As you’d probably expect of such an affordable 32in LCD TV, the 32LG5000’s native resolution is ‘only’ an HD Ready 1,366 x 768 rather than a full HD 1,920 x 1,080. But this shouldn’t be a massive problem on a screen as small as 32in provided the TV’s processing is good enough to downscale 1080-line HD sources to the LG’s lower resolution without introducing too much video noise.
The processing responsible for this is the latest version of LG’s proprietary XD Engine system, designed, like so many rival systems, to improve everything from colour and contrast to fine detailing and motion handling.
Although XD Engine hasn’t exactly wowed us to date in the same way the very best image processors – like Philips’ Perfect Pixel Engine – have wowed us, it’s consistently been solid, so we certainly feel comfortable hoping for the best from it today.
The big two Korean brands have a real knack for playing the TV ‘numbers game’ to perfection – a knack that can be seen on the 32LG5000 in the form of a remarkable, quite possibly outlandish contrast ratio claim of 50,000:1.
Obviously this figure is only achievable with the help of a dynamic backlight system, meaning that you have to trade some brightness during dark scenes in return for – hopefully – superior black levels. But provided the adjustments in brightness as the backlight shifts through its gears aren’t too obvious, there’s no reason why a dynamic contrast system can’t play a part in producing a very likeable picture overall.
Other notable strings to the 32LG5000’s bow include a digital tuner with all the usual accoutrements, a dedicated Game mode which tweaks the TV’s processing to reduce its response time, noise reduction techniques, and finally a new light sensing system that can reduce the picture’s brightness if the TV detects low ambient light levels in your room.
How good the 32LG5000’s pictures are is directly connected to how much movement there is in what you’re watching. With something relatively static, like a chat show or studio news broadcast, the set’s image quality can be very likeable indeed. Detail levels, for instance, are impressive with HD and standard definition alike, pointing to some solid progress in the rescaling part of LG’s XD Engine system.
Colours are enjoyably intense during a play of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 on the Xbox 360 too, yet tones are also pleasingly natural when watching more ‘naturalistic’ video footage, such as a standard def ITV drama.