VC's LCD TVs have a tendency to impress with their performances, but upset with their prices.And on the surface of it,the new LT-20DA6SK looks set to fall into the same trap. Here's hoping it's got enough talent to make price worries seem petty.

Unfortunately, it doesn't justify its cost aesthetically. Its finish is plasticky and its design bland, more resembling a budget model.

Things perk up considerably with a quest for connections,though,as we find a PC jack,two Scarts, a slot for adding Top Up TV and,best of all,a set of component video jacks. However,unlike those found on the Toshiba 20WLT56,these jacks won't take any high-def feeds,instead restricting themselves to progressive scan duties. Pity.

As well as the Top Up TV upgrade option,the digital tuner is supported by handling of the seven-day EPG, and a 10-event timer memory.

Other features worth a mention include a noise reduction system,a backlight brightness adjustment,and a hyper sound soundstage widener. The set's specifications read well too, with the 800:1 claimed contrast ratio especially standing out,but the 450cd/m2 brightness and 1,366 x 768 native resolution also keeping a smile on our faces.

Finally,the 20DA6SK doesn't carry JVC's acclaimed DynaPix picture processing system - but it's still a superior performer.

Even without DynaPix,for instance, the picture is unusually sharp, with bags of fine texturing, tightly contained colour boundaries, and even a reasonable amount of shadow detail in dark backgrounds.

Talking of dark backgrounds,the 20DA6SK's black levels get deeper than those of every other LCD TV in this group test bar the Toshiba, which it more or less matches.The blacks tone is pleasingly neutral, too,with none of the blue or green tinges that afflict lesser LCDs.

Colours in general look impressively neutral, in fact; by which we mean that they mostly adopt precisely the tone they're supposed to adopt,even when it comes to notoriously tricky flesh tones.This isn't meant to imply that colours aren't also eye-catchingly vibrant,though; in fact they're extremely well saturated and bright.

More good news comes from the screen's response time,which is fast enough to mean that all but the very swiftest of motion remains free of LCD's common smearing problems.

Really there's nothing significantly negative to say about the 20DA6SK's pictures,other than that they're only an equal for those of the slightly cheaper Tosh model.

The speakers under this JVC's screens do an acceptable job.The soundstage is much wider than normal for under-screen speakers, and this is joined by a fairly extensive frequency range that has a game go at bass while also portraying high audio details without sounding harsh.Voices can sound a touch synthetic,but otherwise there're no complaints.

When all's said and done,the 20DA6SK continues the current JVC trend.Which is to say that it's an exceptionally accomplished performer,but one that's a price cut away from becoming a true star.