LG's transformation from South Korea's second most interesting electronics concern to world-class flatscreen supremo continues with the 37LG7000.
First and crucially, this is a full HD television with version 1.3a HDMIs, which means it's as future-proofed as it's currently possible to be. It's got a fulsome four of the aforementioned digital inputs, too, ensuring that all your top-spec connectivity needs are well and truly met, and there's even a USB port among all the other, more standard fittings.
Images are marshalled into line by the latest version of LG's increasingly impressive XD image engine plus 100Hz scanning for jitter-free motion, while an intelligent sensor automatically adjusts intensity of output to suit ambient lighting conditions.
Speakers are hidden well away and enjoy the arguable benefit of TruSurround audio.
A final accoutrement is Bluetooth connectivity that enables you to send pictures to the TV from a suitably equipped mobile phone or to listen to the set's audio on a pair of wireless headphones. Whatever the ultimate practical value of this might be, it's another example of the sort of imaginative specification that lifts this TV above so many of its identi-kit, mass-market rivals.
LG's superlative user system is still the best around. For the uninitiated, the company's current sets are adjusted and managed via a set of beautifully rendered, extra-large tiles, the navigation of which is so flawlessly intuitive that you'll find that you're installed and tweaked before being conscious of having done much at all.
Clear and concise, the setup menus are, if not strictly a joy to use, then certainly easier on the eyes and brains than most. The remote, which dovetails seamlessly with the onscreen graphics, is simple, with large, precise and unambiguously labelled buttons.
The 37LG7000 keeps LG's recent run of impressive form going with another well-rounded and eminently enjoyable performance. Not that it fires on all cylinders straight away, though. Smeared across 37in Freeview looks about as ugly as we've come to expect, with poor edge definition, wobbly motion and crude colour sensitivity.
Hues that should be blended smoothly into each other, such as the varying tones across a human face, tend to be isolated into distinct pools, giving subjects a mottled, unnatural look. It's fine for 'normal' television, though, and the faults are with the message rather than with the medium.
DVDs, on the other hand, are lively and impressive. Colours look bold and well saturated, but also possessed of a mellow cinematic lustre and a subtlety that permits high fidelity to the original palette.
Detail is also prodigious, with the sophisticated processing circuitry combining nicely with the full HD resolution to produce dazzlingly deep and wonderfully textured images. The clashing zombie and terracotta armies across a Gobi dustbowl in the Mummy 3, are but one example, with the serried, CGI ranks picked out faultlessly.
High definition soars the set to greater heights, with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban getting the cleanest treatment we've seen for a while. The early scenes at the boy wizard's muggle guardians' home often seem to throw up a lot of grain, but here every frame is immaculate. Blacks are good, although they do bottom out as all LCDs will eventually, while motion can be a bit glitchy at times, but not to such an extent that it might mar your overall viewing pleasure.
Given that it's almost impossible to pinpoint which bit of the set is actually producing the noise, it's perhaps unsurprising that the audio is a trifle underpowered. It's faithful enough and more than up to handling such undemanding fare as television broadcasts, but does tend to reach its limits fairly quickly with movies.
The main problem, as ever, is the lack of bass, robbing soundtracks of their requisite room-filling, floor-shaking presence. The 'surround' while hardly three-dimensional, does inject a little more punch, although this does tend to be at the expense of mid-range clarity. Once again, our advice is to use the onboard speakers for the news and Neighbours, and a separate multichannel system for films.
The price raises the 37LG7000 a couple of notches above the entry level, but a few below the top-end efforts from the likes of Panasonic and Philips. That it can compete with the latter while effortlessly outclassing the former is testament to the thoughtfulness with which this set has been conceived.