If there’s one thing 2011 has shown us so far, it’s that we really aren’t bothered about having 3D on 32in TVs. Even when that 3D is done brilliantly well, as with Panasonic’s 32DT30, 32in is just too small to serve up useful 3D thrills - unless, perhaps, you’re an avid game player in a small room.
With this in mind, for us LG’s new 32LV550T 32in TV gets off to a grand start by NOT carrying 3D. Especially since this lack of 3D allows it to tick a much more important box on our 32in TV wish list: value. For impressively, the 32LV550T delivers edge LED LCD lighting, a fully fledged Smart TV system, picture controls galore and loads of multimedia playback options for just £500.
Actually, it’s not a bad picture performer either - but we’ll get into that later. Right now we should start where your experience with the 32LV550T would start: with its looks. And the 32LV550T is a chip off the reliably attractive old LG block in this respect, with its appealing high-gloss finish and subtle transparent outer trim. It’s not, however, as overtly stylish or original as some previous LG models have been, which is a little disappointing.
Where the 32LV550T really gets our attention is with its connections. The amount of options it carries gives many flagship TVs a run for their money, with highlights including four HDMIs, two USB ports, a LAN socket, a D-Sub PC input, and even an RS-232C port to support integration of the TV into a wider, centrally controlled home network.
What’s more, the multimedia features enabled by these ports are strikingly extensive. The USBs can play back a wide variety of files from USB storage devices, taking in movies and music as well as JPEG photos. The LAN port can stream in the same wealth of files from PCs, with the 32LV550T going a step further than other brands of TV by offering compatibility with the Plex multimedia platform, which seeks to provide a more intuitive and well organised ‘front end’ to your file playback.
The USBs can additionally be used to make the TV wi-fi ready via an optional extra dongle, while the LAN port doubles up as the portal to what’s arguably the 32LV550T’s headline feature: its Smart TV functionality.
This new (for 2011) Smart TV system is a considerable advance from LG’s NetCast 2010 online service. For one thing, the Smart TV features are now accessed by a much more useful ‘header’ screen, which organises the extensive online services - and the TV’s other AV sources, come to that - very well, via extensive use of easy to follow icons.