The LG 32LF7700 certainly looks the part, with its understated black frame and slightly curved translucent bottom edge that hides the speakers.
The touch-sensitive controls are equally impressive. Assuming you are buying this set for Freesat, connectivity is highly respectable, with the most notable sockets being one satellite input and of course an RF input for Freeview.
The Ethernet serves no current purpose, but could be used to receive the BBC's iPlayer service if it breaks free from its internet corral. It's a pity there aren't a pair of satellite inputs to indicate the presence of a built-in PVR.
Freesat aside, headlining the spec is XD image processing and a Real Cinema mode for watching 24fps Blu-ray movies. There's no TruMotion 100Hz mode, which features on larger screens in the LF7700 range, but its absence won't be missed on a 32in screen and helps keep the price down.
Ease of use
The remote control scores highly for its appealing layout and look, even sporting an attractive leatherette finish.
Operating the 32LF7700 proves a fairly painless task, as the remote integrates nicely with the menu system, which is logically laid out and combines graphical icons with clear readable fonts. Our only gripe is the Freesat EPG, which is unattractive and tedious to navigate.
The TV is slow to power up, but installing it is at least pain-free, with all Freeview and Freesat channels tuning in and being stored without error. Note that it's worth manually re-tuning both platforms from time to time to accommodate changes to channel line-ups.
One nice touch is the energy saving meter, a translucent dialogue box with a circular dial. Settings are auto, min, medium, max and off. The latter is useful when listening to radio stations, but the screen is just too dark on the max setting.
Reassuringly, the 32LF7700's picture quality more than matches the impressive specification. Our test disc, Fantastic Four on Blu-ray, with its vivid colour palette, variety of lighting and big-action scenes, comes across most spectacularly.
The extra resolution of the full HD panel is certainly noticeable as the TV serves up every last ounce of clarity and detail. In its default setting, colours are incredibly strong with a brightness that almost burns your retina.
Delve into the menu system and it's possible to tinker with the backlight and contrast settings to optimise the image. You can also select the Cinema mode, although the results are affected by the ambient light in the room.
Real Cinema does a decent job of eliminating judder and there is little need to employ the noise reduction facility. Despite excellent black levels, fine detail is lacking in darker areas, but overall images are punchy and engaging.
Freesat images are generally excellent, the BBC channels being among the best, especially the HD one that matches the Sky equivalent for detail.
The 32LF7700 has been impressively engineered to deal with the MPEG artefacts and mosquito edge noise found in many standard-def broadcasts, and manages to serve up some better quality SD pictures.
Comparing Freesat pictures with a Sky HD feed throws up the 32LF7700's biggest problem, which is inaccurately rendering colours. It took a lot of experimenting with the viewing modes, tint and colour temperature to make the shirts of England's one-day cricketers red rather than orangey-scarlet.
To add to the problem, the settings might need re-adjusting when switching back to Blu-ray. Extensive use would make it a quicker process to make alterations, but it's a shame you can't save settings as pre-set user modes.
Across the dynamic range, the hidden speakers make a decent fist of pumping out enough sound. Annoyingly, you can't set bass or treble levels to your own preference and there are Cinema, Sport and Game modes of dubious effectiveness.
Overall, it's fine for everyday use, but a separate home cinema system or even a soundbar is needed to properly enjoy movies and the like.
Keenly priced at £500 the 32LF7700 doesn't do anything to undermine LG's reputation for competitiveness in the flatscreen market. Even without a Freesat tuner and full HD panel this would be considered a good 32in deal, but considering it packs some higher-level processing and overall does a superb job, it can certainly be considered something of a bargain.
It really puts the heat on Panasonic which has had this niche all to itself until recently.
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