Want something with a different look to put in the corner of your lounge? You'll almost certainly want to consider the latest fad: a red TV. Done right, red can look great. But will it look good in five years time or will it be the modern equivalent of wood veneer?
LG's Scarlet range has been the centre of extensive media coverage and there's been a lengthy marketing campaign. The goal is to attract people who want a TV with some slightly unusual aesthetics. Does the LG 32LG6000 coerce the trendy people of the world into spending about £500 on technology instead of shoes?
We're not fashionistas, so you'll have to make up your own mind about the Scarlet's styling. As you can imagine, it's being sold on its bold colouring: the rear of the TV is bright red, but we're sceptical about exactly how much time most people spend looking at the back of their TVs.
The red rear isn't the only design selling point: it also features a gigantic hole at the front. Here in the office, we've had a number of people remark about how unusual it is to see a cracking great hole in a TV, but no one has really expressed revulsion yet. The hole does also serve a purpose: if you touch the inner, silver ring, it turns the TV on or off. It also glows a different colour to tell you what mode it's currently in -- red for off, white for on.
One of the problems created by drilling a hole in the front of a TV is that you need a much thicker bezel to go around it. The bottom part of the TV is therefore chunky and has significantly more plastic that wouldn't be there on a normal TV. We aren't sure if having the circle of emptiness is really worth the size trade off.
Aside from the stylistic decisions, LG has put every sort of socket you need on the TV. There are a generous four HDMIs -- that's quite unusual on a 32-inch TV. You also get two Scart sockets, component video in and the usual aerial jack and PC RGB input.
Of course, looks aren't the only thing. This TV has a decent number of features. Firstly, the menu system is brilliantly styled and truly simple to use. While it's probably fair to say that most people stay out of their TV's configuration screens, the LG's simple but graphically rich menu design really makes the difference.
Audio is given specific attention on the LG6000, too, with two fairly nice features. The first is the rather aesthetic decision to hide the speakers at the bottom of the TV cabinet. The second is the inclusion of Clear Voice, a technology designed to boost dialogue.
The TV also features what LG calls AV mode, which is essentially a set of picture presets designed to tailor the picture to specific kinds of material including video games, movies and regular TV. The LG6000 also has a built-in light sensor designed to reduce the backlight in dark rooms, which helps to improve the black levels of the TV.
We looked at upscaled DVD on the TV first and were pleased with the results. We used an X-Men DVD and the LG did a pretty good job with it. The image was clear, colours natural and there was a reasonable amount of detail in the pictures.
Next up was Blu-ray. We chucked in two of our test discs: the first, Casino Royale, looked great with strong colour and well-handled motion. We put our copy of Men in Black in our Sony BDP-S500 to see how the slightly older film would look. We saw very good colour, but we needed to adjust the picture settings to get it to the perfect level. Overall, DVD and Blu-ray looked superb. While we did notice a lack of detail at times, this wasn't enough to put us off the likeable picture.
We got alright with Freeview, too. Again, you'll need to adjust the picture settings to get the best out of this TV. Take special care to reduce the backlight and spend some time tweaking the colour, brightness and contrast controls as the default picture comes on stronger than a drunk teenage boy at a school disco.
With picture quality assessed, let's consider the sound. You might recall that one of the features of this set are the concealed speakers and as you can imagine, speakers that don't face forward can have some clarity issues. Luckily, the LG has no problem here with dialogue being very crisp. It lacks, however, low-end sound punch and we did feel that the amplifier was a weakling. For general viewing, it's not a problem, but for movies you'll need an external sound system.
Although it's a good performer, we don't think this TV is aimed at home cinema enthusiasts. It'll be very popular among those people who care about what they put in their lounges and who want something different than just glossy black.
There is nothing about this TV that gives us cause for concern, although the lack of detail in the picture will put off the purists. LG doesn't really charge a massive premium for this TV, although there are cheaper sets out there. We’d suggest the Toshiba Regza 37XV505D's younger 32-inch sibling as a good, though less attractive, alternative.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday