Finally there’s even one genuinely unusual find: a subwoofer line out so you can add your own active subwoofer to the TV should you find its built-in speakers short on bass.
As you might expect of a £900 37in LCD TV that can’t even be bothered to include a digital tuner, other interesting features are in seriously short supply. HD Ready status is, thankfully, wrapped up by compatibility with the necessary 720p and 1080i HD formats together with a sufficiently high native pixel count of 1,366 x 768. You’re also provided with an optional video noise reduction system, 3DS processing for producing a pseudo surround sound stage from the built-in speakers, and an optional 3D comb filter that should improve colour transitions.
But that’s about it. Needless to say there’s no sign of the Picture Master image processing engine employed to such good effect on higher end Hitachi TVs. With no more features left to talk about, we might as well quickly mention the 37LD8600’s remaining ‘vital statistics’. Namely an underwhelming claimed contrast ratio of 800:1, and a par for the course brightness of 500cd/m2.
Sadly the fears raised by the iffy contrast ratio are to some extent borne out by the 37LD8600’s picture performance. Dark scenes are displayed with that tell-tale greyness over black areas that lets down so many LCD TVs – a glitch that makes dark movie scenes feel a little flat and murky, and unusually dark Xbox 360 games like Splinter Cell: Double Agent actually quite hard to play without the brightness cranked to unnaturally high levels. Hmmm.
Now we’ve got off on the wrong foot, we might as well continue with the bad news and tell you that the pictures from the 37LD8600’s analogue tuner are really quite unpleasant. Movement looks smeared, colours look flat and off-key, and there’s absolutely no sense of sharpness or ‘snap’.
It’s possible that these problems have already put you off the 37LD8600. But we’d urge you not to completely give up on it yet, for there are circumstances where it’s actually not bad at all for a £900 37in TV.