At last we have a LCD TV that's designed as much for everyday Freeview as it is for the new era of high definition.

Sharp's latest screen is also one of its cheapest and while it lacks the style of sets further up its Aquos line-up, the LC32D44E is ideally set-up for any forward-thinking living room.

Not that the LC32D44E is especially well-endowed. Sure, there's a digital TV tuner inside alongside a couple of HDMI inputs, but the onscreen menus are basic and don't give access to much in the way of picture processing.

Extensive connectivity

On the rear, hidden in three compartments that aid the wall hanging process, are all the basic ins and outs. Alongside those two HDMI inputs are connections for composite video, S-video, component video, a PC and a couple of Scarts.

Routing audio from Freeview to a home cinema amplifier is possible by dint of a set of stereo audio outputs - although a digital optical audio output (from where surround sound could be created by an amp) is missing.

Also not included on the LC32D44E is 100Hz double frame-rate processing, which tends to make pictures smoother.

Impressive Freeview pictures

It's not a problem for the LC32D44E's built-in tuner. Picture quality from basic Freeview channels is excellent despite the poor quality of most digital broadcasts. Colours are well rendered and there's little in the way of picture noise, thanks to the LC32D44E's digital noise reduction circuitry.

Although we did spot some trace of mosquito noise around moving objects, the LC32D44E does a better job at upscaling Freeview than most sets at this size or price.

A 7-day electronic programme guide (EPG) complete with a thumbnail of the current channel is available to you via the nicely weighted remote control. There's a similar treatment for radio stations broadcast by Freeview, while there's also a Common Interface slot for adding subscription channels.

Switch to a high definition source and it's a different story. The TV's 1366 x 768 pixel resolution panel displays our Enchanted Blu-ray test disc with more than enough detail, but there is some picture noise in backgrounds.

Some motion smear

Colours are well saturated while the LC32D44E manages a reasonably good attempt at reproducing blacks.

Armed with an 'eco' mode that helps dim the set's backlight (all LCD TVs have a light that's permanently on behind the picture), the LC32D44E does struggle with fine shadow detailing although neither blacks nor colours fade when the set is watched from a tight viewing angle.

With little in the way of processing, it's no surprise that we did find some trace of motion blur on fast-moving objects - and a little judder on Blu-ray discs in general. At least audio is coped with well by the LC32D44E's tiny underslung speakers, although it's no substitute for a proper sound system.

Basic budget LCD TV

Missing a few niceties that a top-notch HD-ready LCD TV needs, there's little for hi-def fans to get excited about with Sharp's LC32D44E. Stripped-down and basic, it does a reasonable job with everything you throw at it but only excels in one area.

Crucially, that's Freeview, and if you've been disappointed by a lot of LCD TV's treatment of digital TV pictures in the past, the LC32D44E will come as a welcome relief.

All things considered, at just £470, we've got a hit on our hands.