Family trees don’t always run in perfectly straight lines. But while the twists and turns of real life often result from personal weaknesses or a stroke of fate, the confusion in TV-manufacturer LG’s family tree seems to be pure coincidence. Whatever the cause may be, the fact is: You cannot tell where LH-series TVs fit in the family simply from their model numbers. So, the top model in the 32-inch class is not the LG 32 LH 7000, but the LG 32 LH 5000. But: The LH 7000 series comes just below and still belongs at the high end of the manufacturer’s portfolio. Despite this, the TVs aren’t overly expensive: For the LG 32 LH 7000, the manufacturer’s recommended retail price is 700 GBP in the United Kingdom. Televisions.com runs through what LG offers for that price, along with what you can find in the competition.
With the old 4:3-format CRT screens, the standard screen size was 28 inches (70 centimeters). The natural successor to this in the widescreen era is the 32-inch (81-centimeter) screen – the height of the screen is comparable, and the extra space taken up by the 16:9-format screen was often occupied by side-mounted speakers anyway. The 32-inchers therefore enjoy great popularity, and it’s no wonder that this is the class in which manufacturers and retailers choose to hold their bitterest of price-wars.
Those viewing this TV from normal living-room distances won’t be able to distinguish the Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). For the human eye, the finest details will simply blur at a distance of more than two meters. But the extra helping of sharpness won’t do any harm, either: Current flat-panel TVs are ideal for use as an extra-large computer monitor or as a monitor for video editing. Here, the user sits significantly closer to the screen. Of course, all of this relates only to high-definition video sources, such as Blu-ray discs or HD camcorders. With traditional PAL-format TV or conventional DVDs, the source itself is limited to a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels. You can find details on the ideal viewing distance and optimal screen size in our “TV Buying Guide”.
Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have always dominated the 32-inch class – it’s no wonder, therefore, that LG uses LCD in the 32 LH 7000. Cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) shine through the LCD screen in order to produce a visible image.
LCDs have two fundamental weaknesses: Firstly, the CCFLs also shine when the TV is displaying dark images – nighttime scenes always therefore look a little milky. Another fundamental weakness of LCD models will also be visible here, although less dramatically than in larger screens: The picture quality depends strongly on viewing angle. To make sure we’re not giving the wrong impression: In earlier generations of LCD TVs, these problems were much more pronounced and often irritating. While the weaknesses do still exist today, manufacturers have worked hard in the last few years to minimize them.
LG takes these efforts even further: Using 100-hertz “TruMotion” technology, the 32 LH 7000 aims to display the edges of moving objects more clearly and precisely. Blu-ray movies should appear at the original movie frame-rate thanks to “24p Real Cinema”, and the “Intelligent Sensor II” attempts to adjust the picture settings automatically to suit the ambient illumination.
In the Stone Age of television, the video recorder was the viewer’s savior whenever nothing interesting was on. These days, many users store multimedia files on their PCs – video clips, digital photos, or music. And with the LH 7000-series TVs, these files needn’t simply gather dust on the hard disk: If you copy them onto a USB stick, you can play them back on the TV.
This feature of the LG is extraordinarily versatile: The TV accepts videos in DivX versions 3.11 to 6 (also in HD), XviD, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 (H.264, AVC). It also plays back JPEG photos and MP3 music files, according to the manufacturer. And there’s a racy extra for mobile phone users: Using Bluetooth, 7000-series LG TVs can also access photos and music wirelessly from certain models of phone. Some competing models (see below) can access multimedia across a PC network – the LG 32 LH 7000 must admit defeat in this discipline.
The manufacturer paints a confusing picture when it comes to what type of signals the LG 32 LH 7000 can and cannot receive. So here are the facts: The LG 32 LH 7000 has tuners for analog cable, DVB-T, and digital cable TV (DVB-C). Wherever broadcasts exist, it will also receive both digital standards in HDTV. But LG doesn’t mention the tuner’s digital-cable capabilities in every country – this is because the TVs in the LH 7000 series lack support for the forthcoming CI Plus encryption standard. As a result, it’s impossible to say for certain which channels the TV will continue to receive in the future in some EU countries.
Customers that want to use DVB-C should set the TV’s location to Sweden or Finland during installation – the on-screen menu’s language setting is independent of the TV’s location. In the United Kingdom’s digital cable network, you would only receive the basic channels. In any case, however, Virgin Media forbids U.K. customers to attach third-party equipment to the cable network, so cable customers will still have to live with a set-top box. Satellite-TV viewers needn’t worry about all of this: They’ll always need a set-top box.
