The XD Engine works on a variety of image elements, including colour toning/saturation, black level response, motion crispness, and general sharpness levels, while Faroudja’s DCDi system is intended to reduce the jaggedness that can appear around contoured edges on flat TVs. Systems similar to the XD Engine are 10-a-penny now, but few rivals – especially at the 37LF66’s kind of price level – bother with Faroudja as well.
Although the XD Engine goes about the majority of its business automatically, whether you like it or not, it does thoughtfully place one or two elements in your hands, such as how much noise reduction you want it to apply, and some pretty sophisticated colour processing applications.
One final point about the 37LF66 we’re happy to spot on so cheap a 37in TV is an automatic backlight system, whereby the image’s brightness automatically dims when dark image content is detected, in a bid to produce deeper black levels. Thanks to this system, the 37LF66 is reckoned to produce a contrast ratio of 5,000:1 that compares very well indeed with the figures of 1,200:1 or less commonly experienced on ‘budget’ models.
Unfortunately, though, our experience of the 37LF66 in action merely proves just how unreliable as a selling point contrast ratio figures really are. For rather than the inky blacks we were hoping to see, we’re left staring at the all-too-familiar sight of a pall of greyness hanging over dark scenes. This results in the obscuration of background details, a reduction in image depth, and one or two extra wrinkles for your face as you’re forced to squint through the murk during dark scenes to try and make out what’s going on. During the sequence in ”Kill Bill Volume 2”, for instance, where the Bride is buried alive, the whole in-coffin sequence just looks like an indeterminate grey mush rather than a terrifyingly intense if entirely preposterous moment of movie genius.
Black level shortcomings also tend to cause some flattening of colour tones during dark scenes, and this holds true for the 37LF66. And so while colours during bright scenes like Captain Jack’s famous first ‘docking’ in the ”Pirates of the Caribbean” look impressively rich and fulsomely saturated, during dark scenes like those where the Black Pearl attacks the fort at night various tones – but especially skin tones – slip between looking over-ripe or pallid, with little rhyme or reason.
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