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LG RZ-32LZ50 review

Can it deliver on high-definition's promise?

Our Verdict

All in all, the RZ-32LZ50 is a bit of a let-down

TechRadar Verdict

All in all, the RZ-32LZ50 is a bit of a let-down

Like the big-on-connections, small-on-picture-quality Samsung LW32A33, a TV of 32in like this one from fellow Korean manufacturer LG is plenty big enough on which to enjoy - or at least, look forward to enjoying - high-definition pictures.

Surely, that's the least we can expect of a 32in LCD these days. There's no all-digital HDMI input, so the appearance of a DVI input on the rear of this LCD is initially pleasing. But hold on, it's not HDCP-compliant, which is a fancy way of saying it won't hold its price for very long, because it won't be able to show HDTV from Sky. So that DVI is purely for PC hook-up.

Thank the Lord for its component video inputs, which will doubtless be enough to play at least some sort of free-to-air HDTV of the future. Or will they? Actually, no, because they are oddly only configured for 480i or 576i (standard-definition) signals - HD operates on either 720p or 1080i standards.

So while it will show progressive scan pictures from a well-equipped DVD player, it won't show gorgeous HD images.

We have lift off

At least it's a bit of a looker itself, with the screen cleverly lifted from the frame by way of a transparent strip.

Apart from that, this screen ain't much of a wiseguy so far, but let's see how if does with our test disc, the restored and remastered special edition of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas. The nasty mob machinations onscreen are brought to life via lush saturations of colour, brightly and accurately represented, especially flesh tones. Motion, to, is handled well with minimal blurring over quick camera pans - still an irritatingly common problem on more expensive LCDs than this one from LG, and one that can often put people off LCD altogether. Not here.

Test verdict

Its on-board XD Engine proves a worthy foe of dull blacks, pairing with a boosted contrast range to produce well-defined images from the dark nightclubs and smoky back rooms of the Mob. That said, its black response levels are more impressive with digital TV pictures than from discs. Overall, although images are impressive, we've seen much better picture processing (which here includes DCDI interlacing) on rivals.

It's a similar story with audio, which, while enough to give a wide enough soundstage, never approaches anything special. In fact at high volumes or in dialogue-dominated footage - such as during Joe Pesci's famously intense rant mid-way through Goodfellas - things get a little thin and harsh-sounding. It's obviously more suited to broadcast TV than it is with DVD movies. The lack of bass on offer leaves things sounding higher on treble than we're happy with.

All in all, the RZ-32LZ50 is a bit of a let-down. While pictures are impressive at times - particularly with colour reproduction and an almost total absence of smearing - they are nowhere near good enough to assuage us after the digital connections fiasco. A PC-only DVI input is annoying enough, the oddly low-spec component video jacks almost unforgivable in the HDTV age.

If you don't intend to take advantage of HDTV at any point, we are tempted to suggest the RZ-32LZ50 is worth considering purely on picture quality alone. However, what's also worth thinking about is that there are better-equipped LCDs of similar size and price out there that do actually come with high-defready connections.