The LG 37LH30 is a basic-looking television. It has a glossy black bezel with an embellishment along the bottom. Towards the bottom right corner of the screen is the sensor and power LED.
There are two features on the back of the 37LH30: the spot where you plug in the power cord and a cluster of ports.
For information about the ports on the back of the LG 37LH30 see our Connectivity section.
The left side of the TV has a few ports. The right side is where you'll find the on-set controls.
For information about the ports on the back of the LG 37LH30 see our Connectivity section.
The stand features a convex front and a concave back. It looks a bit like a police shield or the Star Fleet insignia. The stand allows the TV to swivel.
The on-set controls are located at the bottom of the right side of the screen.
The LG 37LH30's remote is a standard remote for an entry-level TV. It has an intuitive button layout and sports large fonts.
In The Box*(6.50)*
The 37LH30 doesn't come with much inside its box. You'll fine the manual, the remote, and a couple of batteries.
The TV is pretty easy to assemble. All you have to do is place the TV on its stand and screw it into place. A single person should be able to manage the job.
We thought the 37LH30 was decently attractive, but very plain looking. There really isn't a lot about the TV to grab your aesthetic sensibilities and wring out approval. It's a glossy black TV with a slighly odd shape to its stand. The power indicator pulses when it turns on. Otherwise, the 37LH30 is any old TV set.
The LG 37LH30 had a poor black level. We measured it at 0.32 cd/m2, which is really high. A good black level might be under 0.10 cd/m2. This means the TV won't be capable of producing deep blacks. This is often the case for LCD HDTVs, since they employ backlights.
A poor black level basically means the TV will lose detail in dark scenes. Since it's not capable of producing deep blacks, a night scene might look like an evenly-colored blob of black.
The 37LH30 was capable of outputting 344.15 cd/m2. This is a good peak brightness. Peak brightness is important because it helps prevent the screen from looking washed out, especially when external lights are shining on it.
Due to its poor black level, the 37LH30 didn't do well on this test. We measured its contrast ratio at about 1075:1. This is about half our current average. Contrast is something our eyes are very sensitive to, so a poor ratio can make it more difficult for us to pick up details in a scene.
The 37LH30 had a good tunnel contrast result. This means the black level won't be affected by the percentage of white on the screen. Typically plasmas have issues on this test: when the majority of the screen is white, they aren't capable of maintaining their black level.
The TV also did well on our white falloff test. This means peak brightness isn't affected by the ammount of white on the screen. Again, plasmas have trouble maintaining either brightness or darkness when it makes up a minority of the screen. LCDs, like the 37LH30, typically don't have issues on this test.
The 37LH30 has a pretty uniform screen. We noticed some minor flashlighting/dimming in the corners and along the sides, but that was it. The screen doesn't have any blotches or color casts.
Greyscale gamma describes how the TV emulates all its greys. Since we see logarythmically (intensity needs to increment exponentially to get us to notice an equivalent change), gamma needs to scale in a specific way to be the most effective. For the most part, the 37LH30 has a good greyscale gamma. The transition between some shades of grey is a bit choppy, which could lead to a very minor loss of detail.
The main area where the 37LH30 lost points was in its intensity scaling. Towards the white end, the intensity didn't increment as much as it should, leading to changes that aren't as perceptible as they should be.
The 37LH30 had uniform resolution scaling. It wasn't perfect at any resolution, but it wasn't bad either.
The 37LH30 had the most trouble with 480p, but it still did fairly well. The main issues we saw were with Moire patterns and resolution issues. Fine patterns will get smudged together into dot matrices, acquire a slight rainbow cast, or blur together slightly. We also saw a 2% overscan, which is relatively small.
Basically, we saw the same issues on 720p as we did with 480p, only to lesser degrees. The only area where the TV actually did worse than on 480p was with legibility. We found smaller font ran together somewhat in 720p.
The differences between 720p and 1080i were minor. Fine patterns seemed to shimmer at times, which was a bit annoying, but had better resolution overall.
When we calibrate our TVs, we try to get their as close to the 6500k ideal as we can. On this test, we measure how the color temperature fluctuates along the greyscale. Ideally, it'll remain as close to 6500k as possible throughout the spectrum.
On the graph below, the green area shows the limit of perceptibility. Unless you have superhuman color detecting skills, you won't notice any changes that occur in that green area. The degree to which the line veers outside the green is indicative of how obvious the color shift will be.
The 37LH30 didn't have any major problems with this test. There were some minor fluctuations along the way, but they were so minor that they're not really noticeable.
Overall, the LG 37LH30 had good color representation.
Reds had some minor issues. They don't have much of a low-end, intensify too quickly, then hit a slight peak.
Green is a bit choppy in its representation, but doesn't peak. Like the reds, however, it also doesn't have much presence in the low end, followed by too much emphasis too quickly. As with the reds, these issues are minor.
