First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Integrated HD tuner, Good High Definition performance, Wide array of connection options
- Some noise issues in Standard Definition, over-sharpening aberrations, image quality problems via PC connection.
The LG 37LC2D is quite good when compared to other mid-range and similarly priced units but is certainly not the best unit on the market
Price$ 4,124.00 (AUD)
The 37LC2D from LG is a mid-range 37in LCD television with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and a built-in High Definition television tuner. It can accept both Standard Definition and High Definition video sources, although its strength definitely lies in HD content. Our PC connection tests found a handful of image quality problems but, on the whole, we found the unit looked quite adequate considering the price.
To test the Standard Definition capabilities of the unit we conducted tests using the Philips CE2006 Demo DVD, Digital Video Essentials and scenes from "The Matrix". The Motion jitter tests on the Philip CE2006 Demo DVD highlighted moderate jitter which is on par with most LCD televisions. There was a little over-saturation of red in the colour tests but this was correctable by turning down the "colour" setting via the calibration options. Contrast was not a problem in these tests at all and we found no stepping to speak of, however there was some minor over-sharpening on edges which we could not remove, even by turning the sharpness setting to zero. This is normally the easiest way to correct over-sharpening but it made very little difference on this television.
The Digital Video Essentials (DVE) tests revealed noise in the lower end of the greyscale at around 20-40% amplitude. When watching regular television, movies or games, this can translate to dancing pixels in darker areas of an image. There was also a slight pixel fluctuation in magenta and blue on the colour block test and the blacks were a little washed out, appearing slightly grey.
These still tests are excellent when attempting to find fundamental problems with a unit but to test the image quality in a real world situation we watch the lobby scene from The Matrix. This is a valuable test scene as the high speed action combined with the green wash over the image and the myriad of debris and smoke particles make it difficult to render. The image noise we found in DVE was also seen in this test in the form of minor noise in dark areas. Similarly, the over-sharpening found in the CE2006 was also seen on edges, particularly on the cloth of characters clothing against the background. However, while many other units have issues with background discolouration, this unit was exceptional. There was no noticeable pixilation, skin tones were excellent, stepping was non existent and there were no motion blur or ghosting problems to speak of. To watch DVDs this unit should be satisfactory for most users needs, though the more discerning may be bothered by the aforementioned issues.
The 37LC2D can accept high definition signals at 720p or 1080i. We ran tests at both and found no major differences with how this unit handles either signal. Therefore, we chose to conduct our High Definition testing at 720p. Using the Xbox 360 we ran both gaming and HD video tests and found that apart from some very minor image quality aberrations, the High Definition capabilities of the panel were excellent. We did notice a slight loss of definition in some of the very fine details when playing Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, to the point where some fine diagonal lines appeared a little pixelated. However, this didn't extend to all diagonal and curved lines, as larger block textures didn't exhibit these issues at all. The other aspect we noticed when running through our gaming tests was the same over sharpening that we had seen in the Standard Definition tests. While it was not to the same extent, it was still present, even after reducing the sharpness to zero. This isn't a major issue though as most people wont notice it from a comfortable viewing distance. The colour reproduction was excellent in HD and we experienced no noise, pixel fluctuations or contrast stepping in the image.
Following the gaming tests we also ran HD video tests by running the 720p trailers downloaded from the Xbox Live service. These trailers are a mix of film and pre-rendered video game trailers and were an excellent test of the HD video capabilities of the 37LC2D. Not surprisingly, the only problem we saw when displaying this content was the same over sharpening seen earlier. Motion blur and Ghosting were minimal, colour, detail, contrast and brightness were all excellent and, at times, quite impressive.
To test the HD tuner in the 37LC2D we ran the set up procedure to check how long it takes to tune in all the channels. At 12 minutes, this was a little longer than other units, but it must be taken into account that this encompassed both analogue and digital tuning. The tuner itself is quite good although the standard definition signal did display noticeable pixilation. While not as smooth as other units on the market, it was definitely still comfortable to watch. The HD television channels, particularly those originally shot in 1080i, looked excellent. The speed of the channel switching was on par with the average time of five seconds which most televisions with HD tuners seem to follow.
We connected the unit to a PC via a D-Sub VGA connection at a resolution of 1024x768 pixels. At first, the unit displayed no image until we discovered that the user must manually set whether a PC or DTV box is plugged into the port. Most other TVs automatically detect this, so it was a little confusing, until we read the manual. While this was frustrating, we soon had the desktop displayed on screen. We immediately noticed over sharpening on both the icons and text on the desktop. We attempted calibration but the sharpness setting could not be turned down to zero without making everything a little too blurry. We had to find a happy middle ground where there were still some over sharpening artefacts but it wasn't too distracting.
We ran our test program, DisplayMate Video Edition, and found that the entire desktop was not being displayed on the unit properly. The very edges of the screen on the right and bottom had been cropped which equated to a loss of about a quarter of the Windows XP start bar. We scoured the menus and re-read the manual but found no way to manually adjust the horizontal and vertical position of the desktop. While this won't be noticed by many people and will still work fine for most PC applications, it is necessary to mention it because there are no 1:1 pixel mapping options, which are important to many PC users. There was also a noticeable moire distortion during the diagonal, line moire and dot moire resolution matrix tests which stem from the same interpolation issues. Thankfully the streaking and ghosting test was flawless but there was discolouration in the coloured text on coloured background tests particularly with respect to Magenta, Cyan, Green, Yellow and Blue text on varying coloured backgrounds. We attempted to calibrate the TV to remove this problem but there was nothing that could be done to minimise them. While the unit has its issues when connected to a PC, the grayscale was impeccably displayed with no discolouration, there was no noise in any of the grays or colours, no stepping and uniformity was excellent.
LG has followed suit with the market trend of the gloss piano black bezel, although this model also has a metallic grey panel at the front as well. The stand is pre-installed and is also gloss piano black with a matte black finish on the rear panels. The connection ports are easily accessible and include two component, one HDMI, three composite, one D-Sub and one S-Video. The antennae connectors are also situated on the rear.
While the LG 37LC2D is not the best LCD television on the market, it is quite good when compared to other mid-range and similarly priced units. Considering it has an integrated HD tuner, this is a good buy, though those with a little more cash and those that are a little more pedantic about image quality may want to look elsewhere.
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