Humax LD2060 20-inch DirecTV/LCD Combo

For every job, there is the "right" tool. Just as you wouldn't grab a hammer to open a bottle of champagne, you wouldn't install a front projection system in a sunny room. DirecTV subscribers, unfortunately, have always needed an extra, often unwanted, "tool" in the form of a standalone satellite receiver. That need for an ungainly box attached to every single TV greatly hinders minimalist, wall-mount installations where the receiver has no place to hide. If this sounds like a predicament you've faced, the Humax LD2060 20-inch DirecTV/LCD combo might be the right tool for you.

SETUP Aesthetically, this set looks sharp, with black bordering the screen and silver speakers flanking the sides. Besides looking good, the black surround improves perceived contrast, making for a better picture.

Setup is straightforward. If you've already installed your DirecTV satellite dish, all you'll need to do is connect the coaxial cable. Of course, activating DirecTV satellite service (there's a $4.99 monthly charge for each additional receiver) is required to receive programming. A telephone connection is available on the set for pay-per-view purchases.

To connect local sources, the LD2060 includes a component- and two composite-video inputs, all with associated audio input jacks. Although the display resolution is just 640 x 480 (standard definition, or SD), the component input will accept up to 1080i signals. An A/V output (composite-video plus stereo audio) is also available to feed the signal to another TV or to a standalone video recorder.

The LD2060 includes a nice, narrow tabletop stand that is great for desktop or countertop setups. The stand allows you to tilt the screen up but not down. And since the set is VESA compliant, finding a suitable wall mount will be a breeze.

PERFORMANCE DirecTV receiver manufacturers have done what no one else in consumer electronics can: They've standardized their remotes. So if you own a current-generation DirecTV receiver, you'll be right at home operating the LD2060. (Unfortunately, like all of the other DirecTV remotes I've seen, this one isn't backlit either. Guess you can't have everything.) I love that Humax included discrete commands for On/Off and aspect ratio options, making it easy to integrate with third-party control systems or universal remotes.

Although the LD2060 has front-panel buttons, their location and labeling is awkward, especially if the top of the TV is above eye-level. But since most people primarily use the remote, this is a minor gripe.