Blues take the worst aspects of both the reds and greens and combine them. The graph is a bit choppy, it peaks, it doesn't bottom out in the low end, and it increases in intensity too fast. Again, however, none of these issues are particularly significant.
The 37LH30 had a fairly accurate color gamut. The greens and reds are close to Rec. 709, which is the international standard. The blues are slightly off and a bit oversaturated.
For those who like such things, below are the measured coordinates of the Rec. 709 gamut and the 37LH30's measured gamut.
The LG 37LH30 has some issues with motion smoothness. Photos suffer from some minor blurring. On our color chart, we noticed that bold colors tend to leave behind shadows as they travel around. When we performed the same tests with 1080i input, these issues got even worse.
The TV also had some issues with artifacting. Fine lines will create a shuddering effect. The edges of a box staircase a bit when it moves horizontally. We didn't see any issues with color casting. Overall, there aren't great features to have on your set, but the LG 37LH30 isn't tremendously worse than the average TV.
3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(7.00)*
The 37LH30 had some issues with 3:2 pulldown. Fine striped patterns tend to flash, which is an eyesore. There were also some minor instances of a crawling effect manifesting on patterns.
The TV supports 24 fps playback.
The LG 37LH30 didn't have the grestest viewing angle. If you're 29º off-center, your contrast ratio will drop by half. This means the TV has a total viewing angle of 58º, which is about 20º more shallow than our current average.
The reason viewing angle is important is because our eyes are very sensitive to contrast. When contrast ratio suffers, so does picture quality.
External light sources often wreak havoc on your TV screen. Screens prone to reflection can be unwatchable in certain setups. The 37LH30 did all right on this test, but still had some issues. While it diffused the light well, the resulting glow washed out a large chunk of the screen. If the light is on an angle, however, the reflection won't be too distracting.
The 37LH55 had a few video processing features, some of which caused a visible effect, some of which didn't do anything noteworthy. We're also at a bit of a loss about what they were supposed to do, since the screen doesn't have any explanatory pop-ups and the manual is mum on the subject.
To ensure we're grading our HDTVs based on their peak performance, we calibrate them using DisplayMate software. In the table below, you'll find a list of all the settings we altered. If it's not listed in the table below, we didn't touch it.
The 37LH30 has the standard array of LG video modes: vivid, standard, cinema, sport, and game. There are also two expert modes that give users additional settings to fiddle around with. Typically we provide the manufacturer's description of each mode here, but LG persists in their refusal to include such a description on the TV or in the manual.
Ergonomics & Durability*(6.85)*
The LG 32LH20's remote is simple and fits comfortably in the hand. Its back is curved and has an indent for your index finger. The smooth hard plastic makes the remote a bit easy to drop, but the remote is well-balanced.
The remote's buttons are soft plastic. They have good travel, but we wished they offered a bit more tactile feedback. The buttons dont' glow in the dark and aren't backlit.
Although anyone who looked at this remote could tell it was for an entry-level set, we liked it.
Button Layout & Use*(7.20)*
The remote's buttons have a good layout. In the neutral position (thumb on the d-pad), you can easily reach the menu button, the volume controls, and the channel controls. The buttons are also located fairly close to each other, meaning you don't need a gigantic thumb to be able to hit everything. The number pad will require a slight grip shift. The controls are well-labeled, although thier refusal to glow in the dark was unfortunate. The remote can also control the TV from a very shallow angle.
Programming & Flexibility*(1.0)*
The 37LH30's remote can't control non-LG equipment. It can be set up with other LG devices via their SIMPLINK technology. Unfortunately, this setup requires the device to be connected to the TV via an HDMI cable. This is far from ideal.
The side of the TV has an HDMI port, a composite video in, and two analog audio inputs.
The back of the TV has two additional HDMI ports, two analog audio ins, a set of component video inputs, a second composite video, a VGA port, and a 3.5mm input.
The only output port on this TV is the optical audio out.
There are no other connections.
There are no additional media capabilities.
Ports are laid out reasonably well. They're located on the right of the TV's back, either facing toward the back or out towards the side. They're indented a bit further than we'd like, but are still close to the edge. The stand also aids in your ports-based adventures by allowing the TV swivel.
The 37LH30's speakers weren't bad. When the surround sound mode was off, the sound was a bit flat. It didn't have much bass and there just wasn't a lot of presence to the sound. Turning surround sound mode on gave a bit of depth to the overall sound, boosted bass quite a bit, and gave the high end better articulation. It didn't, however, do much to actually create a 'surround sound' experience.
The 37LH30's menu system is the same one that other LG TVs have. For the most part, using menus on the 37LH30 is intuitive. If you press the menu button, you can choose from one of eight different submenus. Selecting any item will bring up phase two of the menu system, in which the eight submenu options are listed in a colum and their contents are displayed in the main portion of the window.
As we've mentioned in other LG reviews, we don't like the initial screen. It doesn't do anything that can't be done on the second menu.
The TV also features a quick menu. It functions like a rotary dial. You rotate a wheel of options with left and right, and use up and down to change its setting. This method is slightly faster than navigating through the menu system, but the wheel rotation animation is slower than it should be.
