LG 42LH4000 £800

18th May 2009 | 09:00

LG 42LH4000

LG release another agressively priced panel to compete with the likes of Samsung and Sony

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

A good all-rounder but sadly the image processing causes more issues than it should and black level response could be better

Like:

User-friendly interface; Decent stereo; Bags of features

Dislike:

Plain design; Artificial-looking video processing; Grey blacks

It's no surprise to find LG offering another value LCD TV for our peepers to review, given how aggressive the company has been with its pricing of late. Even by LG's standards, though, the 42LH4000 is a stand-out bargain.

For starters, you get a 42in screen with a gleaming finish, tapered edges, and a dash of blue along its lowest extremity. The 42LH4000 is well up to par with its connections, too, but it's with its features that it makes its strongest mark.

It sports not only LG's solid XD Engine video processing system, but also a 100Hz engine and the company's 24p Real Cinema system that enhances Blu-ray playback. Its pretty, well-organised onscreen menus play host to reams of user picture adjustments, too.

Highlights include various gamma and noise reduction settings; the facility to turn on or off dynamic colour and contrast options; an eye-care mode that ramps down the image's vibrancy and a circuit for making edges look sharper. You can even adjust the strength of the 100Hz processing, a nice touch, given that it can all too easily generate unwanted side effects.

So flexible are the 42LH4000's picture options, in fact, that the screen can be professionally calibrated by the Imaging Science Foundation, with two 'ISF' picture presets provided for their engineers to use.

Performance

After some straightforward calibration the set delivers some really excellent image quality. As we usually find with LG LCD TVs, for instance, the 42LH4000's colours are extremely rich and dynamic, standing out in stark contrast to the slightly muted colours emitted by the Panasonic P37X10 plasma TV.

The 100Hz engine proves unexpectedly powerful, too, reducing judder to almost nothing, and helping pictures escape most of LCD's usual blurring and softness when showing motion. HD pictures look clean and cinematic, too, and thankfully the TV does better than previous LG generations at rescaling standard definition, making it look sharp without exaggerating noise.

The 42LH4000's budget nature does occasionally reveal itself, though. Some dark scenes, for instance, look a bit hollow and flat owing to insufficient shadow detailing. The 100Hz system does cause sporadic artefacting, although this can be minimised by turning it down low.

Finally, HD doesn't look quite as crisp as we'd ideally like. Still, with some clear and punchy audio keeping the often excellent pictures company, the 42LH4000 is overall far more enjoyable an AV performer than you've any right to expect for £620.

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