Korean company LG wasn’t always called LG: For a long time, it was known as “Lucky Goldstar”. Then, as the company made its leap to the Western market, it began offering devices under the name “Goldstar”. The consumer-electronics division now calls itself LG Electronics, and the letters ‘L’ and ‘G’ no longer – officially – have anything to do with the company’s origins. Instead, the name is said to come from the saying: “Life’s Good”.
This erratic naming history seems to have spread to the manufacturer’s TV catalog. If you look at the product range from other companies, you’ll notice that the top model has the highest model number. Occasionally, it’s the other way around: Then, the “number 1” product is the star of the company’s selection. But with LG’s TVs, there are various ranges that all begin with “LH”: LH 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 7000. You’ll never guess which one includes the top models: It’s the 5000 series.
But: The LH 7000 series comes straight after it, and still belongs at the higher end of the manufacturer’s portfolio. Still, the TVs aren’t overly expensive: For the LG 37 LH 7000, the manufacturer’s recommended retail price is 900 GBP in the United Kingdom. This article looks at the features you get for that price – and what the competition’s got on the menu as an alternative.
With a 37-inch (94-centimeter) screen-diagonal, this LG is compact and would sit comfortably in many living-room wall units. The LCD TV, like almost all current TVs of its type, offers the “Full HD” resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
Given the screen’s size, this resolution isn’t absolutely necessary in a normal living-room situation – from distances of more than two meters, the human eye will cease to distinguish the picture’s finest details. But the extra sharpness won’t do any harm, either: Current flat-panel TVs are also suitable for use as an XXL computer monitor or for video editing applications – and then, every detail counts. You can find details on the ideal viewing distance and optimal screen size in our “TV Buying Guide”.
The LG 37 LH 7000 uses a liquid-crystal display (LCD). The image becomes visible thanks to a backlight composed of cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL). The result: Some residual illumination always shines through the screen, leaving nighttime scenes looking milky. Even though LCDs have improved significantly in recent years, plasma TVs continue to offer deeper blacks. But plasma TVs do not offer Full HD in the 37-inch class.
Customers wavering between LCD and plasma in this size class must therefore take the following into account: For typical TV and home-theater use, a plasma screen is more attractive, and the lack of detail will not be visible from the normal couch distance. Anyone actually planning to use the TV as a large PC monitor, on the other hand, or to sit very close to the screen, will be better off with a Full HD – that is, with an LCD – as they’ll benefit from the higher level of detail this resolution offers. Another fundamental weakness of LCD models will affect screens of this size less dramatically than it will larger ones, but will nevertheless be visible: The picture quality depends strongly on viewing angle.
Using 100-hertz “TruMotion” technology, the LG 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.
With the continuing digitalization of consumer electronics, and with ever more powerful computers on the market, it’s becoming easier and easier for consumers to produce and store high-quality videos, photos, and music. But where can they play them back? If you have a model from this series, there’s an easy answer: from a USB stick, on the TV.
The LH series is extraordinarily versatile: According to the manufacturer, 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 will also play back JPEG photos and MP3 music files.
There’s a racy extra for mobile phone users: Using Bluetooth, 7000-series LGs can also access photos and music wirelessly from certain models of phone. While these talents are certainly not to be taken for granted, some rivals (see below) can optionally connect to a PC network and play back videos and music from a PC in another room. Here the LG must admit defeat, and the Internet, too, is beyond the LH 7000’s capabilities.
LG Electronics hasn’t made it easy for potential buyers to find out what the TV can actually do. If you consult LG’s U.K. website, the company only mentions tuners for analog and DVB-T (Freeview). The latter is also accepted in high-definition, where broadcasts exist. If, however, you download the TV’s data sheet from the same website, you’ll also see mention of a digital cable tuner.
The answer to the riddle: The digital, HDTV-capable cable tuner in the LH 7000 doesn’t support the forthcoming CI Plus encryption standard. The manufacturer does not, therefore, advertize the digital cable capabilities – after all, in some EU countries, it’s not possible to say which channels will continue to be available for a significant period of time.
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,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 need a set-top box in any case. 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’s currently in use worldwide, or was.
It’s the golden rule among product designers: “Form follows function”. If the rule isn’t properly applied, the result will look something like the connections panel on LG’s LH 7000 series. In favor of slender looks, the Korean manufacturers have chosen to forgo a side-mounted connections panel – all of the sockets are on the back of the unit. This isn’t a problem for devices like video recorders or satellite TV receivers – usually, these remain constantly connected to the TV.
It does become irritating, however, if the connections for camcorders or digital cameras are also behind the screen. At least LCD TVs are very light, and can therefore be moved easily by one person – unlike the bulky CRT TVs that were common until fairly recently. Still, there’s a good reason why most competing models have a connections panel on their front or side.
LG’s 37 LH 7000 series 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. You cannot therefore connect S-VHS recorders to the TV using the optimal connection. This wouldn’t normally be so bad, but most users do rely on an S-Video input for camcorders, in the form of a Mini-DIN socket. But, it’s the same story here: Missing.
There is at least a cinch socket for composite video, but, again, only on the back of the TV. Here, with a bit of rummaging around, the user will also find a headphone output. At least there is one – models from 2008 didn’t have one at all. If you’ve got a stereo Bluetooth headset for your mobile phone, you can forget about scrambling around behind the TV and simply listen to the TV’s sound wirelessly. In the professional sector and in some home-theaters, the inconspicuous RS-232 PC connection on the TV’s rear connections panel might come in handy. This allows remote control of the TV via a cable.
