If you've seen the ad campaign for LG's Scarlet, you could be forgiven for assuming - like a bunch of US celebrities who were fooled into attending the launch - that it was a TV series, or even a person.

But it's not; it's a range of TVs - with bright red backs. But is it all style and no substance?

An imposing LCD

This LCD is a large set, and not just because of its 47in screen size.

Though the unit is deliciously thin, at just 79mm deep, it has a substantial bezel, wider at the bottom to accommodate the speakers, which makes it loom more impressively than the other sets.

The rear of the TV is indeed scarlet, though the front is a more restrained black, and as a 'decorative focal point' there's a hole through the bottom bezel. That's right - a hole you can wiggle your fingers through.

It's essentially an obtrusive on/off button, activated by sticking something in it - Freud would have had a field day.

Full HD playback

There are no other front 'sockets', but the back features the usual array, including three HDMIs, two RGB Scarts, PC input, and component.

This is a 1920 x 1080 panel with a built-in Freeview tuner. It supports 1080p24 playback and boasts LG's XD Engine picture processing chippery, together with a 100Hz picture processing mode.

There's also an Intelligent Sensor system which adjusts screen settings according to ambient lighting.

Gritty images

Initial impressions of the LG are not favourable. While the most rivals boast tangible levels of black, the LG's picture remains distinctly grey.

BBC HD via Freesat lacks depth and believablity. Most telling, there is a grittiness to the picture which is not seen on the other sets; while other close-ups of an Amy Winehouse performance show clear facial detail, on the LG the image appears unforgiveably smeary.

Out of the box, colour fidelity is disappointing. Tigers on HD wildlife footage are rendered too orangey, while the other TVs capture their colours more realistically.

Picture tweaking

Switching to Freeview channels, I noted that the LG deals less well than its peers with compression artefacts; it doesn't seem to be able to eliminate blocking and fuzz. There are also difficulties in handling fast movement.

The Scarlet does respond to tweaking. Indeed, its ISF-certified manual adjustments are the best of this bunch; but overall there's no doubt that the LG is hampered by its glass and/or image processing, a disappointment given the quality of its excellent 52LG5000 model.

Conversely, the Mark Levinson-tuned 'invisible speaker' system impresses with a strong bass and a smooth mid-range even at full volume (although, admittedly, this isn't very high).

Skin-deep beauty

Despite good looks, generous specification and decent sound, this first Scarlet just doesn't deliver, thanks to inadequate black levels and a tendency to succumb to compression and motion artefacts.

This is one sexy, scarlet lady I won't fall for.