It's not the LG 32SL8000's haul of features that dazzle us most; it's that they're executed superbly well.
Plug in a Blu-ray player to one of the HDMI sockets and that live input is automatically displayed when the input switcher is selected on the remote.
Unlike most TVs, where the inputs list is small and involves scrolling up and down in search of the right input, the 32SL8000 presents them swooping across the bottom of the screen; unused inputs are greyed-out and put to the back of the list so they don't have to be dealt with, though it's possible to label each input (DVD, Blu-ray, Games etc) to make things even easier.
Using the USB media player is just as simple, though it is necessary to choose between movies, music and photos before accessing the files on a USB stick; things could be made simpler if the TV could decide for itself. Slideshows of JPEG photos are quick to load and display images, and can be set to music.
This also works in reverse; play an MP3 file and it's possible to choose a photo or slideshow to accompany it.
The 32SL8000 gives video files a special treatment, with sped-up thumbnails displayed for each video. It's not just the presentation that impresses; these thumbnails are processed and played almost immediately. The 32SL8000 doesn't mess around.
The same goes for the 32SL8000's file compatibility, which is more comprehensive than most, with DivX, DivX HD, AVI, MOV, MKV and MP4 files all playable, though not WMV or MPEG in our tests.
It's an honest treatment, too; the 32SL8000 puts a 'lightning strike' graphic through any files it can't cope with, so there's no last-minute frustration when a file won't play. When video files are playing, the useful and well designed remote's Pause/Play/FF/RW make navigating very simple.
Propping-up all of this are some fabulous central onscreen menus. Dominated by tasteful, muted colours and eight simple icons, these high resolution graphics lead the user round the many features and make often complex actions – such as calibrating the TV to ISF standard – a cinch.
The latter relies on an image-led Picture Wizard menu, which covers settings such as colour gain, sharpness and contrast. The resulting settings can then be applied to as many – or as few – inputs as needed.
Onscreen menus aren't everything, but it's surprising how many brands get them fatally wrong. Here they help make the 32SL8000 feel very natural to use.