That 1000:1 contrast ratio claim seems more than mere idle boasting too, as the set delivers dark scenes bothered impressively little by the low-contrast greyness common to affordable LCD TVs. Just the job for overwhelmingly dark movies like Scream.
Next to impress is the picture’s sharpness, as all the subtle textures in the jungle levels of Ghost Recon on the Xbox 360 or a good high definition movie like Spider-Man 2 (recorded in HD from Sky’s HD service) are delivered with decent precision and without the accompaniment of distracting amounts of video noise. What’s more, the picture retains its crispness better than most budget models when there’s lots of motion to contend with, indicating one of the LCD world’s better response times.
Our concerns about the picture start with the way that although dark scenes certainly look black, they also look rather empty and flat thanks to a shortage of greyscaling subtlety. We found the pictures from the digital tuner rather more noisy than we’d like too, and colours, while quite natural for most of the time, do occasionally slip into over-ripeness during darker scenes.
The results described so far are with ‘live’ viewing. When it comes to the 32LDY1’s HDD recording capabilities, the pictures when using the top-quality ‘HQ’ mode are pretty good. A slightly processed look means they’re not completely indistinguishable from the original broadcasts as we often find with external HDD PVRs, but we’d say they’re certainly good enough for an integrated product like this.
We’d advise against using anything lower in quality than the top two recording setting options unless you’re truly desperate for space, though, since the amount of video noise they introduce makes them really quite unpleasant to watch.
Perhaps inevitably considering its speakers are attached to the TV’s rear, the 32LDY1’s sound appears slightly repressed initially. But actually the longer we lived with the set the more we started to prefer its more subtle, detailed and surprisingly rich approach over the brasher efforts of most 32in LCD rivals.
If you just happen to be in the market for both a PVR and a TV, the 32LDY1 certainly deserves your attention, as it manages to combine its unusual feature combination with a very decent all round performance. Just bear in mind that you can get better PVR and TV performances if you don’t mind buying them separately.