Once again, the LG website and data sheets disagree on what sockets the TV offers. 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 37 S 10 B
The S series is the current entry-level series from this Japanese manufacturer. The company philosophy: the best possible product for the money, and no frills. So, Panasonic also provides its LCD models with Full HD resolution. The TX-L 37 S 10 B’s tuner, however, only accepts DVB-T and analog cable. Those opting for this Panasonic will have to live without the LG’s 100-hertz technology.
In terms of multimedia too, the Japanese company politely allows the competition to take the lead: The L 37 S 10 B has an SD/SDHC-card reader that accepts photos in JPEG format, as well as AVCHD videos – but that’s it.
Panasonic TX-P 37 X 10 B
This plasma display is around 200 GBP cheaper than the LG. As you’d expect, therefore, the customer must accept some compromises in terms of features – but these aren’t actually that dramatic. For a start, the panel can only display 1024 x 720 pixels. This is clearly far removed from the Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution of the LG – and of all the competing models listed here.
But, as we’ve already discussed with the LG, the viewer will not be able to make out the finest details of a Full HD picture from the usual couch distance. Unless you’re planning to use the screen for video editing or as a PC monitor, therefore, this model offers a picture whose quality is stable for all viewing angles – and for a budget price. It’s also supposed to be free of flicker, thanks to 100-hertz technology.
The TX-P 37 X 10 B’s tuner is standard: Besides analog cable TV, it only receives DVB-T. The three HDMI sockets and two Scart sockets should suffice for everyday TV viewing. In terms of multimedia, the TX-P 37 X 10 B offers virtually nothing. It does, however, at least, display JPEG photos from SD memory cards.
Philips 37 PFL 5604 H
The 5000 series belongs to Dutch manufacturer Philips’ upper entry-level class. The recommended price for the 37-inch model in the series lies about 200 GBP below that of the LG. But is it fair to compare the upper entry-level from Philips with the second best model in LG’s range? Absolutely.
In fact, the Philips’ tuner even surpasses that of the LG: Thanks to CI Plus technology, the 37 PFL 5604 is able to receive digital cable TV without 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 of that in the LG. From a USB stick, the TV 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. Its screen only runs at 50 hertz, so fast motion might appear blurred.
The three HDMI inputs are one fewer 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 37 PFL 5604 H’s side connections panel also provides an S-Video input for camcorders.
LCD TV Sony KDL-37 V 5500
Sony has just reduced the prices for a number of its TVs. It’s not only LG that will feel the pressure after this move: Although the Sony’s screen runs at only 50 hertz, Televisions.com has already acknowledged the excellent picture quality of a larger model in this series, the KDL-52 V 5500. This applied not only to movies, but also to typical sports broadcasts, which looked more than passable on the KDL-52 V 5500.
The Sony’s tuner is also superior to that of the LG: It supports analog cable as well as the newer DVB-T and digital cable standards – both also in HD. But the Sony supports CI Plus, and will therefore continue to be able to display digital-cable channels in the future. Like the LG, Sony’s 37 V 5500 lacks any support for satellite signals, and will therefore need an external receiver.
The Sony leaves the LG behind completely in terms of multimedia: If you connect the Sony 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.
Speaking of images: The Sony plays back photos, music, and videos, both from a USB stick and across a PC network. 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.
In terms of connectivity, Sony is clearly ahead: Its four HDMI inputs match for 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 37 XV 635 D B
Japanese company Toshiba rises to LG’s challenge: The XV 635 sells for 100 GBP less than the LG online, but still offers a 37-inch screen – its features, too, can largely compete with those of its Korean rival. Toshiba also promises sharp motion depiction thanks to 100-hertz technology. In addition, the “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.
The tuners are largely identical: The Toshiba accepts analog TV, DVB-T, and digital cable TV. The 37 XV 635 does not support CI Plus, and neither does the LG, so in both cases you’ll need a separate receiver in order to receive encrypted cable channels.
The Toshiba’s USB connection is less versatile than that of the LG: Besides JPEG photos and MP3 music files, it will play back DivX-encoded videos – according to the specifications, however, it will only accept DivX videos in picture formats up to 720 x 480 pixels.
The 37 XV 635 makes up for this with its connectivity: Of its two Scart sockets, one is RGB capable, the other S-video-capable, and – like the LG – the Toshiba has four HDMI inputs. The easily accessible, full set of side-mounted connections include cinch and Mini-DIN sockets for composite and S-Video signals from camcorders, as well as a headphone output.
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 Details – Panel with stand – 90.297 cm x 30 cm x 68.884 cm x 35.71 kg
- Input Video Formats – 480 i/p, 576 i/p, 720p, 1080 i/p
- HDMI – 4
- Image Contrast Ratio – 100000:1
- Resolution – 1920×1080
- Brightness – 500 cd/m2
- Diagonal Size – 37″ – widescreen
- Power Consumption Operational – 180 Watt
- Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep – 0.1 Watt
- Depth – 5.179 cm
- Height – 63.93 cm
- Weight – 14.09 kg
- Width9 – 0.297 cm
- Digital Television Certification – HD-Ready 1080p
Digital TV Tuner
- Digital TV Tuner – analog