Hannspree se40lmnb

Let's start with the physical setup of the SE40LMNB; attaching the desktop stand is easy since the column itself is already attached the TV (though it can be got rid of for wall mounting).

It's simply a case of screwing the stand and column together, though try as we might, we couldn't get the TV to stay completely level – it was slightly lopsided at all times despite several attempts. Possibly a lack of elbow grease?

Digital TV

EPG

From the 'guide' button on the remote we're given a fairly loosely designed electronic program guide. As well as a thumbnail of the live TV channel playing in the bottom left-hand corner – something that's all too rare on some brands of HDTV – a short synopsis of the programme's contents and timings are included on the right.

The top half of the screen is completely occupied by the schedules themselves, which entail program details over two hours for just six channels at once, which is at least two too few in our opinion.

The fonts used are small, but the design in general is very impressive, and hi-res; as well as nuanced graphics that lend a slight 3-D look, the simple black-and-white and green colour scheme is subtly designed to gel with Hannspree's branding, though it's never overt.

Input labelling

Other gems buried in an otherwise rather basic user interface include the ability to individually name each input. For instance, HDMI 1 can be renamed Blu-ray, VCR, PC, Digital STB, Camera or Recorder, on the input settings menu. It's something we've seen before on TVs from Panasonic, so it's good to see here on this otherwise budget effort.

It's also possible to put a small delay on the optical audio output, avoiding lip sync issues, while parental lock can be put on various options.

Timeshift & PVR functions

quick access menu

The Timeshift and personal video recorder functions are easy enough to setup. It's based around an MPEG recorder, which records in identical quality to the original broadcast, though the capacity depends on what size HDD you decide to use (we used a 2GB USB stick for testing purposes).

The feature is accessed via the Quick Access onscreen menu of shortcuts, which is confusingly associated with the Option button on the remote control. It contains links to Picture Presets, Sound Presets, Timeshift, PVR, a Recording Schedule, and USB (though it's an either/or situation for the latter; with only one USB slot, it's not possible to both Timeshift and watch DivX files from a thumb drive).

Timeshift on the SE40LMNB is unnecessarily long-winded. The whole point of such a feature is to quickly record something if the phone rings or the doorbell sounds, but here it's necessary to first press the option button, then select Timeshift, and then hit the red Fast-text key to pause live TV. That's at least two buttons too many.

Live TV can be rewound, and any recorded footage fast-forwarded using the same Fast-text keys, this time green and yellow. However, Timeshifting isn't just long-winded; it also lacks basic functionality.

Our chief criticism is that programmes can't be recorded straight from the EPG, as you would do from a dedicated PVR set-top box. We're left with the impression that this feature just isn't going to be used much, at least not on any regular basis.

Remote control

The remote control supplied with the SE40LMNB is rather basic and a touch too lightweight, but we like its fluorescent lime green standby button in the top right hand corner – it makes a nice change from red.

Elsewhere the buttons are of relatively high quality, at least in terms of responsiveness and touch, though the remote is badly in need of some dedicated pause/FF/RW keys that would bring to life the Timeshifting features. Seriously, who wants a TV with a built-in PVR brains if you have to do dive into internal menus continuously?

USB Media Player

Shoving a USB stick, and the SE40LMNB immediately launches its Media Player software. Split into the usual photo, music and video sections, the system proved able to play just JPEG photos and MP3 music in our test, while video file compatibility is limited to AVI, MPEG and MP4 files created using the MPEG 1–2, 4 and H.264 Containers.

From our motley collection of files it managed to play just DivX, MP4 QuickTime, and MPEG files. That's not too bad a result, though it's sad to see no MKV support.