Design and Connections
Moving to the rear of the panel we are greeted by three HDMI v1.3 slots (one on the side), component, composite, analogue audio inputs and outputs, an optical digital output, PC/RGB and a USB slot. There is also PCMCIA card slot, freesat satellite input and two scarts. So as you can see there is no lack of set up configurations with various sources.
Unlike every other LG HDTV on the market, the LF7700 is unique in that it has a Freesat HD tuner and because of this we lose the ISFccc and Expert menus for picture set up. Personally I would have lost the Freesat functionality, but as LG are looking to add a cost effective Freesat set into the UK they felt that the added menus and the cost of adding them, was not compatible with the price point of this TV. We understand the business approach and the reasoning given for this, but have to say picture quality needs to be a priority on any TV, so lets hope the LF7700 can produce in this department.
So, what we have here is a budget LCD TV with Freesat HD added and some important features (in our opinion) missing. The important part of all this will be picture quality. So how does it measure up?
As expected things are not quite perfect for an out of the box preset, but are far improved over the other picture preset options available. Of course a manufacturer doesn’t know what sources you will plug into the TV, or the room environment, so they can only reasonably offer a preset that attempts to get close. If we want complete accuracy to the international standards laid down for movie and TV production and video playback, we will have to do that via a calibration. That may prove difficult with this particular TV.
The greyscale results are actually pretty good and although there is a high red and a low blue, error points are low enough to not really cause us any real concern. However, things could be a little better here as onscreen images do have a yellow haze. Gamma appears to be well behaved and around the desired 2.2 point, so things look promising. Moving to the colour points and how they line up with the ITU-BT.Rec.709 HD standard (which incidentally is almost identical to the Pal colour space), we can see the inner triangle of the Rec.709 colour space and on the outside our measured result. The points line up in a very respectable manner but do have errors, mostly with colour hue and the secondary colours suffer from this error the most. Talking about errors we also have luminance issues where most are too bright.
While there are errors present in the 'out of the box' results, we also have results that in all fairness are not as far out as some TVs on the market. The issue we now have is that we cannot correct all of these issues because this particular LG set has no expert mode.
Because we only have one set of RGB controls the idea here is to find a point where we can get the most uniform results of the RGB white mix. This happened to be at 50ire and after a quick correction you would think that things would be set. Well it was while performing this task that we encountered the biggest problem with the LF7700. This TV is using some kind of auto dimming feature which progressively changes luminance points on a whim. Even looking through the service menu – which on this TV was pretty basic - didn’t offer up any solution to the problem. So although we could correct the greyscale in a rudimentary manner, this luminance issue made things difficult to achieve any kind of picture accuracy. As you can see we made a slight improvement on the greyscale and secondary colours moved slightly, but things were sadly far from perfect. In all the results were better out of the box than expected and will offer some improvement in image quality. However, the lack of ISFccc controls here makes attaining accuracy a little more difficult.
Thankfully the quirky video processing of last years LG LCDs has not returned here on the new models. On the older sets there would be ringing added to high contrast objects and interlacing artefacts’ on progressive material. Well I am pleased to report that those issues along with a strange high frequency filter effect on HD material are not to be seen on the LF7700. Instead the de-interlacing and scaling works admirably under the circumstances, passing cadence tests on the HQV discs with most of the difficult material.
This is an LCD display and as such we are treated to LG’s 100Hz trumotion technology. This helps with fast moving content and cannot be defeated on the TV. It does have a tendency to make film material look a little unnatural, but it is one of the better systems I have seen lately in that image artefacts are reduced. However, one of the most annoying processing features on the LF7700 and one we cannot switch off is the image dimming algorithm. This is constant and very distracting and affects the image luminance in an unacceptable manner. We are stumped as to why this technology is being used on this LCD TV as the image when stable is acceptable. If it is here to resolve a better black level response, then it fails miserably.
The image in cinema mode and with the warm temperature selected is pretty good in terms of image colour and uniformity. There are errors with red looking too bright and at times introducing banding. This, while rare, is unfortunate along with the constant yellow tone of the image, that with a lack of calibration controls, we cannot dial out. Black levels, when the constant dimming doesn't get in the way are pretty strong and relatively deep for an LCD, so it is a shame that this dimming gets into everything. There are a few other issues such as a relatively poor viewing angle when sitting to the sides of the panel. Seriously, I am sad to report that image consistency is not present with the LF7700, which is a shame.
On the plus side the Freesat HD tuner works as it should and the EPG menus are very easy to follow. The HD performance is sharp with plenty of detail and on the whole colour performance is acceptable for such a TV. However, the panel lacks absolute contrast performance and...well...do I need to mention the dimming again?
LG LF7700 (32LF7700) Freesat HD LCD TV Review
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
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