With so many big brands now being forced into extreme price competition, we can't help but wonder if there's still room in the market for the traditional budget brands such as Goodmans. As a classic example of the 'problem', here we have a Goodmans LD2667D 26in TV being sold at Comet for £270. Cheap, certainly, but – tellingly – only £10 more so than the Toshiba 26AV505.

This raises an issue for the LD2667D. For without a really clear-cut price advantage, we can no longer excuse any serious performance flaws.

Before we get into the TV's performance, though, it's nice to find that the LD2667D is, at least, not ugly. Goodmans has furnished it with an appealing glossy black finish and the sculpting is perfectly presentable. The finish is very plasticky, but you only notice if you get up close.

Lacking some essentials

The good news doesn't last long, though. For the connections only include a paltry single HDMI, where we'd expect even the most basic TV to manage two these days. More concern is raised by the LD2667D's quoted contrast ratio of just 700:1. This immediately suggests that, unusually, the set doesn't have a dynamic contrast system, whereby the backlight output automatically reduces when dark scenes are detected. So we have concerns about its handling of dark scenes.

The screen's resolution is decent at least, clocking in at 1,366 x 768 pixels and confirming the TV's HD Ready status. But the operating system is a mixed bag, comprising decent onscreen menus, but a shoddy, overcrowded remote. The menus are also devoid of interesting features worth mentioning.

Hobbled performance

As predicted, black levels prove particularly problematic right away. The levels of greyness besmirching dark scenes leave said scenes looking flat and unrealistic – a grim reminder of cheap LCD TVs from two years ago. Colours, too, hark back to yesteryear, with numerous strange tones and non-blended stripes.

Standard-definition pictures sometimes look so soft, meanwhile, that they almost seem out of focus, while hi-def pictures often look like mere standard-def DVDs rather than HD. The fact that there's quite a bit of motion blur around doesn't exactly help.

The LD2667D's pictures are, at least, reasonably bright and the softness we described handily tends to hide video noise. But with the sound also lacking the dynamic range and clarity to be anything more than utterly average, this set ultimately doesn't do anything to reassure us about the budget brands' long-term viability.