Despite being a highly affordable TV, LG's 37LC2D is specced to the max. But do these specifications really count for something, or is LG just playing the numbers game?

With its matt black façade and silvery strip, there's something serious, almost businesslike, about the 37LC2D that appeals.

Connectivity gets the job done: there are single HDMI and component jacks for digital and analogue HD respectively, three Scarts, a D-Sub PC port, and digital tuner support in the shape of a CI slot for adding subscription services and a digital audio output to feed into a separate sound system. Shame there's no second HDMI, though.

The screen's digital tuner benefits from full, decently presented support for the 7-day Freeview Electronic Programme Guide, including direct timer event setting.

Those specifications I mentioned at the start, meanwhile, find an HD-friendly native resolution of 1366 x 768, a solid brightness of 500cd/m2, and a really very impressive sounding 1600:1 contrast ratio.

Most LG TVs these days boast the company's proprietary XD Engine processing, and the 37LC2D is no different. What's more, it has the very latest version, which adds new, user-selectable MPEG and 'XD' noise reduction options to its usual processes for improving colours, sharpness, detailing, clarity and motion.

Other features of note include separate fleshtone, greentone and bluetone adjustments, plus picture-in-picture facilities.

Unfortunately, while the 37LC2D dresses to impress, it sadly falls down where it matters most: picture performance.

Its problems are numerous. the black level depth doesn't bear out the paper 1600:1 contrast ratio claims, as dark corners of the picture are all-too-often afflicted by traces of the 'grey mist' effect common to lower-contrast TVs. Our Labs actually measured the contrast ratio at 420:1, which is towards the lower end of the modern LCD spectrum.

Colours, meanwhile, aren't especially natural, often taking on a rather over-the-top quality that also tends to make picture dynamics seem unbalanced at times. But by far the worst problem is how badly the picture quality deteriorates while watching standard-definition as opposed to HD sources. Obviously you'd expect some level of deterioration, but the extra softness, noise and levels of smearing apparent with SD on this LG are notably worse than normal.

Of course, it's not all doom and gloom. High-definition sources are capable of looking acutely detailed, while colours compensate for their occasionally flawed tones with levels of vibrancy and brightness that are among the most aggressively eye-catching in the business. Also, while its black levels performance won't blow away other sets in this group test, they're actually not too bad.

Finally in the plus column, the 37LC2D's sonics are good, managing well-rounded and reasonably deep bass lines, a nice wide soundstage, smooth trebles and decent helpings of raw power.

This screen would be a fine enough choice if your televisual diet was exclusively high-definition, but in all likelihood, it's not. Consequently its relatively impoverished standard-definition performance just can't be ignored.