LG 37LE5900 - Black Level Woes and Verdict

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One really great touch of the TruMotion system, though, is the way LG now apes Samsung in allowing you to adjust the extent to which the motion processing affects judder and blur individually. We’d strongly recommend that you experiment with these settings if you opt to leave the TruMotion system in play with either film or normal TV viewing.


The TV’s motion clarity reduces markedly when you switch to standard definition, though, resulting in pictures than can look consistently softer than we’d like them too – though on the upside, this softness does tend to hide the noise and MPEG mess that can be seen with many standard def Freeview broadcasts.


Colours don’t look quite as rich or natural with standard definition either, though they’re still acceptable.


Unfortunately, however, there’s one thing about the 37LE5900’s picture performance that we actually struggle to find acceptable, and that’s backlight inconsistency.


If you watch dark scenes on the TV in low light conditions, you can’t possibly fail to notice patches of extra brightness in the picture. We spotted no less than four separate patches of backlight inconsistency, and these are severe enough to actually reduce the TV’s overall black level response, as well as directly distracting you from what you’re watching.


Thinking about this, it might actually be the pretty average black level response of the 37LE5900 that prevents us from seeing issues with the local dimming system as clearly as we did with the 42LE7900. But apart from this advantage, the grey look to dark picture areas is obviously not a great thing, making dark scenes look milky and short of detail – even before you’ve also taken the distracting lighting unevenness into account.


You can, of course, reduce both the grey clouding and backlight inconsistency problems if you really push down the set’s backlight, brightness and contrast settings. But you have to make the picture almost completely dark before the problem disappears completely.


The 37LE5900’s ultra-thin design immediately raises suspicions that it won’t be anything special in the audio department. But actually it’s marginally better than we might have expected, coping well enough with ordinary ‘daytime TV’ style broadcasts, and at least remaining intelligible during raucous action movie sequences, despite a predictable lack of bass extension.

Verdict


After a pretty consistent run of likeable and affordable screens from LG, the 37LE5900 comes as a disappointment. It’s great on features and connections, and reasonably pretty for its money. Plus we guess people with a really bright viewing room who don’t watch many films might not be too troubled too badly by the 37LE5900’s fairly major contrast woes. But even if this pretty exacting set of circumstances does describe you, wouldn’t you rather buy a different 37in TV with pictures that didn’t collapse every time you turned the lights off?

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