Korean uber-rivals Samsung and LG show no sign of stopping their relentless drive to force down the prices of flat TVs.
And so it is that today we find ourselves sat before LG's 37LF66: a 37-inch LCD TV with a 'Full HD' resolution that's yours for just £650. Crazy.
The 37LF66 may be remarkably cheap, but it certainly doesn't look it. The combination of an unusually slender profile, high gloss bezel, silvery strip under the screen and matte black speaker area really works a treat.
There's no overt sign of compromise with the TV's connections, either, which follow the lead of more expensive TVs by including two HDMIs, a component video input and a PC jack alongside the customary lower-quality TV options.
The Full HD resolution, meanwhile, is backed up by a pixel for pixel mapping option -- ie, no overscanning -- for a cleaner look to HD sources. The ability of the HDMIs to accept the/24fps format from Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs should also play a part in keeping HD video noise to a minimum.
And indeed, with further help from LG's XD Engine video processing, plus Faroudja's DCDi system for reducing the customary jaggedness around contoured edges, the 37LF66's HD pictures really do look exceptionally sharp and clean. For instance, you can easily make out individual leaves in the trees around Bond's recuperation hospital following his eye-watering torture in the Casino Royale Blu-ray. This level of accuracy is something a non-Full HD screen would struggle to match.
Joining their sharpness in really making the 37LF66's pictures grab your attention hard are their colour response. Bright scenes seem to explode off the screen, so rich and vibrant are the colour saturations on show.
While the 37LF66's pictures might not be shy about coming forward with their full-on colours and pin-sharp detailing, these aggressive positives do hide some pretty significant problems.
Not least among these is the screen's black level response. For instance, the night-time scenes where Superman flies Lois around Metropolis in the HD DVD of Superman Returns are actually quite hard to watch, so badly affected are dark areas by the grey mist effect that always characterises screens with black level problems.
This black level shortcoming also affects colour tones during dark scenes, making them look strangely muted and unnatural -- an effect that's merely exaggerated by comparisons with the extraordinarily full-on colours we've noted during bright scenes.
Our last moan concerns the 37LF66's handling of standard definition fare via its Freeview tuner. What appears to happen is that the sheer aggressiveness of the TV's picture presentation leads to some fairly unpleasant exaggeration of any picture noise that may be present in the original broadcasts.
LG's spin-doctors have ensured that the 37LF66 looks like a really tantalising package on paper -- especially given its knock-down price. But the truth is that once you look past the eye-catching surface gloss of the TV's pictures, you find plenty of reasons to consider spending more than the £650 asking price elsewhere.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire