Linsar may not be the first brand that comes to mind when you're out TV shopping, but the company's sets can be found in some big-name stores, including John Lewis. In fact, John Lewis' own brand of TVs are mostly re-badged Linsar models. Priced at £349, this 24-incher packs in a whole load of features, including LED backlighting, an on-board DVD player and the ability to record programmes to USB memory keys or hard drives.
Glossy grey display
Decked out in a glossy titanium-grey finish with a slightly indented lip at the bottom of the fascia, the set is reasonably attractive and similar in style to some of Panasonic's recent models. Despite the addition of the DVD player on its right-hand edge, the TV is still impressively slim by small-screen standards, measuring just 60mm deep. It certainly wouldn't look out of place in a stylish kitchen or bedroom.
Unfortunately, when it comes to connectivity options, things aren't quite so rosy. There's just a single HDMI port joined by a VGA input, composite input and Scart socket. Linsar says the VGA port can double as a component input, but there's no adaptor cable provided in the box. There's also no digital output to feed sound from the Freeview tuner or DVD player to an external amp, although, on a set this size, that's not exactly a huge issue. That said, the TV does make the most of its USB input.
USB is the key
In fact, the USB functionality is perhaps the TV's best feature. Not only can you use it to play MP3, JPEG, MPEG and DivX files from memory keys or hard drives, but you can also make use of the set's recording features when you've connected a USB device to the TV. These features include the ability to pause live TV as well as record whole shows.
In addition, and unlike the Acer AT2358, you can schedule recording with the TV's nicely designed electronic programme guide (EPG). Recordings are accessed via the set's recording library and include the programme title, so it's easy to browse through them to find what you want to watch. These recordings are saved in the standard transport stream (.ts) format on the drive, so if you load them onto a computer you can easily play them back with software such as Media Player Classic or VLC Media Player. Since the recordings are essentially the raw Freeview stream captured to disk, they're of excellent quality. Unlike most PVRs, however, the TV only has a single tuner, so you can't watch one channel while recording another.
The integrated DVD player uses a slot-loading mechanism and is fairly quiet when spinning discs, which is important if you're thinking of using the TV in a bedroom. As well as DVD movies, it can play DivX files, JPEG pictures and MP3 tracks that have been burned to CD or DVD. Its level of functionality is similar to what you'd expect from today's budget DVD decks.
Picture not perfect
So far so good, but unfortunately the set stumbles when it comes to picture quality. The TV has a 1080p panel and its LED backlighting means images do look very bright but, unfortunately, colours are another matter altogether. The TV struggles to render a convincing colour palette, resulting in quite cartoony images with overly saturated colour hues. Contrast is rather poor, too, meaning images either end up looking muddy and murky if you try to back off the contrast control, or suffer from burnt-out whites if you ramp it up. There's also a significant amount of motion blur and judder in evidence on both Freeview pictures and movies from DVD.
Things are a little better when it comes to audio. Although the TV initially sounded a little lacklustre in this department, using the on-board equaliser, we were able to add in a fair amount of extra bass while rolling off the higher frequencies. The end results were pretty decent by small-screen standards. Indeed, dialogue in TV dramas and movies was pretty distinct and easy to follow.
The Linsar 24LED805T is fairly expensive, especially when you consider the fact you can buy a 32-inch model from Toshiba for a similar price. It does pack in plenty of useful features, however, including USB recording and the on-board DVD player. That said, the set just doesn't deliver where it counts -- in the picture department -- and, as a result, we don't think it fully justifies its £350 asking price.
Edited by Emma Bayly