Another string to the LP32’s visual bow is its sharpness. HD fodder from a Sky HD receiver, Xbox 360 and HD DVD player all looks likeably detailed and clear, with less detail being lost to smearing and blur during horizontal motion than we might have expected of such a cut-price LCD unit. There are certainly LCD TVs out there that can look sharper still, but you’ll usually have to pay much more to get them.
Turning now to recordings made from the digital tuner to the LP32’s HDD, the quality is very good in the highest quality mode. There’s a touch more noise, especially in dark areas, than you’d get with a Sky+ recording, perhaps, but it’s a very solid effort for the money. What’s more, even the two lower quality recording settings are perfectly watchable if you have to use them to save HDD space.
With the set’s pictures also coping rather better with standard definition than we might have anticipated, you’re probably starting to wonder why we described the LP32’s performance as ‘somewhat uninspiring’ earlier. There are actually two key reasons.
First, although the screen’s black levels are good in terms of the depths of blackness they can attain, dark picture areas also look distinctly hollow thanks to a rather severe shortage of the sort of shadow detailing and greyscale subtlety that we rely on to make dark scenes convincing and three-dimensional. This flaw can also make dark parts of a picture seem rather over-dominant at times.
Our second issue with the LP32 concerns its audio, which betrays quite a bit of harshness when pushed with, say, an action scene. This is caused by a lack of any real extension into either the treble or bass departments, leaving too much audio info crammed into too narrow a sonic space.
Although the AV purist in us at TrustedReviews can’t quite see past the LP32’s performance failings, it’s certainly not so bad that it doesn’t at least deserve to be considered by anyone seeking to significantly up their home cinema ante while keeping the peace with their other half.