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The 42PX5D’s connectivity, HD Ready status, digital tuner and memory card options frankly already look good for £1,700, but we’ve still got a few features to uncover yet. Not least XD Engine processing, a proprietary LG picture-boosting system that works on no less than six different aspects of the image. Which are (deep breath): sharpness/clarity; contrast levels; motion while watching movies; colour vibrancy; brightness; and colour tones/blends. Crikey – if XD Engine really manages to put all that lot straight, we could really end up with something special.
More tricks of interest within the LG’s attractive onscreen menus include dedicated adjustments for flesh-, blue- and greentones, a low power mode that saves electricity by reducing the screen’s brightness output, picture in picture tools, and four different systems designed to tackle plasma’s problems with screen burn. Screen burn, lest you’re not familiar with it, can occur with plasma TVs if you leave a particularly colourful image element on screen for too long at a time, resulting in a shadow of that element being permanently left behind.
For all the 42PX5D’s budget-busting feature count, though, there is still one little thing missing that would have made our joy complete: there’s no way of setting timer events from the digital EPG, or sorting through it by genre.
The 42PX5D soon puts this tiny blemish to the back of our minds with its winning performance, though. Particularly impactful right from the off is its contrast range, which combines unusually profound black levels with impressively pure bright whites. These whites are well controlled too, so that they don’t overwhelm other parts of the picture as can happen on rival budget plasmas.
LG quotes a strikingly high 5000:1 contrast ratio for the 42PX5D, and its black-level performance suggests that this figure might not be so fanciful as you might imagine.
What’s more, the 42PX5D’s black levels don’t seem forced, in that they avoid the common ‘black hole’ look by displaying far more detail subtlety in dark areas than we’re used to for this money.