There’s much less confusion surrounding the analog inputs: Through these, the TV accepts video signals in the PAL, Secam, and NTSC formats – that is, in every analog format that is (or was) in use worldwide.
This TV’s bigger brothers sport a slender design, and therefore sacrifice the space needed for a side-mounted connections panel. The 32-inch model, however, doesn’t adhere to the diet, and its indulgences benefit the buyer – unlike the larger models in the LH 7000 series, the LG 32 LH 7000 has a side-mounted S-Video connection for camcorders.
All of the other connections correspond to those of the larger models: LG’s 32 LH 7000 is well equipped for modern AV requirements, providing four HDMI inputs for devices such as Blu-ray players, satellite-TV receivers, and games consoles. The two Scart sockets are, in theory, sufficient for conventional video equipment, but only one supports RGB, and neither supports S-Video.
There’s also a cinch socket for composite video signals, as well as a headphone output. If you’ve got a stereo Bluetooth headset for your mobile phone, you can use it to listen to the TV’s sound wirelessly.
In the professional sector and in some home-theaters, the inconspicuous RS-232 connection on the TV’s rear connections panel might come in handy, allows users to control the TV from a PC remotely via a cable.
LG’s website also offers a disappointing lack of clarity when it comes to the TV’s connectivity. The information at Televisions.com is based on telephone inquiries with LG’s product management and on our team’s practical experience with other LG TVs.
Alternative models: A brief comparison
Panasonic TX-L 32 S 10 B
The S-series is Panasonic’s current entry-level offering. Nevertheless, the S 10 B offers Full HD resolution. The tuner, however, is less flexible than that of the LG: It only accepts DVB-T and analog cable TV. Those opting for this Panasonic will also have to live without the LG’s 100-hertz technology. With multimedia, too, buyers of this Panasonic will have to make some compromises: The TV has an SD/SDHC-card reader that plays back JPEG photos and AVCHD videos – but that’s it.
Philips 32 PFL 5604 H
The 32 PFL 5604 H from Philips costs just 150 GBP less than the LG 32 LH 7000. This might come as a surprise – after all, Philips’ 5000 series is intended for the upper entry-level market, while LG’s LH 7000 series is one of the company top selections, and 150 GBP doesn’t seem like that big a difference. In practice, the Dutch and Korean models only differ in certain details, where the manufacturers have emphasized different aspects of the feature sets.
The Philips’ tuner, for example, even surpasses that of the LG: Thanks to CI Plus technology, the 32 PFL 5604 is able to receive digital cable TV using the new encryption standard without needing a set-top box. Analog cable TV and DVB-T are also welcome here, the latter also in HD resolution.
But the Dutch TV must acknowledge defeat when it comes to multimedia: The USB socket lacks some of the versatility seen in the LG. From a USB stick, the Philips can play back music files (MP3- or LPCM-format), photos (JPEG), and video clips (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC), but does not support DivX. Also, its screen only runs at 50 hertz, meaning fast motion might appear blurred.
The three HDMI inputs are one fewer in number than the LG offers, but will probably suffice in many cases. On the plus side, both Scart sockets on the Philips are RGB-capable. What’s more, the 32 PFL 5604 H’s side connections panel also provides an S-Video input for camcorders.
Samsung LE 32 B 550
Samsung also offers only 50-hertz technology in this 32-inch (81-centimeter) TV. The LE 32 B 550’s tuner accepts digital cable signals, but – like the LG – lacks support for CI Plus. In other words: In countries that use CI Plus to control access to cable networks, users will still need an external receiver. If the network operators use the older CI technology, the TV should be able to receive encrypted channels. It’s still not clear, however, how long this will remain the case. Like the LG (and almost all other current flat-panel TVs), the LE 32 B 550 also supports DVB-T and analog cable.
The multimedia capabilities of this Samsung largely resemble those of its fellow countryman, the LG: Photos, videos, and music will all play back from USB sticks. There is an equal number of HDMI inputs, and the Scart sockets, too, offer the same configuration in both TVs – two sockets, one of which supports RGB, and neither of which supports S-Video. There’s sadly no Mini-DIN socket for S-Video signals, and the headphone socket is inconveniently positioned on the rear of the unit.
Sony KDL-32 V 5500
Sony has just reduced its recommended pricing. This is a very aggressive move: Televisions.com has already testified to the excellent picture quality of the Sony KDL-52 V 5500, a larger model in the same series Not only movies, but also typical sports programs looked more than decent on the KDL-52 V 5500 – despite the screen only running at 50 hertz.
