Tools Of The Trade: The Humax LGB26-DTT LCD screen

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The Independent Online

Until recently, the choice for displaying presentations in the boardroom came down to a projector or an expensive plasma display. But LCDs are starting to offer a credible alternative. Bigger screen sizes and lower prices are making LCDs a viable option for large displays.

Until recently, the choice for displaying presentations in the boardroom came down to a projector or an expensive plasma display. But LCDs are starting to offer a credible alternative. Bigger screen sizes and lower prices are making LCDs a viable option for large displays.

These screens have some advantages over plasmas: they are thinner, lighter, use less electricity and generally cost less. Although the largest LCDs still lag behind the best plasmas in size, the gap is closing. In quality terms, there is also less and less to choose between the two.

Where LCD technology has a clear lead, though, is in price. Competition on the high street has pushed the cost of large LCD screens below £1,000. And although large LCD panels are designed mostly for home use, they operate just as well in a work environment.

The LGB26-DTT screen from Humax has recently dropped to between £900 and £950 in the shops. The LCD panel includes connections for analogue and digital computer inputs, as well as both analogue and digital TV tuners and connections for audio, Scart and composite video - so it will hook up to more or less any media device that's likely to be used in the office. The screen also supports high- definition TV, so it should be future proof.

At 26 inches, the LGB26 has a large screen size, but despite this, the display has a maximum resolution of 1,280 by 768 pixels. This is significantly lower than the highest-resolution LCD computer monitors on the market, so the Humax is not really suitable for use as a main computer monitor.

It comes into its own, though, for displaying images to a larger group - for example in a meetings room. The LGB26 worked well connected both to computers and to AV equipment, with the image clear and bright in both cases. If anything, the display was too vibrant when connected to a PC, although the Humax screen gives plenty of options for controlling this. The image from a DVD player was more natural.

The screen coped admirably with moving images, and the built-in speakers, although no match for a dedicated audio-visual system, are capable of quite reasonable output. And being able to pick up both analogue and digital TV signals - without the external tuner boxes that usually come with plasma displays - is a useful bonus.

In fact, there are relatively few drawbacks to the LGB26, though it does have some shortcomings that betray its origins as a home rather than office machine. The connectors for computer monitors, for example, are located on the bottom of the panel and are not that easy to access - especially given the screen's size and weight.

Meanwhile, the shiny black surround for the display can cause reflections in some lighting conditions, and a good aerial signal is a necessity for the digital tuner to work. This is a common problem with all Freeview-based TVs and set-top boxes, but it is worth allowing for the cost of an aerial upgrade if you plan to use the LGB26 for digital TV.

THE VERDICT

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros: good quality, aggressive price.

Cons: lower resolution than dedicated computer screens.

Price: £900 to £950 including VAT.

Contact: www.humaxdigital.com/uk

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