26" LCD TVs: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

Sound Quality

The sound noticeably lacks definition. If you choose this TV set, you'll have to spend at least some of the money you saved on an audio setup. The built-in sound is just good enough for broadcast TV.


We'd find it hard to recommend this unit when Samsung's LT-P266W (LW26A33W in Europe) offers much better performance for only about $200 (200 euros) more. LCD TVs are expensive, so if you're going to invest in one, you might as well buy a good set. Saving a small amount on a unit like this, to get much lower quality, is just not a smart move.

To Buy Or Not To Buy

This ends the first installment of our comparison of LCD TVs. After having seen a few sets, we have come to the conclusion that the Samsung LT-P266W (LW26A33W in Europe) is the best 26" LCD we have seen to date. It's by far the best in terms of quality/price ratio. It offers first-class performance at a price that's low and still coming down further. It has undeniable video qualities and its good interpolation will let you use your existing video equipment. Keep in mind, though, that an LCD can't come close to the quality of a CRT TV in this department.

Moreover, the 26" diagonal is the most interesting for image scaling. Above 26", there is little chance to get premium interpolation quality. Of course, if you decided to go down the HDTV route, you are probably less interested into this feature, but check with us in a few weeks for the second part of this comparison, which will cover 30" and 32" LCD TVs.