HP, like so many nontraditional TV manufacturers, has cast its darts at the lucrative digital HDTV market, and the HP LC3760N is the third of its LCD-based HDTVs we've reviewed at CNET. Like last year's 32-inch LC-3200N, the 37-inch LC3760N has more than a little in common with Sharp's Aquos LCDs. That's generally a good thing, although the similarities, especially in picture quality, aren't complete. The price of the HP LC3760N is also about the same as the comparable Sharp model, albeit somewhat higher than off-brand 37-inch sets. The HP LC3760N's design is simultaneously slick and unobtrusive. Its attractive, all-matte-black finish is aesthetically pleasing and lends itself to better video performance. That's because matte black increases the perceived contrast ratio of the onscreen image by reducing reflections. The speakers are housed below the screen rather than on the sides, keeping the overall width to a minimum.
We found HP's unique-looking remote very stylish and ergonomically well designed. Someone obviously put a lot of thought from a user's perspective into this clicker. It fits like a glove in the hand, whether you are a righty or a lefty, and all the most important keys are reachable by the thumb. There is no backlighting, but that isn't a surprise on a flat-panel display that will likely be viewed in high ambient light most of the time.
One glance at the internal menu system told us that the HP LC3760N has more than a little in common with Sharp's LCDs--it's identical to the one found in the Sharp LC-37D40U, for example. The menu was relatively intuitive and easy to navigate and make adjustments.Like most LCDs, the HP LC3760N has a native resolution of 1,366x768. That's plenty of pixels to resolve all of the detail of 720p HDTV broadcasts. All sources, including HDTV, DVD, standard-def TV, and computers, are scaled to fit the pixels.
The HP LC3760N offers relatively few features, whether related to convenience, such as PIP (picture-in-picture), or performance, such as a color-management system, which could really benefit this panel. In fact, its feature set is essentially identical to that of the aforementioned Sharp LC-37D40U. HP included an ATSC tuner for receiving over-the-air digital and HDTV broadcasts via an antenna, but like many HDTVs this year, it lacks CableCard--not a big loss as far as we're concerned. You can choose from four aspect-ratio modes with standard-def sources, but you can't change modes at all with high-def.
The coolest feature from a picture-quality standpoint is the backlight control, which shows up as the first item in the video menu. Backlighting actually controls the amplitude of the lamps driving the panel, and by bringing it down, you can improve black-level performance. Picture modes include Dynamic, Dynamic Fixed, Standard, Movie, and Game, and there's a separate User mode for each input. There are also selectable color temperatures, including Low, Mid-Low, Mid, and High, with Mid-Low providing the best overall grayscale but one that still begs for improvement (see
Connectivity is pretty comprehensive on the HP LC3760N, and the two HDMI digital inputs are the most important. Two is the minimum for us, now that HD-DVD and Blu-ray players as well cable or satellite high-def sources are available, both of which usually look best with HDMI. There are also a number of analog inputs: two each for component and composite video, as well as one for S-Video. All are shared between three A/V inputs, so you can't connect all six at once. In addition, there's one RF input that handles any over-the-air and cable sources, both analog and digital (ATSC and QAM), and an optical digital audio output for routing off-air digital sound to an A/V receiver.
Surprisingly for an HDTV produced by a PC manufacturer, the HP LC3760N does not have a dedicated VGA-style computer input. You can use one of the HDMI inputs, in conjunction with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter and a computer's DVI output, to display computer content, but we'd have liked to see a dedicated input like the one found on Dell's input-heavy W3706MC.