Usually, LCD TVs with built-in DVD players will have you fumbling around in search of the elusive, side-mounted DVD slot. That's hardly ideal, especially if you've got your TV mounted on a wall. But LG's 22-inch, HD Ready 22LU7000 LCD TV brings the DVD player around to the front, where you can easily get at it. It's available online for around £300.
Cool or clunky?
The front-mounted DVD player has a dramatic impact on the 22LU7000's appearance. Below a fairly normal-looking, 22-inch screen, tidily finished in a high-gloss black, there's a startling angled foot that houses the DVD player and juts out by about 45°. Whether you find this design cool or clunky is a matter of taste. But making the DVD tray so easy to access is a definite stroke of genius.
Despite its bulk and protruding DVD tray, the 22LU7000 can still be mounted on a wall. In fact, the TV is at its most appealing when hanging on a wall, as the angled prop that you have to slot in to make the TV stand up on a table looks rather clumsy from certain angles.
As we'd now expect of any new TV, the 22LU7000 has a built-in Freeview tuner too. It also supports JPEG and MP3 playback via both its disc tray and a built-in USB port.
We were initially disappointed to find that the 22LU7000 offers an HD Ready, 1,366x768-pixel resolution, rather than a 1080p one. On reflection, however, opting to make the screen's resolution 'Full HD' would probably have pushed the price higher than is sensible for such a product. Plus, DVDs are standard-definition by nature, so the 1,366x768-pixel resolution isn't as much of a stretch for the TV's upscaling processing.
Despite its small size, the 22LU7000 sports a dynamic contrast system able to deliver a claimed contrast ratio of 8,000:1. This doesn't sound much when compared to the figures of hundreds of thousands -- even millions -- often bandied around in the large-screen TV market. But it's actually quite respectable by the standards of sub-26-inch screens.
Inconsistent picture quality
The way in which the DVD player's cover slides open from the centre, like a pair of curtains, is undeniably appealing, even though it makes some noise and feels rather plasticky. Playback quality is good -- neither the digital decoders nor the mechanics of the disc tray appear to contribute significant noise or twitching to images. Also, we couldn't hear the disc spinning, even with the TV on mute. There's slightly more grittiness than you'd get with a high-quality stand-alone DVD player, but the 22LU7000's deck is as good as you've any right to expect from an affordable combination unit with such a unique design.
The TV's picture quality is a mixed bag. Its biggest strength is the way in which it manages to upscale standard-definition sources -- especially DVDs -- to the set's HD Ready resolution. We were struck by how sharp and detailed images look, even on a screen as small as this. Furthermore, the TV doesn't particularly exaggerate noise in standard-definition sources during the upscaling process, although we'd say in this regard that the better the source image, the more effectively the 22LU7000's upscaling system responds.