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The picture may not be top-notch, but the price is quite appealing for a 42-inch TV

Oddly, the shipping carton suggests that the SJ42DMBB can decode H.264/AVC – the video compression technology employed for high-definition broadcasts in the UK. This feature, if it is indeed present, would be wasted in the UK owing to the absence of the DVB-T2 tuner needed to receive terrestrial HD broadcasts.

Maybe the set has an onboard multimedia player for audio and video clips, as is common with recent examples from Sony, Panasonic and Samsung? There's a side-mounted USB port, but don't get too excited: it's just a service port and has no consumer application.

Hannspree sj42dmbb

The more upmarket TVs usually build in an Ethernet port for access to home networks, and online services such as YouTube and Picasa (some will also support catch-up services like the BBC's iPlayer). No such provision has alas been made here; if onscreen access to the internet is important, then you'll need to look elsewhere.

However, Hannspree has been sensible enough to include a VGA/D-sub socket on the rear panel. Plug your computer into this, and you'll have far more online potential than any current TV – regardless of price – can currently offer.

A 3.5mm socket caters for the accompanying (stereo) audio. If you're used to a 15in laptop screen, a 42in full-HD screen could blow your mind.

Other connectivity is impressive considering the price. In addition to those three HDMI ports and the VGA terminal are two Scart sockets for older gear like VCRs and non-HDMI DVD players or set-top boxes, and a component input (with phono audio inputs). On the side of the cabinet lurks a composite AV input, with support for stereo sound.

The built-in digital terrestrial tuner is the equivalent of a basic £20 set-top box, although it integrates quite nicely with the set's user interface. In addition to the aforementioned red-dot (MHEG-5) digital teletext and CI slot are an EPG, favourite channels, plus the ability to display subtitles and select alternative soundtracks (like audio descriptions) if available.

An optical audio output, meanwhile, enables such soundtracks to be fed to a home cinema system. As a budget set, the SJ42DMBB isn't exactly bristling with features. You get PAL/SECAM/NTSC analogue video support, a choice of six picture presentations (including 4:3/16:9 aspect ratios and the obligatory picture-expanding zooms) and – unusually – the ability to underscan or overscan pictures from an HDMI source. Also on offer are picture-freeze, which, sadly, only works with the digital tuner, and a sleep timer.