Despite its excellent user interface, the 32LV550T is a little trickier than most TVs to set up for optimum performance. None of the provided presets work particularly well, with even the Cinema mode failing to impress, thanks to its reduction of contrast range (perhaps in a bid to deliver more shadow detail and warmer colours).
The best results were obtained using an adapted version of the Standard preset, with the contrast and backlight levels ramped down by between 20 and 30 per cent from their starting positions.
If you're watching Blu-ray, you'd also be advised to turn off most of the TV's video processing circuitry, including TruMotion, as many have an adverse affect on high quality sources. The only option you might want to leave on for Blu-ray playback is Real Cinema, as this seems to reduce judder without making things look unnatural or over-processed.
Once you've got the 32LV550T set up right, it delivers some very enjoyable pictures. Colours are punchy and with an accuracy that extends to tonal blends as well as shades, meaning there's little if any sign of such issues as colour striping, colour blocking, or over-smoothing of skin tones.
A carefully calibrated 32LV550T also enjoys a good black level response for an affordable edge-LED TV. There's some evidence of greyness over parts of the picture that should look black, but the extent of this isn't as pronounced as it is on, say, Panasonic's TX-L32E3B. As a result, the 32LV550T can produce a picture well suited to film viewing.
It's a relief to report, too, that the 32LV550T delivers its impressive black levels without suffering much with inconsistent brightness levels. Some of the presets can cause a touch more brightness to appear in the screen's four corners, but this is easy to get rid of if you're careful with the backlight settings.
There's a slightly hollow look to dark parts of the picture, as one might expect of an edge LED TV - especially one with no apparent local dimming capability. The missing shadow details are lost within blackness, though, rather than low-contrast greyness, which makes their absence much easier to forgive.
More good news concerns the 32LV550T's sharpness with HD material. There's genuine snap to Blu-ray playback, with the impact of HD's extra detailing aggressively apparent. Importantly, though, this sharpness doesn't look in any way forced (so long as you don't use the set's Super Resolution processing option), meaning the image isn't overly grainy and doesn't suffer from stressy edging.
It's also good to find that the sharpness of HD sources is only slightly reduced during action scenes, indicating a respectable response time for an LCD panel. You can all but eradicate motion blur with TruMotion, but this tends to cause a few side-effects unless you turn down its power so much that it's barely worth using in the first place.
Real Cinema, which gently reduces judder without causing unwanted side effects, is the most successful processing tool for motion for watching Blu-rays.
The 32LV550T isn't quite as accomplished with standard-definition material, with upscaled images looking a little soft and de-saturated, but even quite low-quality sources are pleasingly free of noise.
The TV boasts a respectably low input lag of 40ms compared with the 100ms or so found on some of LG's other recent TVs, making it a good bet for gaming, although this figure is only achievable in Game AV mode.