Look up 'no-nonsense' in a dictionary, and you might just find a picture of Bush's LCD 15IDTV. Even its name is an exercise in straight talk, simply describing every pertinent aspect of what it is: a 15in LCD TV with a built in digital tuner. Maybe Bush should change its name to Ronseal!
Then, of course, there's the fact that the 15IDTV does what it does for a pittance, unabashedly appealing to buyers' basic instincts rather than trying to confuse them with fancy features and gimmicks.
Naturally this doesn't make this an exactly ambitious TV. But then, it's hardly fair to level such criticism at such an eye-poppingly cheap LCD set. Realistically the only ambition pursuable at this price is to actually perform well...
For such a no-nonsense TV, this isn't a bad looker. Its bold, near-cream colour scheme, emphasised by a minimalist design and subtle logos, makes it unequivocally one of the nicest LCD portables we've seen.
That said, it's back to basics with a jolt on the connectivity front. There's just a single Scart, digital RF input, a headphone jack, and a CAM slot for adding PayTV capabilities. We guess for some this will actually be enough - but we prefer to find composite /S-video/stereo audio jacks at the front for easy camcorder or games console connection.
Apart from its digital tuner, the 15IDTV carries few noteworthy features. There's a perfunctory widescreen mode, a functional 'Favourites' system, and an Electronic Programme Guide. This EPG is quite nicely presented and works quickly - but despite showing the time slots necessary to support Freeview's new seven-day listings, during our tests it only loaded up Now/Next information. Curious.
Pictures turn out to be very likeable for the money. Probably the best way to discuss what we like about them is to talk about things they don't do. For instance, colours don't fall prey to the over-ripeness or greenish overtones found on many budget LCD TVs. In fact, for the most part they're overwhelmingly natural.
The picture doesn't have the mutedness clearly visible on budget rivals, instead possessing sufficient brightness to deliver a punchy and eye-catchingly vibrant image.
Another thing the 15IDTV impressively doesn't do is smear badly when showing motion. This LCD trait is über-common on entry-level models, but not here.
The 15iDTV also doesn't look noisy with pictures provided by its digital tuner, suffering with neither LCD artefacting nor MPEG decoding noise.
Finally, the 15IDTV doesn't share the soft appearance common on many entry-level LCDs. In actual fact, it delivers a credible amount of texture and edge resolution, without any attendant moiring interference, at least from digital tuner or RGB feeds.
There's really only one area where the 15IDTV's budget nature is evident: contrast. The 15IDTV's lack of this can leave dark scenes looking a little flat - and matters aren't helped by traces of light seepage from the top and bottom edges of the screen. But even here the TV is by no means actually bad when compared to some rivals.
The speaker section of the 15IDTV feels a touch more flimsy - and that's how it performs, too. In common with many LCD portables it lacks any sort of worthwhile bass talent, thus sounding thin and tinny, with too much emphasis on treble details. The 15IDTV does at least avoid speaker distortion or cabinet vibrations, though.
Bush really has come up trumps with its latest LCD TVs. With the 15IDTV - as with its LCD/DVD combi reviewed in next month's issue - the company has hit on a winning combination of solid performance and aggressive pricing that marks its TVs out as the current cream of the cheap and cheerful LCD crop.