Three years ago, bagging a 47in TV for £1000 would have been a real steal.
Now with similar-sized models going for around £700, LG has its work cut out.
Looking at the LG’s design, it’s off to a promising start.
With three of its sides bordered by aluminium strips that are barely visible from the front, it’s a welcomingly unassuming set.
It’s a substantial unit, weighing almost 13kg. A chunky, zigzag-shaped metal stand holds it securely in place, though, and is one of the sturdiest we’ve seen.
Some TVs tend to wobble on thinner, skeletal frames, but this will happily take a knock or two and - what’s more - it has a swivel mechanism for flexible positioning.
There are ample connections: three HDMI and USB inputs apiece, joining scart, analogue and video component inputs, as well as optical and headphone outputs.
The remote is slim and compact, with a nice spread of orderly buttons. There aren’t acres of space between the keys, but it doesn’t feel cluttered and is generally nice to use.
There’s also a smart (or ‘magic’) remote – an oval-shaped controller that fits cosily in your hand. Buttons are all within thumb’s reach and the pointer proves accurate and easy to use, especially when enlarging the cursor in the settings.
Its wheel – much like one on a computer mouse – is useful for scrolling web pages in the browser and changing channels, although it is easy to accidentally knock during use.
Voice control is hard to get along with, though, proving hit-and-miss during our test.
LG has opted to keep its smartphone app (‘LG TV Remote-Web OS’) – free to download for iOS and Android – too. As well as mimicking most of the physical remote operations, it also has a useful touchpad to control the cursor, although this often freezes.
Its minimalist interface and absence of an EPG (something nicely implemented in Sony and Philips control apps) make it a last resort to use for us.
LG has reinvented its Smart platform for this year’s sets, scrapping last year’s full-screen, multi-page portal for a much simpler one.
Load the main ‘launcher’ menu and a horizontal line of colourful tabs pop-up from the bottom of screen and nudge upwards upon selection.
Many rival portals are still full-screen, though, minimising the TV picture to a corner or doing away with it altogether, so we like how LG’s keeps it in sight to reduce viewing disruption.
It’s a smart, inviting and playful design, and works well: pages change with smooth swiping motions and menus have bold, easy-to-read lettering.
It isn’t the most comprehensive interface, however. Settings menus are hard to follow and often require an extra remote press.
Scrolling along the long line of apps is more time consuming than hopping around a grid format, too.
For those that rely on catch-up services for their weekly TV fix, BBC iPlayer is joined by Demand 5.
And although ITV Player and 4oD are left off for now, the set also offers Sky’s Now TV for live streaming and video-on-demand services from a host of Sky channels.
The company’s catalogue comprises a host of downloadable apps (some free), including Napster’s music streaming service and several radio sources.
As well as YouTube and a web browser, the set features a camera operation – providing you have a separate webcam connected.
You can access files from DLNA-compatible devices over your home network, and beam your smartphone screen to your TV via Miracast or Intel’s WiDi (wireless display technology).
The LG’s picture is crisp and clean, with a wealth of detail and a punchy colour palette.
We play The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Blu-ray and, during Ben Stiller’s voyage to Greenland, the LG embraces the luscious greens and yellows of the rolling hills. Reds are well rendered too, rich and eye-catching without being overstated.
Skin tones are impressively natural and full of insight. The subtleties in Stiller’s frostbitten face and red cheeks as he braves the cold climate are excellent.
There’s decent detail in backgrounds too as mountain cliff faces are clear and textured, as well as a convincing sense of depth to vast landscapes.
The LG 47LB730V is a credible upscaler, bringing the same punchy colours to Uma Thurman’s blonde hair and orange jumpsuit in Kill Bill 2 DVD.
Contrast remains decent too, and while it doesn’t display quite the black level depth that the Samsung UE48H6400 does, it’s more than convincing all the same. Motion is stable during fast sword fight scenes.
Skip around the EPG’s standard- and high-def channels and the Freeview HD tuner gives a very balanced picture, with enthusiastic colours and detail.
3D pictures can sometimes look a bit dark on TVs, but the LG (which comes with two pairs of passive glasses) delivers a bright one that revels in detail.
In Gravity 3D Blu-ray it displays decent stability, too, when Sandra Bullock and George Clooney tumble around space.
The big blemish in the LG’s otherwise fine picture is its overemphasis of edges and outlines, making content – especially high-definition content – appear a little artificial.
Even with all processing modes switched off, foreground objects don’t always feel planted within the picture. They feel distracting and unnaturally separated from it.
Sound is often an Achilles’ heel when it comes to TVs, and it’s by no means perfect here. Nevertheless, it’s one of the better examples and avoids that usually small, tinny sound most rivals suffer from.
It’s a relatively spacious, clear presentation, and voices have solidity to them through any source. In Gravity, it communicates the drama and immediacy, and crashes sound convincingly forceful.
The LG’s price is the major obstacle on its path to a fifth star. Its expense over rivals is a problem on paper, and one that the LG can’t overcome with performance.
It’s a good TV, with a solid sound, premium build and one of the best pictures we’ve seen on this size screen.
But in a competitive category, great value is everything and we find the LG a little expensive for our taste.
MORE: Best TVs 2014