Fortunately for the Hitachi L32VP03, first impressions aren't everything. Sure, the cabinet feels a bit cheap, but the TV doesn't look it once positioned in your lounge.
And the specification is encouraging too: 1920 x 1080 resolution, four HDMI inputs and a USB socket for displaying still pictures is much more like it.
It's swift to set up and finds all available TV stations quickly. Pictures from the digital tuner are bright and punchy, with white tones kept very clean, and the Hitachi does good work with even the most unpredictable motion compared to the best.
A shortage of fine detailThere's a shortage of fine detail, though, which makes skintones less than convincing, and this is a set which lost its grip on TV transmissions entirely (admittedly on just one occasion, but still…).
Upscaling DVD pictures all the way to its native resolution shows the L32VP03 off to good advantage. Watch our vidcast about this TV
More after the break
The stark, assured contrasts are carried over from TV pictures, as is the secure motion-handling, but here they're joined by improved detail levels, including enjoyable black tones and low-light insight.
Picture noise does rear its head, especially in open long-shots, and there's sometimes edginess to more complicated scenes.
Punchy and engaging pictureAll of this, good and bad, is evident when watching a 1080p/24fps copy of Jarhead. Colours are nicely balanced, contrasts strong and sure, even as blacks gain extra depth.
Detail levels are high, and the overall picture is punchy and engaging. It's still noisier than we'd like, though – those endless desert scenes have constantly restless skies – and very complicated patterns provoke some shimmering, too.
Sound is as hard and thin as the TV's cabinet which, tragically, is par for the course. And then there's the stiff competition always lurking around the corner, very near this price point when you take the time and look online...