When CRT ceased to be the dominant force in the living room, something wonderful happened to televisions -- they became pretty. The LG 47LB2RF is one of the best examples of this, a stylish and attractive television that will look good in the corner of any room.
The LG 47LB2RF is a 'Full HD' screen, which means it can support the 1080p format via its 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution panel. This will guarantee maximum impact for your HD DVD or Blu-ray movies.
While we like the styling, the same cannot be said for its standard-definition performance, which we found unimpressive, with images blurry and subject to judder. Hi-def material looks great overall, but there was still some blurring around moving objects or during camera movement.
If you want a television that will draw the eye, then this LG is right up your street. Its glossy black finish gives it real presence and style. It's certainly encouraging to see that a lot of thought has been put into the television's design.
The stand is well put together and allows you to easily adjust the direction the TV faces. It may sound like a simple feature, but too many television stands don't offer it.
The set has plenty of inputs, so you should have no problems connecting up your AV gear. There are two HDMI inputs, two Scarts and component, as well as composite and S-Video connections.
The remote control is functional, well balanced and comfortable to hold. There's also a convenient light that tells you which piece of equipment it's controlling. This is really handy if you accidentally press the 'DVD' button and can't work out why you can't change channels. A simple but helpful way of improving the humble remote, although we imagine it will run the battery down slightly quicker.
The LG 47LB2RF doesn't have a built-in Freeview receiver, which is a terrible oversight on a TV that costs more than £2,000. Instead you are stuck with an analogue receiver that really doesn't cut the mustard in the digital age.
LG's XD engine is supposed to improve the picture quality of standard-definition pictures. LG includes an XD demo on the set, which splits the screen in two, showing with and without the XD engine. To be honest, it didn't seem to make a huge difference to the picture during normal television viewing.
Picture-in-picture is included for those who need to see two separate sources at once, which might be handy if you don't want to miss the start of your favourite TV programme. You can select a number of different options, such as having two channels side by side, or the more traditional small box in a corner of your choice.
We've seen other large-screen televisions do a much better job with Freeview than this one managed. Freeview, via an external receiver, was of fairly low quality. In fairness, Freeview, with its low bit rates, was designed to be viewed on smaller screens, but we'd still expect better.
The 47LB2RF can struggle with motion. A lunchtime episode of Neighbours showed that camera pans have a tendency to judder and people moving in the frame often appear blurred. We also noticed that sometimes the picture would pause for a fraction of a second during motion. We turned off all of the set's image processing and found the problem remained. It's worth noting that this wasn't an issue on hi-def material, only on Freeview from a set-top box.
On Blu-ray and HD DVD material the television is a good performer. We auditioned some of our favourites, such as Serenity and Happy Gilmore. The picture was bright and the level of detail was very good. Content downloaded from the Internet also produced good results. We played several files from Apple's QuickTime site, including trailers for Hot Fuzz and Children of Men, and were happy with the picture quality. If, for some reason, you only ever plan to watch 1080p material, then this television is a good choice.
Upscaled DVD performance was also good. We put on the special edition of The Big Lebowski, which has been remastered for maximum standard-definition quality. The pictures were a little lacking in colour, but watching your old DVD back catalogue is going to be more a pleasure than a chore.
Black levels weren't fantastic. There is the option to turn down the brightness level, which helps to deepen the dark colours, but this also washes out any detail that might previously have been visible. Clearly, this becomes a problem in films in which the action takes place at night.
The 47LB2RF's sound performance was very impressive, however. Bass was deep and rich and we didn't have any trouble discerning the dialogue in either TV programmes or on DVD and HD DVD. Separate speakers at the front and rear of the set help to improve sound quality by keeping bass and treble separate.
If you are looking to spend £2,200 on a television, you'll get far more for your money elsewhere. This may be a 1080p set, but the standard-definition performance is not good enough for it to be attractive to most people. Consider the Panasonic Viera TH50PX600, which is slightly larger, and despite its lower resolution has superb picture quality, easily beating the LG in standard definition. If you're after a 1080p TV, the Sharp Aquos LC42XD1E is smaller, but half the price.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide