After covering an ultra high-end Philips 42in LCD TV and a Panasonic 65in plasma TV in our previous two TV reviews, it occurred to me that it was probably about time I looked at something a bit more ‘down to earth'. Cue LG's 19LG3000: a 19in LCD TV shorn of fancy features, but with a price tag low enough to make its rivals' eyes water.
That price is £199.95 - a cost that puts it in basically the same ball park as the sort of stuff you get on your local high street from budget-focussed brand names like Goodmans and Proline. The question is, does this aggressive LG pricing make the 19LG3000 a huge bargain, or does it come at the cost of a drop in LG's standards?
Aesthetically the 19LG3000 is quite cute. Its bezel is impressively slender, and its high-gloss black finish gives it an aura of quality that's definitely a cut above the budget norm. It's perhaps a pity there's none of the fancy red colouring that so distinguishes other models in LG's current flat TV range, but as black TVs go, the 19LG3000 stands out nicely.
It goes slightly beyond the call of budget duty with its connectivity, too, by including two HDMI inputs when you might reasonably only have expected one. It's also nice to find a D-Sub PC input, two SCARTs rather than one, and a four-pin S-Video input on the TV's side.
The set also manages to cling on to a built-in Freeview tuner, complete with full 8-day electronic programme guide and a CAM slot allowing the TV to ‘enjoy' the Top Up TV subscription service should you be so inclined.
The 19LG3000's resolution of 1440 x 900, meanwhile, initially looks very good; after all, it actually goes beyond the 720/768 horizontal line level required for a TV to earn its HD Ready stripes. However, if you do the maths on 1440 x 900, it breaks down to an aspect ratio of 1.6:1, rather than the 1.78:1 level associated with true 16:9 TVs. And I've seen more than one little TV with a similar resolution produce widescreen images that look noticeably stretched in the vertical axis, with predictably distracting results. Hopefully the LG will prove more sophisticated than that…
As well as cramming in more pixels than we might have expected, the 19LG3000's spec sheet has another striking figure to boast about: a claimed contrast ratio of 15,000:1. So far as I can remember, this is the largest figure I've seen on such a small TV, so hopefully the 19LG3000 will back these numbers up by delivering an outstanding black level response.