Having a voluptuous behind hasn't done J-Lo's career any harm, so let's hope the same can be said of this not-exactly-thin LCD from Taiwanese company Tatung. On its large rear, the silver/grey double-frame helps avert eyes to the on-screen action, and connections are reasonable for the price...
While there aren't any digital video inputs (to carry copy-protected transmissions from Sky later this year), component video inputs should be enough to show at least some HDTV footage on the natively high-def panel (as well as showing progressive scan pictures from a suitable DVD player).
There are also two Scarts (one RGB), an S-video input and a 15-pin D-Sub jack, which is posh talk for saying that you can connect to your PC and type or browse in big-screen style.
The on-screen menus are not so stylish, and remind us of struggling with the lower end of an optician's sight test. Ditto the remote control, which should come with a week-long training course. This isn't something that could be said of the sparse features roster, however, which includes a picture-in-picture mode (but with a solo tuner) and not much else.
First impressions are mixed, then, but we decided to see if the Tatung is a worthy contender for anyone after a mid-size living room TV with a run-through of our test DVD of choice, the corporate sell-out/bizarre love triangle tribulations of I Heart Huckabees...
Fittingly, the colourful characters were represented vibrantly enough on the TLT2601S's panel, and this wasn't at the expense of the screen's other colour duties. Subtle changes in hue were displayed with impeccable accuracy, skin tones were realistic, and colours shone through even in gloomy conditions.
Those darker scenes also demonstrated that the Tatung has a reasonable talent with contrast. Black levels were deep, and mostly free of the grey mist that is common on budget LCD TVs. That said however, the 'black tunnel' effect, whereby dark areas lack detail, was in evidence in some dark scenes.
Clean and clear
The TLT2601S does manage to overcome another irritating problem that we've encountered on many LCD screens, however, - smearing over motion. On fast camera pans and quick movement, an on-screen smear or judder is common, but not on this screen. Such scenes are clear and free from judder, suggesting the Tatung's LCD panel has a quick response time.
That's no mean feat at this price, although there are other downsides with this screen that take the shine off its plus points somewhat. For example, regular broadcast TV pictures from the TLT2601S's analogue tuner look woefully soft, with far too much picture noise interfering.
Noise of another kind is also a let-down. If you're a fan of arthouse or dialoguedominated movies like I Heart Huckabees, the sound from this screen will probably be acceptable. Bruce Willis fans should look elsewhere, however - audio from the side-mounted speakers was weedy when action kicked in, with the soundstage left devoid of bass or any kind of presence.
While there are plenty of good points in the TLT2601S's picture performance - including colour, contrast and suppression of smearing and judder - its problems with TV broadcasts, black levels and audio make its asking price seem a little high. Ultimately, it's a decent enough screen, but it's hardly going to blow your socks off.