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With LCD screen sizes creeping inexorably larger, plasma's foothold in the 42in arena is getting increasingly tenuous. Indeed, even arch plasma fan Pioneer hasn't bothered with a new 42in plasma model for its latest 9th-generation Kuro plasma range.
But, while the market pressures on 42in plasma TVs like today's LG 42PG6000 might be intense, we personally still have a place in our hearts for them. For even though LCD technology is improving exceptionally fast right now, there's still hope this new LG model will reaffirm our belief that plasma really takes some beating when it comes to those key video factors of black-level response and crisp motion presentation.
Plus, if the 42PG6000's frankly remarkable sub-£600 price tag is anything to go by, plasma is still ahead of LCD on value too. And that's one thing the great British buying public always responds to, even if they're unswayed by such ‘trivialities' as picture quality.
As usual with LG, the 42PG6000 is a pretty attractive TV to look at - even though it doesn't sport the same ‘red rear end' and fancy transparent circular ‘portal' carried by LG's 6000-series LCD models. The gloss black finish is clean and elegant, the neat little arced power light to bottom right adds a subtle dash of panache, and most striking of all, there's no ‘ridge' between the screen frame and the screen itself. Instead the whole front of the TV is one perfectly smooth ‘sheet'.
As well as looking cool, especially from the side, this totally flat design reflects LG's move away from plasma's usual thick front glass section in favour of a single ‘film filter' that does away with the usual secondary imaging glitch that can affect normal plasma screens during off-axis viewing.
The sheer fascia has also required LG to innovate in the audio department, developing for the PG6000 series a radiating speaker design that produces audio from each of the TV's edges. What's more, the sound produced has apparently been tuned by renowned audio guru, Mark Levinson. Woo.
The 42PG6000's up-front appeal grows yet further with the discovery of a very impressive four HDMIs among its connections - all of which are v1.3-certified, and can take Deep Colour as well as 1080p/24fps feeds.
There's more connection ‘glory' too, in the shape of a USB 2.0 port for JPEG and MP3 playback, a D-Sub PC port, a digital audio output, and an RS-232C jack for integrating the 42PG6000 into a full AV control system.