We can't fault the LG LH20 series for trying. The company's least expensive lineup of LCDs for 2009 offers more features than the competition, including the only USB port for digital photos and by far the best selection of picture adjustments. All of those tweaks allow users to dial in superb color, but color accuracy only goes so far when black levels look gray instead. But as long as you don't expect deep blacks from your low-buck LCD (and why should you?), the LG LH20 series still has a lot to offer for a tempting price.
The LG's straightforward exterior fronts the same kind of gloss-black frame seen on most of its competition, and the overall look is unobtrusive yet distinguished. The bottom edge curves slightly, and LG's characteristic subtly protruding, illuminated power indicator lives on the bottom right, serving as the sole accent. The stand swivels and matches the panel with its glossy black.
Although the remote is better than many at this level, it could still stand improvement. Our biggest hang-up was lack of a dedicated aspect ratio button, and we couldn't get used to the placement of the menu key to the lower-left of the big cursor control. There is a prominent, appropriately-colored key toward the top labeled "Energy Saving" that calls up those settings. On the plus side, we liked the feel of the clicking, rubberized cursor control. A cluster of keys at the bottom of the remote can command other gear that's compatible with the HDMI-CEC control-over-HDMI scheme, but the remote can't control other devices via infrared.
Connectivity is essentially standard with the exception of an RS-232 control port for custom installations, which isn't standard equipment on any TV. The back panel offers two HDMI ports, a component-video input, an AV input with composite video, a RF input for antenna or cable, an RGB-style analog PC input (1,360x768 maximum resolution), and an optical digital audio output.
While all of those picture controls go a long way toward making the LG the most color-accurate small LCD we've ever tested, that can't address its fundamental flaw: light black levels. Unfortunately for LG, in the LH20's case the latter trumps the former at affecting the overall look of the picture.