With a cold wind blowing through the nation's ever-shallower pockets, those of us who can't resist the allure of a big flat telly are looking to save a few pennies.

A timely arrival, then, for the latest bigscreen from HANNspree, complete with bargain basement pricing.

We've seen flatter, though - the HANNspree 42AT XV will stretch the imagination just too far if you were thinking of installing it on a wall. That's largely because of its oversize speaker fixed to the telly's undercarriage, which is capable of pumping out 30W of power.

Impressive connectivity

Alongside a standard HD Ready 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, there are a couple of HDMI inputs round the back, both of which are compliant with version 1.3.

Also round the back is a set of component video inputs for hooking-up an analogue high definition source alongside composite video, S-video, a couple of RGB Scarts and a PC input. You'll also find a PC audio jack and three sets of stereo audio inputs there.

A nice bonus is a coaxial digital audio output for routing audio to a home cinema - useful when watching stereo-only broadcasts from its built-in Freeview tuner.

Noisy Freeview pictures

That tuner is sluggish to tune-in to digital TV channels, however. Its two-tone blue/yellow seven-day electronic programme guide displays the next couple of hours of programmes. It's easily operated thanks to a very fast system and excellent remote control, but it does it amidst low-res graphics.

There is some picture noise reduction circuitry intending on making Freeview appear presentable on such a big screen, but in practice it doesn't work well enough.

Grainy and dogged by MPEG blocking and mosquito noise around graphics, channel idents and any moving objects, there's too much blur and nor enough detail.

Detailed hi-def images

Swap to a Blu-ray disc of No Country For Old Men and things improve immeasurably. Close-ups have impressive levels of detail and panoramic shots look cinematic.

There is some picture noise in backgrounds, though, especially during gloomy scenes when this set's average contrast ratio statistics come into play. Or, rather, don't. Blacks seem greyed-over and details tend to merge into nothing in the shadows.

LCD motion issues

Some mosquito noise and shimmering edges, especially around moving objects, is also disappointing and the HANNspree 42AT XV is also tripped-up by motion.

Swift camera pans do cause some uncomfortable judder, which isn't unusual on LCD TVs, but the bigger - and more expensive - brands are starting to suss this out.

Colour, too, lacks star quality and we spotted some poor gradation where shades of the same colour seem separated. Skin tones are overplayed a touch.

Underwhelming audio

We're not massive fans of the huge speakers, but they do a decent job. Using the SRS WOW mode is not to everyone's tastes, but it manages to liven-up the soundstage and give it some much-needed width as well as a more rounded bass performance.

That makes it just passable for movies, but for music it's not up to scratch.

Average Joe TV

With its average picture quality and uneventful sound it's hard to get too excited about this £650 LCD TV.

With stripped-down basic LCD TVs available at even cheaper prices - some even with Full HD 1080p resolution - we'd suggest more research before you settle for second best.