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With Panasonic's Freesat TVs apparently selling like hotcakes (so much as anything is selling like hotcakes these days), it's no surprise whatsoever to find other brands leaping aboard the Freesat TV bandwagon now that Panasonic's window of Freesat exclusivity has ended.
And it's even less of a surprise to find the LG brand name slapped on the front of the first non-Panasonic Freesat TV to hit our test benches, the 42LF7700. For LG is generally pretty fleet of foot when it comes to serving up the latest features.
What is a surprise, however, is the 42LF7700's price. While we've yet to find a website in the UK selling the TV, we're hearing that it will be available for around £1,100. This really does look decent value when you consider that Panasonic's 42in Freesat TV, the TH-42PZ81, still generally costs you £1,200 or more, despite being around for a good many months now.
Aesthetically the 42LF7700 is rather more conservative than I'd expected given LG's traditional design flare. The bezel is simply a very sheer and angular glossy rectangle, there's no sign of LG's regularly used red-illuminated extended bottom edge, and the colour is almost completely black, with no trace of fancy stuff like the bright red rear panel found on the brand's Scarlet range of TVs. There's some curious semi-translucent effect going on along a slightly angled-back section at the very bottom of the TV, but even this is the definition of subtle.
Not that such subtlety is necessarily a bad thing, of course. For there's a decent chance that anyone wanting a Freesat decoder built into a TV isn't a big fan of AV clutter, and so will welcome a TV that keeps itself to itself.
The most instantly striking thing about the 42LF7700's connections, meanwhile, is the female satellite connection familiar to anyone who's ever had Sky in their lives. There's only one of these jacks, revealing that the 42LF7700 doesn't feature any of the built-in HDD recording talents found on LG's Freeview+ TVs. But while this would have been extremely desirable, it's hardly fair to expect such functionality on LG's debut Freesat TV - especially when it's so affordable.
Elsewhere on the connections roster are three HDMIs (satisfactory when you consider that the built-in Freesat tuner replaces one of the potential external HDMI sources a ‘normal' TV would have to cater for), a USB jack for JPEG and MP3 playback, a D-Sub PC port, and an Ethernet jack. Before you start dreaming of streaming stuff into the 42LF7700 from your PC, though, you should note that this Ethernet jack is only there for as yet unspecified reasons as part of the Freesat spec. Our belief, though, is that it will allow the TV to use the BBC iPlayer once all the necessary technical checks and legal bits and bobs have finally been ironed out.
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