Far from offering a supermarket-style unit at a knockdown price, DMTech has again come up with a cute, well-featured TV that offers a performance better than should be expected.
Perfect for a bedroom in both functionality and tasteful design, the LM17DB is a chunky fellow with a built-in DVD player denying the TV on-the-wall status and destroying the flat look.
These bulges aren't big enough to accommodate much versatility when it comes to the ins and outs. The PC input is useful, but the single Scart brings a few problems. There's no need to connect a DVD player to the LM17DB, but the needs a Freeview adapter as it only has an analogue tuner. Luckily, this blow is softened with the presence of S-video and composite video connections.
The DVD deck itself has a side-mounted tray and offers even more versatility. Able to play DVDs and CDs, it can also deal with photos, and play music stored in MP3 and WMA formats. Although the questionable quality of the TV's speakers means that this feature is only worth much in a small room.
The LM17DB is compatible with the three major broadcasting formats - Pal (used in the UK), NTSC (America), and Secam (Europe) - but the DVD player will only accept Region 2 DVDs.
The good news is it can be hacked to multi-region status: just switch to the DVD mode; press Open then Setup on the remote; select Custom Setup in the menu; press '3' four times; select 'Free' from the region list; and press OK.
Doing this might invalidate the TV's warranty, so do it at your own risk.
No smear or lag
Pictures from the analogue tuner is drained and exposed. Hook up a Freeview box and things get much better in terms of colour and clarity.
A spin of Jarhead in the LM17DB's DVD player shows the picture quality to be so-so. The small size makes the images from the desert to appear tight. There's lots of detail on show and the picture is very clean, with no picture noise or jagged edges on show.
Colours are well-saturated and don't suffer from bleed, and at all times Jake Gyllenhaal et al enjoy natural skin tones.
Noticeable by their absence are the smearing and image lag associated with LCDs - especially those at this size. So that DMTech perhaps used a quality panel.
The backlight shows this assumption is wrong. The picture is occasionally too bright, making some scenes appear as if they've been shot in the midday sun.
A direct consequence of that is that despite overcoming some of LCD's frequent problems, the LM17DB offers poor black levels causing some shots in Jarhead to suffer from a lack of depth and detail, with black areas substituted for slushy grey. Still, the picture performance is, overall, better than most TVs of this size.
We're not going to hold back on the set's lack of audio prowess. The speakers don't match up to the movie's soundtrack and detract from the atmosphere. There's no bass and dialogue also sounds flat, but their performance with Freeview and other analogue TV is reasonable.
With enough features to keep a small bedroom well-stocked with movies and music, the LM17DB makes a great all-in-one solution. Just keep your ambitions low and there's little to complain about.