Linsar 19LED805T review

With the flat TV being a resolutely Asian invention, buying British is no easy task. And while Dorset-based company Linsar use a manufacturer in Turkey for the actual panel, its new line-up of bedroom/study-sized Titanium TVs are designed on these shores. Available in John Lewis and in independent retailers, this 19-inch LCD TV has features galore in an effort to justify the slightly higher-than-average price.

Key to the 19LED805T is LED backlighting, a facet that continues further up the range in Linsar’s 22-inch and 24-inch versions. All have a Titanium finish, though that grand-sounding term applies only to the colour - the chassis is the usual plastic, though at least it’s not gloss black.

In fact, the only difference between this 19-incher and its bigger brethren is resolution; the 19LED805T is fitted with a HD Ready panel while the 22-inch and 24-inch versions are Full HD.

As well as the UK-centric, though standard, Freeview tuner, the 19LED805T’s other headline feature is its ability to record digital TV programmes to a USB stick. Tagged “plug, play and record”, there’s a USB port on the side that can accept both memory sticks and external FAT-32 USB hard drives. You could use this function for pausing and rewinding TV and on its own that’s a genuinely useful feature that’s great to see on a TV this small.

But the USB function goes way further than that, offering the chance to set recordings straight from the 7-day electronic programme guide. By pressing the record command on the remote - something that’s not difficult to locate given the use of large, well-labelled buttons - programmes in the EPG are highlighted. Do that and you’ll also be able to set a series link; this is a more serious feature than we’d expected.

TS files - a form of MPEG2 file - are the result, which can be played on a PC relatively easily, while the TV’s USB port can also read AVI, MPEG, JPEG and MP3 files. Beyond USB recording the 19LED805T has another trick up its sleeve: a built-in DVD player. Able to play standard CD and MP3 files burned to discs as well as standard DVDs,

The user interface on the 19LED805T is reasonably easy to use and, best of all, there’s a Common Interface slot so Top-Up TV viewing cards can be added. That’s a great addition, though the 19LED805T’s lack of Component video inputs could annoy Xbox owners and a single HDMI port means only one high-def feed can be attached; a hint that this is a TV more about features than picture quality.

But while the 19LED805T ticks most of the boxes on anyone’s wish list, there is one glaring omission so often overlooked by makers of small TVs: picture quality.

Softness, motion blur and a tight viewing angle are endemic, though colours are always vivid and contrast is a notch above most small LCD TVs. A dose of weak, treble-heavy audio is arguably more of a problem, though you’ll struggle to find anything remotely acceptable on 19-inch TVs from any brand. 

Verdict

In a fabulous array of features it’s surprisingly comprehensive USB recording that’s the highlight on this LED-backlit TV from British company Linsar. The integrated DVD player adds to the value further, though rudimentary picture quality takes away the gloss and confirms that the use of LEDs can’t rescue an average LCD panel.