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HP LC60N review: HP LC60N

HP LC60N

Kevin Miller

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5 min read

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.

6.3

HP LC60N

The Good

Can produce deep blacks for an LCD flat panel; clean, artifact-free video processing; two HDMI inputs; understated all-black styling; excellent remote.

The Bad

Inaccurate grayscale tracking and color decoding lead to somewhat unnatural colors; no PC input or picture-in-picture; can't change aspect-ratio modes with HD sources.

The Bottom Line

While the HP LC3760N's color isn't the most accurate we've seen, its solid black levels and connectivity combine to outclass most budget LCDs.
Review summary
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.

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 Performance). OPC, which stands for Optical Picture Control, can be engaged if you want the TV's brightness to fluctuate depending on room lighting, but for critical viewing, we recommend you set up your picture controls with it turned off.

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.

Overall, the video performance of the HP LC3760N leaves a little bit to be desired, but it still outclasses the majority of LCD-based HDTVs out there. We were surprised that in the crucial area of grayscale performance--the color of black, white, and gray, which forms the basis for all colors--the HP didn't do as well as its near twin, the Sharp LC-37D40U. That's why we gave the HP a lower Performance score.

The HP LC3760N's Mid-Low color-temperature position produced the most neutral grayscale, although it became too blue in darker areas--a sign of inconsistent grayscale tracking. The Low setting went way too warm or red in the midrange of the grayscale to be usable, and the others are simply blue scales and not grayscales. We did not perform a calibration since it's extremely difficult to do so, and in our experience, the results aren't worth it with Sharp LCDs.

In its favor, the LC3760N can produce a deep, convincing color of black, thanks to the backlight feature. We ended up setting it at -8 for a dimly lit room. You can take it lower for even darker environments, but beware that it brings down the light output significantly, which can rob the image of too much impact. We were also impressed by the HP's clean video processing. The LC3760N did a better job than many LCD panels of reproducing the difficult opening sequences of Alien: The Director's Cut on DVD with little visible video noise and only very minor false-contouring artifacts.

Brighter scenes from the Superbit DVD version of The Fifth Element had plenty of snap, thanks to a solid contrast ratio, and were rendered crisp and full of detail. Some of the colors had kind of a false look that's due to the HP's poor color decoding, which, like the Sharp's, suffers from red push. Color management, which can correct color decoding, is a feature this panel sorely needs. Considering that its primary color values are closer than those of most HDTVs (see the geek box), if the color decoding and grayscale-tracking capabilities were significantly improved, HP would have a product worthy of an Editors' Choice Award.

The LC3760N does deliver all the resolution of 720p signals via its HDMI inputs as measured with a Sencore VP403 HDTV signal generator. The Chronicles of Riddick from our Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player looked fine in terms of detail and clarity. Color needed to be backed down considerably in order to achieve a reasonably natural look, which unfortunately causes all of the colors to appear duller, but otherwise high-def performance was solid.

Test Result Score
Before color temp (20/80) 8,550/7,275K Poor
Before grayscale variation +/- 841K Poor
Color of red (x/y) 0.637/0.333 Good
Color of green 0.263/0.598 Average
Color of blue 0.146/0.066 Good
Overscan 2.5 percent Good
Black-level retention All patterns stable Good
2:3 pull-down, 24fps Yes Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Yes Good
6.3

HP LC60N

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6