Thank goodness for companies like Samsung. If it weren't for the Korean manufacturer, mere mortals with limited funds wouldn't be able to take advantage of some of the finest technology known to man.

Although this 15in TV is not a widescreen, it tries hard to fit into a modern style. The stereo speakers are side mounted, the headphone socket is on the side (meaning no fumbling around at the back in order to watch a bit of late night footie without waking the rest of the family), while the remote control handset and its corresponding onscreen menu are beautifully clear. It is also easy to adjust the picture while you watch.

The lack of PC port shows that this is a screen that's solely aimed at TV use and isn't a repurposed monitor. The main TV-like feature missing is the ability to compress anamorphic 16:9 material, so DVD players must be configured for 4:3 display.

Performance

Positives include superb colour purity, effective contrast and a generally clean image. Smooth gradations of tone are handled with subtlety and you can tone down the rather too reddish default colour balance by switching to Cool.

Despite the relatively high (XGA) resolution of the panel, video detail is a touch on the soft side but this can minimise the strobing effect that LCDs often apply to vertical lines in moving shots. However, fine detail can turn smeary with movement, suggesting a below average response time.

The viewing angle is very narrow vertically, so you'll have to tilt the screen until it's just right and stay in that position. Its backlight is also uneven - another common LCD side-effect. Finally, the grey scale tends to flatten out the dark greys into one uniform tone, so it's not really a practical choice for fans of film noir.

Stereo separation is decent and mid-range sounds are relatively beefy. The bass is rather lacking and there are only two very limited sound-altering modes: Standard and Speech.

Shortcomings aside, this Samsung screen is a largely successful attempt at fashioning a slimline TV with a respectable picture quality and a supremely easy to use handset and menu system. Considering the asking price, it's definitely a proposition worth considering.