LG 37LH7000 television

Dressed in black with a red tint to its undercarriage, this is LG’s successful follow-up to the popular Scarlet series of LCD TVs from last year.

Gone is the red-clad back that made those screens so distinctive, but in its place is a host of new features packed into a 52mm-thin screen that make this 37-incher a great value all-rounder.

There is an upgrade set to the LG 37LH7000 that you shouldn’t ignore. For broadly the same price, LG’s otherwise identical 37LF7700 adds a Freesat HD tuner that can – with an installation of a satellite dish on your house – receive the high-definition BBC HD and ITV HD channels as well as a multitude of other digital TV and radio channels.

But even if you’re happy with Freeview pictures, there is an unusual feature that could help you watch in high definition even if you don’t have a Blu-ray player, a Xbox 360 or a PS3.

It centres on the 37LH7000’s exhaustive connectivity, the star of which is its USB port. Insert a memory stick – or even attach a hard drive – containing digital files from a PC or Mac and the 37LH7000 turns into a media savvy screen.

A quite superb onscreen interface presents boxed icons for all of its main features, which make it easy to inspect whatever is coming through that USB slot. MP3 music and JPEG photos are no problem, while the 37LH7000 can – almost uniquely – play VOB, MOV (Quicktime), MKV and DivX HD video files – alongside more usual filetypes such as AVI and MPG. Thumbnails of the video files are nicely displayed and playback, complete with basic fast-forwarding and rewinding, is faultless (though quality will obviously depend on the quality and resolution of the video files you use).

For those who intend to feed the 37LH7000 a more steady diet of high definition, there are plenty of opportunities. Four HDMI inputs are supplied on the rear, as well as a set of component video inputs, which takes the HD-capable port count to an impressive six, though the design is not without its faults. Those HDMI inputs are clustered around the USB port on the set’s rear and not recessed nearly enough, which could make wall-mounting a challenge. It’s perfectly possible to do, but once all the ins and outs and in place, the 37LH7000 is considerably deeper than its 52mm screen depth might suggest.

At least a USB extension cable is supplied to make swapping between USB sticks a less laborious process, though it’s something of a compromise.

Like a lot of LG’s screens for 2009, the 37LH7000 can also receive MP3 and JPEG files sent from a mobile phone via Bluetooth. Easy to operate and increasingly useful given the quality of new phones’ built-in cameras, this clever connectivity also gives you the chance to use wireless Bluetooth headphones while watching TV. Nevertheless, Bluetooth is hardly a dealmaker on this Full HD 1080p screen.

On the contrary, picture quality from Blu-ray is every bit a reason to buy the 37LH7000, with its almost eerily detailed pictures replete with accurate colours and acceptable contrast.

It’s also a smooth image. That’s down to the set’s TruMotion100Hz feature that doubles the scan rate of video, though it can’t remove every flicker and blur from lingering camera pans.

With Freeview image quality reasonable despite some jagged edges, the only real disappointment on the 37LH7000 is its speakers, which fail to supply any kind of quality even with SRS TruSurround XT activated.

Verdict

With a few exceptions this is a well thought-out and superb value LCD TV that’s versatile enough for any living room. Its Bluetooth and USB stick tomfoolery will attract many, but it’s Blu-ray display where this 37-incher truly impresses.


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