The 37LH30's manual isn't the best. It has decent pictures that are used liberally throughout, but they're smaller than they should be. The manual's table of contents isn't very detailed, and there's no index at the end, just a short appendix. Like the pictures, the font is also a bit small.
The main issue with the manual is it doesn't cover much beyond basic setup. There isn't any explanation for the more advanced features, such as video modes. This is unfortunate, because many of these modes don't have intuitive names or obvious effects.
You can find the LG 37LH30's manual online here.
The LG 37LH30 is a full 1080p television, which means it can play the highest quality HD content. Unfortunately, the only place to get 1080p content at the moment is Blu-ray discs. It can also handle lower quality content, including 1080i, 720p and 480i/p. The television also supports film-like content at 24 frames per second, both natively and via the 3:2 pulldown process. There is also support for the xvYCC color gamut, which allows the television to display a wider gamut of colors if the content supports it.
The 37LH30 has no photo playback feature.
Music & Video Playback*(0.0)*
There is no music or video playback on this TV.
There is no streaming feature.
There aren't any other media features.
The 37LH30 wasn't particularly expensive to maintain. Even will the backlight blazing, it'll cost less than $30/year to power.
Below is a handy chart detailing the average cost per year of a few TVs. If you'll notice, the 37LH30 appears to be fairly pricy by comparison. This being said, none of the TVs are particularly expensive.
Value Comparison Summary
These two TVs are very similar. The main differences between them are feature-based. The 37LH55 has a photo and music playback feature as well as a 240Hz mode.
Blacks & Whites
Both TVs had the same black level and very similar peak brightnesses. This means they also had very similar contrast scores.
The LG 37LH30 had a slightly more accurate color temperature. The two TVs had about the same color representation and color gamut.
The LG 37LH55 did a much better job with mothin smoothness, and slightly better with motion artifacting.
Neither TV had a great viewing angle.
The 37LH55 has a handful of ports that the 37LH30 doesn't have. The main difference, however, seems to be the 37LH55's USB port, which gives it additional media playback functionality.
The main feature the 37LH55 has that the 37LH30 doesn't is 240Hz mode. Also, as mentioned above, the 37LH55 has a rudimentary photo and music playback application. While a nice addition, it isn't a particularly eye-catching feature.
Value Comparison Summary
The JVC LT-32J300 is a smaller TV that's cheaper, runs the same format, and has a USB media playback feature. Both TVs had similar black levels and peak brightnesses. The 37LH30 managed to have a slightly better color temperature, but otherwise the two TVs had equivalent color performances. The JVC pulled off a wider viewing angle than the LG could.
Blacks & Whites
Both TVs had similar black levels and peak brightnesses. The JVC LT-32J300, however, featured an auto-dimming feature that couldn't be turned off. This feature results in detail being lost in certain situations. A bright object will appear dimmer than it should if the majority of the screen is black.
The 37LH55 had a more even color temperature, better overall color representation, and was closer to rec. 709 standards.
The JVC LT-32J300 had fewer problems with blurring and artifacting.
The 37LH30 had a very shallow total viewing angle: about 58º. The JVC LT-32J300's viewing angle is slightly better, at 65º.
The JVC has a few ports that the LG doesn't, including an S-Video and analog out. The JVC also has a USB port for its photo viewer.
The only other difference between these TVs is the JVC's photo viewer. Though this is certainly a nice feature, we doubt that alone will sway many consumers' purchasing decision.
Value Comparison Summary
The Samsung LN32B360 again shows it can outperform TVs that are capable of a higher-resolution display. It had a deeper black level, higher peak brightness, higher contrast ratio, and similar color acuracy. The downsides to the LN32B360 rest with its smaller screen and lower native resolution. In just about every other area, however, the LN32B360 outperforms the 37LH30. Given the price difference, we'd strongly recommend considering the LN32B360.
Blacks & Whites
The Samsung beats the LG across the board. It has a lower black level and a higher peak brightness, which gives it a higher contrast ratio.
Both TVs had a solid color temperature and about the same color representation. The Samsung had a slightly less accurate color gamut.
Both TVs garnered similar results on our motion tests.
Neither TV had a wide viewing angle, but the LG's 57º was wider than the Samsung's 34º.
The LG 37LH30 has a few extra ports, including an optical audio out. The Samsung LN32B360 actually has a very small selection of ports.
There aren't any other significant areas of difference between the two TVs. Neither are feature-based sets.
LG LH30 Series
LG's LH30 line of televisions is at the lower end of their lineup, with four models ranging in size from 32 inches to 47 inches. Every model features 3 HDMI inputs and full 1080p resolution, however they lack more advanced features like higher refresh rates and internet connectivity. Prices for the lineup are not particularly low-end, with manufacturer suggested retail prices ranging from $800 up to $1400, although you can often find them at retail for significantly less.
Meet the tester
Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.
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