Just like a member of one of Tyler Durden's fight clubs, plasma TV technology is taking blow after blow from LCD. This 37in LCD panel is available for under £1,400, well below what we'd expect to pay for even the lowest-priced 37-inch plasma. But in the AV world there's more to being a bargain than a small price tag.
We couldn't call this flatpanel a thing of beauty but it has a subdued style to it, as though LG is not trying to be flashy.
The set's connections follow this idea - get the job done, without any drama. This 37LC2D is HD-ready, so it has the required digital HDMI and analogue component video inputs, but it also packs three Scarts (only one of which is RGB-capable), a PC input, and the standard analogue connections.
There's also a common interface slot (for the digital terrestrial Top Up TV package) and a digital audio output. So the sockets are serviceable, but LG hasn't gone out of its way to impress.
On the features side there is the (should-be-obligatory) digital tuner, and LG's XD Engine picture-processing system. The digital tuner is welcome, as many LCDs at this price point skip this detail.
Nice at first
As with rival systems, XD Engine aims to reduce noise, increase detail, produce accurate colours, and smooth away motion smears. On the subject of picture adjustments, the set has a useful set of tweaks, including flesh tone settings, MPEG artefact and noise reduction modes.
Playing our upscaled Fight Club DVD showed this LG to be a mixed performer. Colours are rich and strong, details and edges sharp, while blacks are deep and detailed.
Yet, as the DVD continued, we became aware that the deepest blacks are becoming grey and detail flattened out. Colours caused some problems as well: most of the time they were accurate, but then they could become garish when unusual or stylised lighting is in use.
The most serious problem is the drop in quality when standard-definition pictures are used. High-def signals produced excellent pictures - as expected - but when watching Freeview or running Fight Club at its normal resolution, noise and smears become a problem, and the picture begins to look artificial.
Thankfully, the audio performance is stable and potent. Bass levels are always deep, midtones and trebles aren't harsh, and the soundfield is wide.
LG's LCD makes a great first impression, but problems become obvious when it's been in use for a while, or when you watch a standard-definition fare. While the asking price is low, the performance problems make it hard to recommend the 37LC2D.