The 37CV505DB’s performance is a classic example of something that’s pretty much only being as good as what you feed it. In other words, while it impresses greatly for its money with HD, it sometimes struggles with standard def.
Starting with the good stuff, I was very pleasantly surprised by how crisp the final test match between England and South Africa looked in HD via Sky. The screen only has an HD Ready resolution of 1,366 x 768 rather than a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel count, yet it manages to reveal such classic HD treats as individual blades of grass in the outfield and the weave in the players’ shirts.
The fact that these sorts of details are retained despite the 1080-line source image having to be resized to a 768-line image is impressive, especially as it’s done without the introduction of loads of nasty processing artefacts and noise.
I was also pleasantly surprised on the sharpness front by how little HD images are affected by LCD’s traditional motion blur issue. In fact, I was scarcely bothered by it at all – even though, let’s not forget, I’m talking about watching a sporting event here, not some motionless news feed.
More good news with HD viewing concerns the 37CV505DB’s colour response. Notoriously tricky colours for flat TV technology such as the green of the Oval outfield, the blues of the England batsmens’ helmets, the tone of the players’ skin and the reds of the sponsorship logo all look surprisingly authentic – as well as vibrant and dynamic.
So dynamic do colours look, in fact, that they give a sense of some pretty credible black level response being on hand to give the colours a strong counterpoint to ‘bounce off’.
Shifting gear to a film, in this case ”There Will Be Blood” on Blu-ray, confirms that the 37CV505DB’s black level response is indeed pretty credible, especially for the TV’s price point. However, really dark scenes, such as the opener in the mineshaft, also reveal that the black level response is a good few notches down on the best LCD TVs out there today.
And so where parts of the picture should be a really inky black, they instead look rather cloudy and, as a result, are lacking in the sort of shadow details that give dark scenes real authenticity and a sense of scale.