$59 LCD TV

Psst! Over here! Shhh! Don’t draw attention. Look, you wanna buy an LCD TV for $59? I know just the place: Walmart.

The Curtis 11

This baby has a widescreen display, and is portable. It can even run off either an outlet in your house or from the 12 volt outlet in your car or boat. At this price, you don’t expect to get a huge screen, and you’re right; this baby is just 11″ diagonal.

But wait, there’s more you should consider… or should I say less. It receives signals over the air, but the little bundled antenna may not work well for you so you may have to spring for a better quality antenna. And while it’s portable, keep in mind that the ATSC signal is not designed to be received by a device in motion. As a result, plan on waiting until you reach the parking lot before you start watching. And don’t expect a wonderful picture. The display only has 800 by 480 pixel resolution, which is the Wide VGA format also known as EDTV, or wide standard resolution. This will be fine for watching DVDs, but don’t expect to see the detail in HD programming. Note that the Walmart Web site lists an improbably low resolution of just 480 by 234 pixels, and I can’t figure out how they came up with that. Oh, and the Walmart Web site also appears to be wrong when it says that it has a rechargeable battery, but nothing in the set’s manual indicates that it can run on its own battery power.

Having said all that, however, this could be a handy set to have. Maybe you want to be able to follow the game while you’re outside cooking on the barbecue. Or if you pair this with one of those handy jump-start battery devices that has 12 volt power outlets, it could make a useful addition to a blizzard or hurricane emergency kit.

Just don’t expect to get state-of-the-art image quality at this price.