Feeding it a bright, colourful high definition signal after watching the analogue tuner, for instance, is like turning a light on in a dark room. Suddenly, for instance, the picture gets that sense of crispness and detailing we so like to see on an LCD TV. Colours, too, become a whole lot more natural and vibrant, and noise levels drop dramatically. In fact, even though the black levels still lack the depth and shadow detailing subtlety of more expensive screens, high definition movies on the 37LD8600 really can look very decent indeed – and certainly better than you’ve any right to expect for £900. Even bright Xbox 360 games that don’t go big on dark scenes, such as Kameo or Test Drive Unlimited, can be a pleasure to behold.
With ‘mid-ground’ sources like a Sky+ box or DVD player, the 37LD8600’s performance thankfully lies nearer the impressiveness seen with HD than the rubbish seen with the analogue tuner. Sure, the picture looks softer and less vibrant, but it’s still pretty easy on the eye – at least so long as you steer clear of some of the more grubby looking digital channels.
We have to say that the discovery of the subwoofer line out among the 37LD8600’s connections had us thinking that maybe its built-in speakers wouldn’t be up to much. But actually, although hardly ‘hi-fi’, they’re rather better than you might expect of such a cheap TV. Certainly we wouldn’t anticipate that many people who buy one will feel particularly driven to giving the subwoofer jack a work out.
How appealing the 37LD8600 is depends entirely on who you are – or rather, what you watch. If you like a diet of dark horror movies, or will likely end up mostly watching the analogue tuner, we’d recommend that you steer well clear. But if you’re looking for a perfectly decent HD picture that also holds up quite nicely with strong Sky Digital or digital cable broadcasts, it’s certainly worth considering. Especially if you’d originally thought your £900 budget would only stretch to a 32in set.