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Until recently the TV in our kitchen was one of the last CRT type screens in the house. It was an old Goodmans 15" screen with integral VHS recorder that we had bought for under £100 just so we could watch TV whilst we were eating there. It did a good job although the VHS recorder didn't really get a lot of use. Old technology. Does anyone still use VHS? Surely it's gone the way of the audio cassette.
It received a feed from a Freeview set-top box so the screen showed a widescreen picture on a standard 4x3 screen and consequently actually displayed far less than a 15" screen might otherwise show. Eventually my wife decided it had to be replaced, with something that was designed for the job. A 19" widescreen TV would be perfectly adequate and a definite improvement on what we had.
About a year or so ago I bought a replacement for the TV we used in the bedroom. It replaced a 15" CRT TV, a Matsui, which we had had for years. The remote no longer worked properly so a new TV was as much a necessity as a nicety. I bought a combined TV and DVD Player, a Venturer, for around £160 from Comet and, as we didn't really need the DVD Player in the kitchen, I was hoping to get something similar for less.
Although I examined what was on offer at both Curry's and Comet and certainly both had cheaper models on offer, none impressed for picture quality or features. In the end an LG model, not a brand I had previously bought but one which gets consistently good reviews, attracted my attention for it's 1366x768 and 8000:1 contrast ratio screen. This puts it at the lower end of the HD support. However, in comparison alongside other models, the picture quality was plainly superior. It was, however, about £165.
What this model doesn't offer, and it seems this is still common amongst the lower screen size TVs, is a tuner that supports Freeview HD. Only standard Freeview is provided but, with a small screen size, even the superior quality of Freeview HD transmissions would probably not be evident, not even on a screen with a picture of this quality.
The LG is an attractive looking model, with a screen that leans slightly forward on its base. We have the TV in the kitchen sited on a platform that hangs from a bracket on the wall. This can also be tilted so, sat at the table the TV can be positioned so that it faces directly at viewers below it. The viewing angle is quite good anyway so you can be a fair bit to one side or the other of the centre line without significant deterioration of the picture.
The initial setup follows the standard approach for all modern TVs: after setting the environmental constants it enters the channel discovery mode and eventually you end up with a list of analog (if you are still in an area broadcasting an analog signal) and digital stations. That's pretty much it. The remote is just your standard type and is powered by a couple of AAA batteries.
In addition to the normal aerial input the TV also has two SCARTs, a composite video and an HDMI socket. There is no aerial pass-though socket though, so use with a stand-alone DVD recorder feeding the TV through the HDMI socket would probably require the aerial to feed the recorder first before following on to the TV.
We've been using this TV now for some time and I remain very impressed with the quality it produces. There are undoubtedly cheaper 19" TVs but I doubt that any offer the picture and sound quality of the LG.
UPDATED - March 2012
And then it went... well, nothing at all actually. I simply refused to work. It was just 21 months old! I took it back to Comet but, for reasons into which I won't go here, I ended up taking it to ICTV in Farnborough, who diagnosed the problem as a failed power supply component (no surprises there) and repaired it for just over £90.
I had sent an email to LG Customer Support but hadn't go a reply immediately but I did get one a little while later, after the TV had been repaired. They confirmed that there was a known fault with this model and that, even though it was 21 months old, they still would have repaired it if I had returned it to them. I wish I'd known that earlier!
I bought this tv beginning of this year, really for one reason which was for my PS3. After a few weeks of internet searching to try and find the best quality at the best price, I truly believe that I found it with this TV.
This tv really does offer so much in value for money terms. I know that £180 sounds quite a lot, but hopefully I can try and justify why its so worth it.
First of all this tv is 19inch, HD ready with 1366 X 768 resolution on its LCD display. It has a large dynamic contrast ratio at 8000:1 which means that picture quality is excellent. I'm probably speaking more for gaming use at the moment instead of using it for watching ordinary tv. It also comes with in-built freeview, so there is no need to buy a box.
So it there any point in getting this if you are just using it for watching tv? Undoubtedly yes! This is where this TV really shows off its brilliance with 3 different modes of AV. There is a sport mode, where the TV optimises itself for watching fast-paced sports, cinema mode, where the sound and picture become crisper, and clearer for watching movies and a game mode, which offers a more dynamic gaming experience. So as you can see, this tv can really be used by anybody, whether you are into sports, game or just good old TV. I particularly feel that this would be best placed in a bedroom, where it could be attached to a games console and watched using its freeview to really make use of the modes it offers.
I have yet to find a tv that offers more Specs at the price it is at. Maybe a few months after this review there will be better but so far this I believe is the best out there.
So enough about the specs, what about the design? I personally love it. Its sleek, slim and sexy. The remote supplied looks very modern with a glossy finish which complements the tv well. There are buttons ontop of the tv for manual navigation, and it comes with a stand to place on the desk. It's also not too heavy. Mine hasn't failed on me yet after quite a lot of use, but granted it has only been a few months. I have read reviews on the website where it was purchased and nearly all gave it a 5 star for reasons I can clearly see.
As I mentioned before, my main use for this tv is that of gaming and watching movies. I don't own any blue-ray disks so I don't watch my movies in HD, yet the picture still seems increadibly sharp, something I have noticed is not with all LCD tvs. I do however play my games in HD and for me the picture is brilliant, I really cannot fault it.
It may not be the best TV for a lounge, purely down to its smaller sized screen, but you're looking for a great TV at a good price for what is offered, maybe for a bedroom or holiday home, this is simply brilliant.
Money well spent.
My partner bought this TV a few months ago to go in our bedroom. He and I are at extremes of the spectrum when it comes to our viewing habits - prior to meeting him I didn't even own a telly for several years, preferring to cherry-pick from the internet things I really needed to see.
But when we saw this LG in Aldi (yes!) on a deal at £150, it was actually me that remarked first on the value. I'd quite fancied an LG for our main set, but at upwards of £400 for the size we needed then, they'd been a bit too expensive. At 19", this set was bearable to me for the bedroom, but enough to satisfy my partners desire for "Soccer am" in bed with bacon sandwiches on a Saturday!
I have to admit, I didn't set it up myself, so although I would say its quick and easy to do, that may well rely on the quality of help you have available! It took him only moments to get the wires etc in the right places and get a picture on the screen, and it was all tuned in (including the built-in Freeview) within about ten minutes. He didn't really use the instruction manual, as it was so simple - but the manual is not too bad, and I reckon I could have done it myself with the information provided reasonably quickly.
Perhaps it's just the comparison with our dodgy-brand main television, but the picture quality is awesome in my view - really sharp, vivid colours and no shadowing on the edges. This is especially apparent when you're watching nature programmes, as I like to - far better on the smaller screen with better detail and clarity. The sound is also very good considering the speakers are quite small, and there seems to be less variation in volume between channels, which I think is perhaps because the freeview is built in and therefore better balanced than with a standalone system.
One other thing I would mention, in a very non-technical way, is the tv's responsiveness to its remote. So many tellies I have known can be a right pain when it comes to getting it to change channel etc - they can take seconds to respond, which is frustrating. This one never forces me into waving my arm about trying to get the sensor to pick up my remote, and you can move smoothly up and down between channels, without the telly losing track of which buttons you're pressing.
Altogether a great buy. Especially if you can find one on sale for a bargain price like we did!