Although it's generally the bigger screens that grab the headlines these days, the end of the market that offers modestly sized TVs is still alive and kicking.

After all, now people have already 'gone flat' for their main living room TVs, their attentions are starting to turn to smaller versions for kitchens, bedrooms, studies and the like.

Cue LG's deliriously cute 19LG3000.

Generous connections

The LG 19LG3000's glossy finish and slender screen surround present a really fashionable face to the world. Good start.

The 19LG3000 is also well connected for a set we've found on sale for less than £200 at online stores. There are two HDMIs, for instance, where we'd anticipated only finding one.

Plus there's a dedicated D-Sub port for PC use, and even an optical audio output for passing on multichannel digital audio from the built-in Freeview tuner to an AV receiver.

Impressive features

The shining first impressions continue with the discovery of a sky-high (for a 19in TV) contrast ratio claim of 15,000:1, plus an HD Ready native resolution of 1,440 x 900 pixels.

However, there's something about that resolution that doesn't quite feel right: when we do the maths, it doesn't work out to a true 16:9 aspect ratio. More like 1.6:1 than 1.78:1.

Other features of note on the 19LG3000 include Invisible Speaker technology tuned by audio industry legend Mark Levinson; noise reduction tweaks; manual backlight adjustment; and a Clear Voice mode that emphasises vocals during dense audio scenes.

We have our doubts that these sort of tricks will really amount to much on a TV as small as this one, but we'll reserve judgement for now.

One feature notably absent from the 19LG3000, meanwhile, is LG's XD Engine video processing and we hope we won't miss this too badly.

Despite not being granted LG's nice new graphics-heavy CU:V onscreen menu system, the LG 19LG3000 is still very straightforward to use, for the most part. And the remote's pretty good too.

Stretched pictures

The 19LG3000's pictures come as a bit of a disappointment: the first thing that strikes us is how odd the colour palette looks.

Almost across the board tones look slightly off-key and as if the screen has had its hues calibrated for PC rather than video use. Our attempts to tweak them proved futile; we never got colours looking as natural as we'd hoped.

The TV's aspect ratio looked rather unnatural, too. For, as we'd feared from the 1,440 x 900-pixel resolution, pictures look slightly stretched vertically. This may be handy if you want to look taller and thinner on home videos, but it's not such good news if you actually want normal TV fare to look exactly like it should.

To be fair, the effect of this stretching is marginal. But we nonetheless regularly found ourselves being distracted by it.

Dull black levels

Another flaw of the 19LG3000's pictures is their rather uninspiring black level response.

This is surprising given that extravagant 15,000:1 contrast ratio claim, but there's no denying that dark scenes appear on the 19LG3000 with some pretty distracting levels of greyness over them, leaving them looking rather hollow and flat.

Thankfully the screen is by no means a dead loss, though. Its pictures are exceptionally bright for such a small TV, for instance, making it unusually well suited to conservatory use.

Friend of hi-def

Its colours are likeably rich and vibrant to boot, providing at least a little compensation for the troubling tones we mentioned earlier. Then there's the TV's talent at presenting the extra detail and sharpness of HD sources, despite its diminutive screen size.

But that's not to say it's just HD's friend; it also upscales standard definition to its HD Ready resolution cleanly and crisply, although it doesn't manage to straighten out the aspect ratio issues in the process.

Finally, the 19LG3000 manages to display moving objects without as much blurring and resolution loss as is commonly found in sets at this size point.

Lacklustre sound

As we predicted, the 19LG3000's audio isn't really powerful enough to showcase either Mark Levinson's tuning talents or the Clear Voice feature.

In fact, it sounds quite weedy and thin with anything approaching an action scene, only generally proving itself up to the job of showing standard, undemanding daytime TV fare.

At first the LG 19LG3000's appearance and spec make it seem like one heck of a bargain, but its distinctly average performance makes the price look just about fair.