Especially since you really don’t have to work too hard anyway to get the 32LD9700 producing a truly delightful picture. This is one TV that really does know how to make an outstanding first impression, with the intense sharpness and clarity of its pictures snagging our eyes right away and having us positively purring at how truly ‘high definition’ HD sources like our Xbox 360 and Sky HD receiver look. For instance, the detail evident during a play of the Xbox 360 title Crackdown enabled us to see further across the city from our vantage point atop the Agency tower than is possible with the vast majority of LCD rivals.
The HD showing of England, um, ‘pummelling’ Andorra 3-0 on Sky HD the other night, meanwhile, proved that the 32LD9700 is also capable of retaining its clarity better than most (though not perfectly) when there’s fast motion around.
As a further testament to this early demonstration of Hitachi’s Picture Master processing’s credentials, standard definition also looks about as crisp and even as it does on Philips’ Pixel Plus 3 HD sets – and you can’t really ask for more than that.
Yet more immediate impact comes with the 32LD9700’s colour range. It can certainly do vibrant like practically every LCD TV these days; the rich hues of the excellent Casino Royale Blu-ray disc look positively radiant. But more tellingly it can also do subtle, picking out with accuracy, for instance, the very difficult skin tones evident as Superman flies Lois Lane over Metropolis at night in Superman Returns. It’s canny, too, at rendering even the finest of colour blends, allowing pictures to look more believable and three-dimensional.
The Lois Lane flight scene in Superman Returns also shows the 32LD9700 to be a good black level performer, with less of the customary LCD greyness and more of the oft-lacking background shadow detailing.
If you want to know what could be better with this TV, in an ideal world the 32LD9700’s black levels would be even deeper; they certainly aren’t as assured as those of Philips’ high-end Cineos LCDs, for instance. Plus it really is possible to make a bit of a mess of things if you tinker too much with some of the TV’s endless picture tweaks without knowing what you’re doing. And finally, the TV’s sonics rather let its pictures down by not having enough of a frequency range – especially where bass is concerned – to rise comfortably to the challenges posed by a healthy action scene.
We guess it’s possible that the 32LD9700’s rather average audio might just put a few people off buying one. But we wouldn’t be among them. So far as we’re concerned, just being able to get 32in of LCD pictures this good for the criminally low price of £642.01 is more than enough to win us over.