Small, cheap HD TVs - Which? tests uncover the best value TVsTest results find big differences in small models

06 August 2011

John Lewis JL23LED

The John Lewis JL23LED TV comes with a low price tag, but its test lab performance left much to be desired.

If you're buying a small HD TV, such as a 19-inch or 24-inch model, they tend to come with forgiving price tags.

However, making a saving doesn't always mean spending your money wisely.

Which? tests TVs from as small as 19-inches, all the way up to 60-inch models, and regardless of size, we put all LED, LCD and plasma TVs through an identical series of rigorous expert tests.

And in our latest round of tests our experts uncovered some uncomfortable truths about supermarket own-brand and low-cost TVs.

When the price sounds better than the audio

We recently tested the John Lewis JL23LED TV, a 23-inch model with a familiar high street name emblazoned on its front. This can be picked up for around £220, making it one of the cheapest models we've tested this year.

However, back in our test lab, our team found that this model delivered disappointing audio quality, making it a great deal easier on the wallet than it is on the ears.

Read our full Which? review of the John Lewis JL23LED TV to see how it performed overall.

93.8 WattsOur tests found that the £189 Technika 32-52 had a power consumption double what we'd expect from most 32-inch TVs

Tesco's Technika TV costs you in the long run

One element of our expert TV testing is to precisely measure the power consumption of TVs while they're in use and in standby.

We recently tested the Technika 32-56, a low cost model available to buy at Tesco. 

While this £189 model is certainly one of the cheapest 32-inch screens around, our tests found that its power consumption while switched on was around double what we'd expect for a TV of that size, and it was a similar story in its standby mode. 

So while you're making a saving up front with this cheap model, the longer-term running costs could undo your budget-conscious buying.

Read our full Which? review of the Technika 32-56 TV.

Panasonic Viera TX-L24C3

The Panasonic Viera TX-L24C3 costs just £50 more than the John Lewis model.

Low cost big name TVs

The good news is that there are some familiar names to choose from even at the smaller end of the TV spectrum, and some of the prices aren't much more than the budget-level TVs mentioned above.

For instance, if you're after a small TV for your bedroom or kitchen, then the Panasonic Viera TX-L24C3 is only £50 more expensive than the John Lewis 23-inch model. 

For your money, as well as the extra inch on the screen, you'll get a built-in Freeview HD tuner and impressive upscaling of standard definition content.

For more reviews on TVs of all sizes, check our expert Which? reviews of the best LED, LCD and plasma TVs.

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