You don't have to look too deep to find the appeal of Bush's new LCD14DVD. Basically, it's a 14in DVD and LCD TV combi that costs just £500.
Yet while we suspect that this is all the info many punters will need to hear before rushing out to buy one, we also suspect - hope! - that anyone reading What Video and Widescreen TV might be just a bit interested, too, in knowing if this price-busting Bush is actually any good...
Aesthetically, it looks its money. It's almost hilariously chunky by modern LCD standards. Indeed, you could almost imagine that Bush has simply bolted a full-sized DVD player sideways down the back of the screen! The silver finish is also muted and plasticky, with only a funky, angling desktop stand adding any pizzazz.
Connectivity is hardly world beating. That said, its single RGB Scart, two composite video inputs, stereo audio inputs and coaxial digital audio output - for shipping raw Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams to surround-sound decoders - cover most of the biggies. It's a shame there's no PC input, though.
Features are understandably limited. Aside from the fact that it's a cheap 14in LCD TV with a built-in DVD player, there's just JPEG playback and a x3 zoom feature on the DVD deck to catch your eye.
Setting up and using the LCD14DVD is a mostly pleasing experience. The remote control, while a touch cluttered, is actually quite sensibly laid out and intuitive, and switching between TV and DVD viewing is adeptly handled. The only problem comes with the TV section's on-screen menus, which are quite hard to read from any sort of distance.
The LCD14DVD's picture quality is actually rather good. For starters, it's enjoyably bright, letting light, vibrant and colourful scenes radiate forth with none of the muted appearance seen on many other budget models. Praise, too, must be heaped on the way that even during fairly low-lit scenes, colours look completely natural.
Fine detail levels are perfectly adequate too, with edges neatly contained, and plenty of texture and shading. This helps give images decent depth of field and plays a key role in the LCD14DVD's very presentable DVD performance. The DVD deck itself, meanwhile, seems pleasingly untroubled by the common (on budget models) blocking or twitching problems caused by poor MPEG decoding.
It would be too much to hope for the LCD14DVD to be glitch-free at this price, though. The first is that the black response rather flatters to deceive. In other words, while dark parts within generally bright pictures actually fit in quite well, when dark picture parts are in the majority, the picture suddenly flattens out dramatically, as grey misting covers what should be blackness, hiding background details in the process.
The other problem is that movement can look a bit smeary. To be fair, though, we've certainly seen worse efforts and some on screens costing substantially more.
The LCD14DVD's sound is none too shabby, considering the inevitable restraints posed by its price and the physical space available on a 14in LCD telly. The key problem, perhaps inevitably, is that there's practically no bass at all, which inevitably takes much of the impact out of a good action scene.
But the set doesn't distort much. Even at serious volumes it manages a decent amount of treble detail, keeps dialogue clear and even delivers a bit of width in its soundstage.
All the signs suggested otherwise, but the LCD14DVD has confounded our expectations at almost every turn, leaving us ultimately pleased that such a great little bedroom/study/kitchen device can now be had for so little. John Archer