Like its Korean compatriots, LG and Samsung, Hyundai is still producing both plasma and liquid crystal screens, and this LCD TV is part of its Vvuon series.

Although the VVUON Q400's list price sounds rather high, it does include some novel extra features that you'll do well to find on rival offerings.

Chief among these is a separate digital recorder that's being bundled with the screen. Worth around £130 when bought on its own, the HDR-350Q boasts an impressive 500GB of storage, which should be more than enough for even the most obsessive video archivist.

Design disaster

Despite being fairly light considering its size, the Q400 isn't part of the new slim range of LCDs that are currently all the rage, and is also blighted by one of the oddest desktop stands we've seen.

The regular oval, gloss black foot is book-ended on both sides by two, apparently functionless, grey plastic objects that resemble ashtrays. The end result is a design disaster.

Fully connected LCD

On a more positive note, the Q400 is, without doubt, one of the best connected TVs around.

There's a veritable banquet of video ports on its rear including a pair of component video inputs, a fully-wired Scart and, unusually, a composite video output, alongside optical and electrical digital audio outputs, a line-level subwoofer phono and a PC port.

Despite this almost total connectivity, there is just a single HDMI input to make use of the Q400's 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution.There's also no CI slot, so subscription services cannot be added to its built-in digital TV tuner.

Pause live TV

Also equipped with an HDMI output and able to handle anything up to 1080i, the bundled HDR-350Q recorder is able to record footage direct from a camcorder as well as from a VCR.

The deck also enables you to pause live TV and even record TV programmes to transfer to a PC in MPEG format.

It's fitted with an equally impressive roster of connections that include a wired LAN port for connecting to a network, a couple of Scarts, component video outputs and other ports for composite video (in and out) and USB (host and for connecting to a PC). Not forgetting both electrical and optical digital audio outputs.

Confusing to use

A remote control that is packed out with keys and a very basic graphical user interface are unforgivable at this price.

They are also the Q400's downfall because, as well as taking a long time to switch on, it doesn't respond to live inputs and occasionally doesn't even show pictures, just the sound.

Around 480GB free space is available on the recorder, which can be divided between recording and multimedia, but it's all very unfriendly. Do you want to decide how much space to allocate to the FAT32 and NTFS on the HDD? No, nor do we.

Recording options

It's possible to record in HQ, SP, LP, EP and SLP qualities from any TV's built-in tuner (or else be connected to a set-top box), as well as copy files to and from a USB stick, the hard drive and even networked computers.

The menu is reasonably clear although lacks style. Connecting to a network proves almost impossible, while browsing a USB stick involves trawling through several hidden folders, before a random video file suddenly plays of its own accord.

Oh, and we forgot to mention the box's brief blackout beforehand.

Impressive picture performance

The Q400's ability to play video files from a variety of removable media is unusual and picture quality is good.

Pictures from a test sample of a DiVX movie from both a SD card and a USB stick are rendered with surprising clarity. There is some blur and scanning lines are visible, but it's all surprisingly watchable.

Switch to the built-in digital TV tuner and this impressive performance continues. While the user interface for digital TV is clumsy, the picture quality is commendably good.

Some MPEG noise is visible and horizontal and vertical lines suffer from a lack of definition, but colours are well saturated, and the picture holds up well considering the large size of the screen.

After such a decent performance with these lower quality sources it's surprising to find that the Q400 has some problems with HD material.

Lacking detail

A run-through of Dan Cruickshank's A History of Architecture on the BBC HD channel reveals some stark problems with motion. Camera pans are full of blur, with a moving shot of some railings almost indistinguishable.

Close-ups during an episode of Heroes display some fine detail, but colours - especially skin tones - can be a little overcooked. Black response levels are average, with darker sections of images lacking much detail. There's also a large dose of background picture noise.

Sound quality, on the other hand, benefits from an effective TruSurroundXT mode that adds some oomph and width.

Back to basics

Consumers want the basics done well and that's where the Q400 falls down.

Poorly presented features and bog standard picture quality of everything from photo display to HD are bound to doom the TV to an early obscurity