The LG 52LG5000 is a beast.

At first, when released from the box, this LG's size is only mildly intimidating, but alongside its peers, this is one heee-uge TV.

The main reason for this is that the Korean manufacturer has slapped an enormous gloss-black, plastic-looking bezel around the edge of the set, increasing the fascia's visible area to monstrous proportions.

Monstrous but slim LCD

On the plus side, compared to rival models from Toshiba and Philips, it's super-shallow. Ironic then that it's images have such depth.

Admittedly, Freeview television pictures, from the box, are a little too edgy and blocked for my liking, but that's before calibration. Simple reductions of the sharpness and colour controls bring up far better results.

Also, this is the only set in this line-up that offers full ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) calibration control, so you can fiddle about with red, green, blue, magenta, cyan and yellow controls until you get its picture just right. Better still; get an ISF-trained engineer to do it for you.

Strong high-def pictures

High-definition images, including upscaled DVDs, are far more agreeable from the off. Even on its 'Standard' setting, before any tweaking, the LG's pictures look somehow... right.

Colours are a bit oversaturated, perhaps, but such a caveat is easy to overcome, and this screen certainly stands out alongside its rivals. There's a decent wodge of contrast at play and although blacks are merely a touch better than LCD technology is known for, there's enough depth to give 1080p video a tangible sense of dimension.

One area where this is of great benefit is with gaming. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 is a 3D first-person shooter which relies heavily on depth perception, and it looks visually stunning on the big LG5000. The lack of deep, overblown blacks actually helps reveal the fine details needed for such a game - you can see those bad guys lurking in the shadows.

Blown away by Blu-ray

Better still is its performance with Blu-ray movies. Ice Age 2, when fed via a BD player through one of its three HDMI v1.3a inputs, looks nothing short of incredible.

Naturally, CGI-animation is a good fit for Full HD, and I'm yet to meet somebody who hasn't been wowed by a computer-rendered cartoon played at 1080p through any set.

However, the difference between the TVs in this shoot-out is so apparent when fed the same source at the same time. None of its rivals can match this particular screen for a cinematic feel. Where each of them had one flaw or another, the LG's movie talents are second to none.

Superb audio performance

Audio performance is the icing on the cake. Tuned by audiophile guru Mark Levinson, and technically invisible to the eye (to be honest, Led Zeppelin's tour rack could hide behind the behemoth of a bezel), the two 10W speakers bark out a loud yet clear soundscape. It's not surround sound, of course, but you'd be happy with it for general viewing.

There's something to be said for the fact that it's one of the cheaper 52inchers out there. The LG 52LG5000 is a bigscreen budget bruiser with real picture prowess. It comes thoroughly recommended.