Humax's LCD TV output has always been overshadowed by the success of its Freeview PVRs (hard disk drive-based video recorders), which is a shame given that the company's TVs offer must-have features at wallet-friendly prices.

Take this 23in LCD for example - it provides a digital TV tuner, HDMI and HD-readiness for the sum of £400, which is £300 less than Panasonic's similar-sized rival and £100 less than Sony's 20in model.

However, that price tag has taken its toll on build quality. The external black and silver bodywork feels plasticky, and there's nothing that sets the LU23-TD2's looks apart from the other budget sets on the market.

However, the LU23-TD2's rear panel is much more interesting to look at, with the 720p/1080i-capable HDMI lining up alongside component video inputs and a single Scart. Rounding up this generous selection is a PC VGA input and common interface slot for adding pay TV services, the latter signifying a digital tuner's presence.

The 1366 x 768 widescreen resolution comfortably accommodates hi-def pictures, and the 170 Degrees viewing angle is standard. There's a limited array of picture and sound presets, including a Fleshtone mode for better reproduction of skin, plus noise reduction and an Extended Pseudo Stereo mode (EPS). There's also a full range of DVB functionality, including digital text, access to interactive services and a seven-day EPG.

The set's user interface is a visual let-down, with uninspiring menus that look like they came from a PC monitor. Yet that doesn't stop the menus being very easy to navigate, using the remarkably well-designed remote, that is comfortable to hold and sports large foolproof buttons.

Good for the price

Standard-def pictures from the built-in digital tuner are bright and dynamic, but are hindered by a layer of noise that gently pulsates across the whole screen. The image also seems softer than we're used to, highlighted by the slightly fuzzy lettering on the BBC's Wimbledon captions. DVD playback looks a little sharper but still not up to the knockout standards we expect.

Things improve greatly with hi-def pictures from a Sky HD box, which look crisper, deeper and cleaner than standard-def. The set picks out fine detail during BBC HD's tennis coverage, even tricky details like faces in the crowd or the net crisscrossing across the court. The movement of the ball is also smooth and generally blur-free.

Further evidence of the set's impressive eye for detail can be found by flicking to A Night at the Museum on Sky Movies HD, where the rural woodland settings are brought to life by excellent reproduction of leaves, bushes and other natural textures.

Colours are generally strong too, although the set's handling of blacks could be better - dark scenes look washed out in places, and the picture lacks the sort of punch afforded by the Sony.

However, the Humax produces very enjoyable sound quality. The LU23-TD2's 8W output is loud without straining the ears, speech is crisp and EPS lends stereo sound a genuine sense of horizontal width.

The LU23-TD2's picture and build quality might not be up to the standards of bigger name rivals, but its pictures and sound are certainly good enough to make your £400 feel like money well spent.