If you want a smart TV with a stylish exterior, but don't really care about a bunch of other jazz, LG is hoping to coax the hard-earned pounds out of your pocket with its 32-inch LG5000 TV.
Although 32 inches is still at the smaller end of the HDTV spectrum, it's sure to appeal to people who want a sensibly priced screen, which will almost certainly replace an ageing CRT in their front room. It's available now for well under £500 online.
The exterior of the 32LG5000 is actually very pretty indeed. There are no real frills to speak of, but the black frame looks great. On the far right of the screen is a simple button to turn the TV on. There is also an LED buried beneath the plastic of the bezel. When the TV is on standby, it's red; when the set is on, it glows blue. It's a good-looking TV overall, without being too showy.
The remote control is simple and the buttons are large and sensibly located. The TV is quick to respond to the remote, which is a must for us, as pressing buttons and waiting isn't something we expect to have to deal with in the year 2008.
At the rear, the TV has a pair of HDMI inputs and a pair of Scart sockets. There's a third HDMI on the side of the TV, although it's so close to the rear panel, we aren't entirely sure why LG bothered with a side panel at all. You also get component inputs and a PC VGA connection for media centres or laptops and there are S-Video and composite inputs too.
There isn't a massive amount to say about what this TV can do. It's aimed squarely at a market that want a TV to show TV programmes. These people might want to watch some HD content as well, so that's what the 32LG5000 does.
There are a few things worth mentioning, though. It has 'AV mode', which is essentially a group of settings for the various types of material you're likely to watch. 'Cinema mode' is, unsurprisingly, aimed at films and tries to accurately reproduce white levels and colour balance. 'Sport mode' optimises primary colours, and reduces motion blur, while 'Game mode' increases the detail in dark images and dynamically adjusts the sound.
Because the TV is designed to have invisible speakers, LG needed to ensure the sound quality was as good as possible, and that speech was as clear as it could be. To this end, it has included a function called 'clear voice' that aims to improve the audibility of the spoken word. The idea here is that voices are the most important part of the sound coming out of a TV, and most people are going to want to hear what's being said on-screen.
LG also appears to understand that lighting conditions in your living room change all the time. To help improve the picture, whatever the ambient light is doing, it has included an option called 'intelligent sensor', which examines the light in a room and adjusts the backlight to match. It's a simple idea, but a pretty good one and while nothing new, it'll improve TV viewing for people who don't want to clamber around inside a TV menu.
And the menus on the 32LG5000 are very appealing. They're the new-style interface, and have beautiful logos and well-designed menus that guide you through the configuration of the TV with minimal confusion.