we've ever seen as there's a fair bit of cheap plastic used.
Once you turn the set on, however, the style is improved by a series of illuminated touch-sensitive buttons. Unfortunately, the responsiveness varies wildly, sometimes working first time and sometimes not working at all. They look great, they just aren't that useful.
The remote is an unappealing grey colour and doesn't really match the television. On the plus side it is easy to use, and all the buttons are labelled clearly and do pretty much what you would expect.
The usual connections are present on the Humax -- it features one HDMI input, component video in and two Scart sockets round the back. There's also digital audio out for connecting the TV to your surround-sound amplifier. S-Video and composite inputs are located at the side of the TV under a flap. The solitary HDMI is a shame -- at some stage you're going to want to plug more than one HD source into the telly.
The main feature of the Humax LP32-TDR1 is the Freeview PVR functionality offered by the television. Adding this to an HD Ready set for such a low cost -- typically around £800 at the time of writing -- is a boon.
The PVR function is simple to use, and will suit anyone who wants a very simple way to record their favourite shows at the push of a button.
The electronic programme guide is as we expected, it uses the Freeview eight-day EPG to show you what's on. Recordings are scheduled by simply selecting the show from within the EPG -- it's a nice simple system that should appeal to people who never managed to get their VHS recorder to do anything but flash '12:00' constantly.
The hard drive offers a generous amount of storage at 160GB, which should allow you to keep more than 100 hours of TV at any one time.
Although the Humax sports two TV tuners, you can't record two channels at the same time. The second tuner is simply there to make sure you can carry on watching a different TV channel when a recording is taking place. You aren't even able to use the trick play features we'd expect to see, such as being able to pause and rewind live TV. Not the end of the world, perhaps, but it is worth knowing before you splash the cash on this set.