Sorry Forrest Gump,but Goodmans TVs are certainly not 'like a box of chocolates', since you know exactly what you're going to get - the cheapest TVs on the high street.
And so,inevitably, it proves with the Goodmans LD2002.At £300 it's £50 cheaper than any other high street 20in LCD TV around - and actually costs less than many 17in models.Great.But we have to ask: how much quality has been sacrificed on the altar of cost cutting?
Goodmans certainly hasn't bothered much with the LD2002's looks,that's for sure. It's simply a chunky,drab, plasticky grey rectangle with a screen in it.
Connectivity is basic,too, with just one RGB Scart, an S-video input,a composite video input,stereo audio in and out,a headphone jack,and the aerial jack.The most key omission from this list is any sort of PC jack.
Predictably the LD2002 is pretty feature-light.The only tweaks of note are a dynamic skin tone option that looks for and 'naturalises' flesh colours, a facility for compensating for the amount of light in your room, and a variety of audio presets.
So far,apart from its price,the LD2002 hasn't done much to whet our appetite which makes it even more surprising that its pictures are really rather good.
Colours are unusually vibrant for the budget end of the market,being propelled off the screen by a high brightness output and some solid saturations.They're also more naturally toned than those of the vast majority of other 20in or smaller LCDs,cheap or otherwise.
The LD2002's black levels are also unexpectedly decent.While the extreme black level demands of some DVDs can find the screen slightly wanting,normal TV viewing is much less besmirched by the sort of grey mistiness that characterises black level problems than is usual at this sort of screen size.
The Goodmans'pictures look three-dimensional and layered,an impression enhanced further by much better fine detail levels than you might expect of a 640 x 480 screen.Even better, the picture's sharpness is not accompanied by dot crawl, grain,blocking or moiring over fine details.
The only serious concern we have is that the impressive results recorded above were only obtained while viewing Sky or DVDs via the RGB Scart.Switch to the tuner,and the picture softens up,loses colour neutrality,and starts to look smeary with motion.It's still eminently watchable,but the standard definitely drops a couple of notches.
More consistently average is the TV's sound.The speakers simply don't have the power or range to avoid sounding thin,distorted and bass-free.But then the same's true of 90 per cent of the competition.
The bottom line is that any conclusion about the LD2002 has to start and finish with its groundbreaking price.And once you've given that due weight, there's simply no denying that, for all its undoubted imperfections and limitations, the ultra-budget LD2002 can still deliver far better pictures than you've any right to expect.