This 19-incher from Linsar might be small on screen size, but it's big on features. It packs in LED backlighting, an integrated DVD player and a USB port that can be used for both recording TV and playing back digital media files. All this will set you back a reasonable £249, but just how well does it actually perform?
Bucking the budget trend
Budget TVs aren't exactly known for their good looks, but this model defies expectations. Measuring a mere 63mm deep, it's pretty slim for a set that includes an integrated DVD player. The front of the telly also looks quite stylish -- the titanium-grey finish helps it stand out among a sea of budget TV’s that are seemingly available in any colour as long as it's glossy black. We also like the indented lip at the bottom of the screen, as it adds a little extra design interest.
With a Freeview tuner, DVD player and USB recording on board, it's unlikely you're going to need to connect up all that many extra devices to this set, which is a good thing, as there isn't a huge range of connection options on offer. There's just a single HDMI port, but at least it has a Scart socket and composite input as well as a VGA port, in case you want to use it as a monitor with a PC. Linsar says the VGA port can also double as a component input, but no adaptor cable is supplied in the box, so we couldn't verify this. Also, there's no digital audio output, so you can't run audio from the DVD player or Freeview tuner to an external amp.
USB: The key feature
The left-hand side of the TV is home to the USB port. This allows you to use the set to play MP3 music files, JPEG pictures and movies in MPEG or DivX formats from hard drives or memory keys. The media-file browser is a little basic, but the playback quality is good, especially on DivX files.
As well as allowing you to play media files, the USB port can also be used to pause live TV or record full shows. As long as you have a drive or memory key attached to the port when you hit the pause button on the remote, it will start buffering the currently selected channel to the storage medium so you can resume where you left off later. You can also set up scheduled recordings of whole shows using the set's cleanly laid out electronic programme guide (EPG). Programs are recorded as standard '.ts' files, so you can play them back on a PC or laptop using software such as Media Player Classic.
The integrated DVD player is found on the right-hand side of the set and uses a slot-loading mechanism. As well as standard DVD movie discs, it also supports MP3 music files, JPEG pictures and DivX movies that have been burned to DVD or CD. Playback quality is more than good enough for a set of this size.
Wild world of contrast
Unlike Linsar's larger 24-inch set that we looked at recently, this one is not a 1080p TV. Instead, its native resolution is 1,366x768 pixels, which deems it 'HD Ready'. On a screen this small, however, you'd need to have your nose pressed up against the display to tell the difference, and high-definition movies fed via a Blu-ray player looked sharp as a tack. The TV is also impressively bright thanks, in large part, to its LED backlighting. Colours are vivid, too, but they can also be a tad wild. There's a tendency for them to look over-saturated, giving an unnatural look to the picture. It's not a great performer when it comes to contrast, either -- when you tone down the brightness to try to achieve deeper black levels, a good deal of detail is lost and pictures tend to start looking muddy.
Nevertheless, when it comes to sound, this TV is no slouch. Small-screen sets such as this have a tendency to sound overly tinny, but the 19LED805T manages to avoid this. If you use the equaliser found in the audio menu to push up the bass levels a touch, you'll find it's cable of producing fairly meaty sound by the usual standards of 19-inch sets.
Overall, the Linsar 19LED805T is a mixed bag. We love the attractive design, great USB-recording features and meaty sound, but it then goes ahead and spoils it all with its unruly colour palette and poor contrast performance.
Edited by Emma Bayly