Although most of us are mainly focused on thin, large screen TVs for the lounge, there is a substantial market for second sets to use in bedrooms, kitchens and studies. These smaller screens could replace bulky CRT TVs, and be used for gaming or to keep the kids happy while you and your other half enjoy a movie on the bigger screen.
As simple, budget TV, the Humax LU23-TD2 answers your second screen prayers and has built-in Freeview and the ability to offer high-definition gaming for around £290.
We weren't blinded by the flashiness of the Humax's design. It's finished in a plain, matte black colour with a sparkle of silver along its trim, including the stand. At the bottom of the screen are the speakers, which are placed under a grille that runs the width of the screen.
The front of the TV has no controls of any kind -- there is only a simple power LED to tell you when the TV is in standby. The volume, channel and other controls are hidden on the right hand side of the TV, obscured by the front bezel.
The back of the TV houses most of the inputs, although there are the usual side connections for S-Video and composite inputs. Everything at the back -- including the power connection -- is concealed behind a removable panel. This, and the way the connections are placed, makes wall mounting much easier. We appreciate this approach -- it means cables are kept tidier.
In terms of connectivity, you'll find a single HDMI socket -- probably enough for a TV this small -- component, VGA, single Scart and of course, an aerial input.
The simple, grey remote control does what it's told and is the usual Humax affair. It's in keeping with the unembellished style, and that's really the whole point.
While the Humax isn't exactly brimming over with features, it has everything you're likely to want in a second TV. It holds a built-in Freeview with the option of a CAM to allow access to Top Up TV's pay channels and Setanta Sports. There's also an analogue tuner for those not yet in a digital area.
The Humax can support PC resolutions of 1,366x768 pixels, like most 720p TVs. Of course, most PCs don't actually output in this resolution, so you might need to do some tweaking to get the best performance.
You'll be able to control some of the set's colour temperature with three options -- cool, normal and warm -- and there are four levels of noise reduction available, too.
Helpfully, the LU23 helps you get rid of the pointless shopping channels on Freeview with a two-day EPG. You can eliminate these annoyances using the favourite channel settings besides seeing what programmes are coming up in the next 48 hours.
Freeview picture quality on the Humax was reasonable, but we found the image quality to be soft. While colours were bright and overall image was clear, this TV's picture isn't going to set the world alight.
On the other hand, we were pleased with the HD performance. Our HD DVD player gave the Humax plenty to work with and the resulting picture was sharp and free of any unwanted distortions. Our copy of The Bourne Supremacy looked great, with all the original film grain present and brilliant detail levels. This is excellent news if you're planning to hook the screen up to your PS3 to enjoy a mix of HD games and movies.
It's a way off from being a full-time replacement for your monitor -- for starters, the base isn't adjustable -- but the Humax to a PC yielded some very pleasing results. The picture was solid and sharp and it's great if you want to use this as a media centre screen. We had some problems initially with a laptop that would only push 60Hz signals out. This caused some shimmering. Once we set it to the correct 50Hz, everything looked great.
As you can probably imagine with a small TV, sound quality was tinny, but the vocal component was clear. You won't get any bass, though -- but you weren't really expecting bass, were you?
If you look around, you can probably pick up the Humax LU23-TD2 for around £290, which is a good price for an integrated digital TV. We weren't necessarily bowled over by the Freeview picture quality, but the rest of the Humax's features are decent, especially for a second TV to keep the kids busy in the other room.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday