Even though the 32LH4000 delivers marked improvements in two of LG’s previous Achilles’ Heel areas, it still struggles somewhat with a third: black level response.
For while black levels are deep and punchy enough to play a part in the picture’s extreme dynamism I talked about earlier, when tested more severely by a dark film or TV scene there’s no ignoring the blue-grey mist that hangs over everything. What’s more, the darkest parts of the picture tend to look a bit hollow thanks to the set’s inability to render shadow details as fulsomely as the best LCDs.
It doesn’t help the 32LH4000’s black level situation, either, that contrast drops off dramatically if you’re forced to watch the picture from any sort of angle whatsoever.
The slight black level issues mean one or two colour tones during dark scenes slide slightly off key too – something that’s all the more noticeable against the impressively natural tones evident during bright scenes.
Sonically, the 32LH4000 is about average. It doesn’t readily distort, even during action scenes, treble details are well-rendered and plentiful, and voices tend to stay clear even under tough conditions. But a simple lack of raw power prevents the soundstage from opening up as it should during action sequences, and a lack of bass makes explosions, gunfire and the like fail to sound fully rounded and convincing.
It also appeared that something in the TV’s processing causes enough of a delay to sometimes introduce marginal sync problems between pictures and sound while watching 1080p/24 Blu-ray sources via HDMI. If you have a decent separate audio system or your Blu-ray player carries the facility to adjust the audio output delay, then you should be able to get round this. Otherwise, it could certainly be a concern.
There are times – with bright, colourful and ideally HD fare – when the 32LH4000 produces the sort of pictures you’d feel chuffed to find on a TV costing twice as much. And it’s not a bad standard def performer either. Arguably, these strengths are already enough for a TV costing under £500. But some familiar weaknesses with black level and viewing angles together with a curious audio sync issue can’t help but take the gloss off what is, for much of the time, a quite stellar budget effort.
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