Like the Philips, this Sony supports CI Plus and will therefore continue to be able to display digital cable channels for some time into the future. The TV’s tuner also accepts DVB-T and analog cable TV. Where high-definition digital TV broadcasts exist, the Sony will also display these. The Sony lacks any support for satellite signals, however, and will therefore need an external receiver – as will the LG.
This Sony does, on the other hand, offer the network capabilities that the LG lacks: The 32 V 5500 can access video, audio, and photo files across a PC network – as well as from a USB stick. Unlike the LG, however, this Sony cannot display the various versions of DivX. To allow the Sony to play back multimedia files from a PC network, one of the connected PCs must be running suitable DLNA-server software.
Those wanting to access the Internet can do so on the KDL-32 V 5500: If you connect the Sony up to a router with an Internet connection, the “AppliCast” function can access various Internet news tickers (“RSS Feeds”), which then display in small windows on the TV’s screen. This doesn’t have to be just text; if the feeds contain images, the TV displays these too.
In terms of connectivity, this Sony is clearly ahead: Its four HDMI inputs match the number present on the LG, and the two Scart sockets are both RGB-capable, although neither supports S-Video. The side of the TV provides a composite input (cinch) and an S-Video input (Mini-DIN), as well as a headphone socket.
Toshiba 32 RV 635 D B
In the 32-inch class, Japanese company Toshiba makes do without 100-hertz technology. This RV 635 D-series model is the manufacturer’s most expensive 32-incher, and although it costs 150 GBP less than the LG, its feature set is anything but spartan.
The biggest difference between the Korean and Japanese models is that this screen runs at just 50 hertz. In addition, Toshiba’s “Resolution +” detail-enhancer is supposed to provide optimal up-scaling of pictures from the traditional PAL format to the screen’s Full HD pixel raster. By improving the quality of up-scaling, the TV aims to convey a greater impression of sharpness. Extended setup options on the Toshiba promise perfectionists the opportunity to calibrate the TV for optimal playback.
The tuners are largely identical: The Toshiba accepts analog TV, DVB-T, and digital cable TV, but does not support CI Plus, so it’ll need a separate receiver in order to display some encrypted cable channels.
The USB connection is less versatile than that of the LG: Only JPEG photos will play back from USB memory sticks. The 32 RV 635 makes up for this with its connectivity: Of its two Scart sockets, one is RGB capable, the other S-Video-capable, and the Toshiba – like the LG – has four HDMI inputs. The easily accessible, full set of side-mounted connections includes cinch and Mini-DIN sockets for composite and S-Video signals from camcorders, as well as a headphone output.
The “Quick HDMI” feature will benefit those using HDMI playback devices: When a source device turns on, the TV carries out the handshake process in the background, reducing the time taken to switch between signals to just half of that taken by other TVs.
About our product previews
Experienced experts produce these product preview pages using manufacturers’ specifications, along with test data we’ve produced for other models and subjective assessments of the product’s market chances.
We comprehensively research the information we use, but data of this kind quickly becomes out of date as a result of day-to-day variations in the market and the appearance of new products. The information in our own tests is more reliable, especially statements relating to quality or comparisons with other TVs.
Since we cannot test every single device, however, and because we’re interested in your opinion, we’re grateful to receive any user ratings or user opinions for this TV – especially if you own the model yourself, but also if this preview provided enough information for you to form your own judgment.
Dimensions & Weight Details
- Dimensions & Weight DetailsPanel with stand – 80.3 cm x 28.4 cm x 63.2 cm x 13.5 kg
- Input Video Formats480 i/p, 576 i/p, 720p, 1080 i/p
Connector Type1 x CI slot
1 x RF In
1 x AV In
1 x Full Scart(TV out)
1 x Half Scart(MNT/DTV Out)
1 x Component in (Y,Pb,Pr) Audio (480i/480p/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p)- 1080p : 60p/50p
1 x Digital Audio Out(Optical)
4 x HDMI/HDCP Ver. 1.3 Deep Color (480p/576p/720p/1080i/1080p)- 1 Port PC Mode
1 x RGB In (D-sub 15pin) – PC
1 x PC Audio Input
1 x RS-232C (Control / SVC)(For Service & Control)
1 x USB (JPEG/MP3/Divx)
1 x Headphone out
- Image Contrast Ratio80000:1
- Brightness500 cd/m2
- Diagonal Size32″ – widescreen
- Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep0.1 Watt
- Power Consumption Operational150 Watt
- Depth7.5 cm
- Height58.4 cm
- Weight11.6 kg
- Width80.3 cm
- Digital Television CertificationHD-Ready 1080p
Digital TV Tuner
- Digital TV Tuneranalog