LG 42SL8000 42in LCD TV - LG 42SL8000

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
LG 42SL8000 42in LCD TV

Summary

Our Score:

9

Joining the 200Hz system in presenting us with some attractive 'numbers' are the 42SL8000's Full HD resolution, and a contrast ratio of 150,000:1 that's one of the highest we've seen from a non-LED, non-plasma TV.

As ever, such contrast ratios have to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt. But the fact that the 150,000:1 figure is way higher than anything seen from previous LG LCD TVs at least raises hopes that the TV will produce LG's best LCD black levels yet, overcoming the Korean brand's usual shortcomings in this crucial area.

Final bits and bobs worth running by you are: the 42SL8000's XD Engine video processor - a proprietary, multi-facetted LG system that's delivered solid if unspectacular results in the past; LG's RealCinema processor for enhanced Blu-ray playback; processors for enhancing colour saturations and contrast; and the option to choose between standard and wide colour gamuts.

The list above actually represents just a small sample of the plethora of options available via the 42SL8000's beautifully presented onscreen menus. In fact, so plentiful are the tweaks that the TV has been officially endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation, meaning that the TV carries two 'ISF' picture preset modes an ISF engineer can use to store picture settings optimised to your specific room conditions.

If we're honest, some LG TVs we've seen have slightly flattered to deceive, with their sultry good looks and eye-catching feature lists giving way to some pretty average performance standards. But thankfully, the 42SL8000 follows through on its up-front appeal with easily LG's best picture quality to date.

As I'd hoped, for instance, it produces a black level response that's not only streets ahead of LG's usual standards, but up there with the best offered by any brand's non-LED LCD TVs. Dark scenes in movies and console games suffer only a little with the grey clouding that's still so common in the LCD world. What's more, dark scenes retain enough subtle background and greyscale information to make them look full of depth.

Even something as relentlessly black as the stunning new Batman: Arkham Asylum Xbox 360/PS3 game is a constant joy to behold.

As with the vast majority of other LCD TVs, the 42SL8000's black levels do drop off quite a bit if you have to watch the screen from much of an angle. But if your main seating position is directly in front of your TV, you're laughing.

Helping to make the 42SL8000's new-found black level prowess look even more striking, meanwhile, is the impressive intensity and brightness of its colour response. LG LCD TVs have long excelled in this area, of course. But the improvement in black levels makes colours look even more dynamic, as well as making colour tones generally look more natural. Especially during dark scenes.

Hamish Campbell

September 8, 2009, 12:35 pm

Wow that looks gorgeous.

Philepo

September 8, 2009, 1:18 pm

that seems very poorly designed. why would you make a super flat screen so you could hang in on a wall like a picture and then have all the big fat cables coming out the back?

rav

September 8, 2009, 2:18 pm

Great review. I'm looking for a new living room telly and this could fit the bill. Just wanted to make a suggestion for your search filtering. Would be really useful if there was an option to select betweem, LCD, Plasma and LED. I'd prefer an LED but there's no easy way to find just those reviews.

Martin 6

September 8, 2009, 2:27 pm

So for about £1000 you get this TV


the Real question John though is:


If it was your money would you go for this TV or the Panasonic TX-P50G10 at £945 delivered from Dixons?


the reason I ask is I am getting ready to buy a nice new TV :)

PoisonJam

September 8, 2009, 3:48 pm

@ravmania - LED isn't really a technology on its own though. It's still an LCD, it's just LED backlit. OLED TVs are another thing and won't be priced this competitively for a while yet.





I think the review really undersells just how attractive this set is :)

Keithe6e

September 8, 2009, 3:54 pm

Is it me, or does the LG logo seem a bit in your face.. I wish manufactures would get out of the habit of advertising the product you have just bought. Nothing wrong with some sort of watermarking logo, but I hate these in your face shouting from the rooftops, "look at me I'm an LG".

comedian

September 8, 2009, 4:32 pm

That is a beautiful looking set.

rav

September 8, 2009, 6:13 pm

@Jordan


I know that LED backlit screens are still LCDs however John does distinguish in the review between the black level response of this TV and LED LCD TVs. Although they aren't a different technology their performace appears superior enough to warrant a distinction.





And it'd help me a lot right now when I'm trying to decide what to buy! Don't want to spend this much on a non LED LCD.

ffrankmccaffery

September 8, 2009, 8:16 pm

for sure beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for me this set is ridiculously overstyled. the bravia s-series reviewed here earlier this year by contrast an object lesson in understated design


@martin, the panny seems a much better choice in comparison aswell being futureproof with a built in hd freesat tuner

Enigma

September 9, 2009, 3:04 am

@Martin I share your sentiments.





Presently you can get LG 50PS3000 for £660-700; Panasonic TX-P50G10 was for £499 over the weekend in PC World (Dixons) & Samsung PS-50B451B for £635-799.





Keep in mind the viewing distance.

Geoff Richards

September 9, 2009, 3:21 am

That must be a typo - the Panasonic TX-P50G10 is a grand's worth of telly. How could it have been £499? Maybe a similarly named model?

Greg17b

September 9, 2009, 3:41 am

How about Divx, mkv etc playback via USB?

Enigma

September 9, 2009, 3:54 am

No typo. It was in large bold black numbers. Jut to be sure I checked with the staff and that it was not the price for the display model only but an already packed tv set or one delivered. I think it is a discontinued model and hence the price.





Having said that I got my brand spanking new Panasonic DMR-model 250GB HDD-DVD video recorder for about a £100 less than high street and most internet price markup before it was delivered to re-sellers by Pani. To my annoyance a month or so after delivery the same seller dropped the price another £20s or so.





Got other things similarly low priced when just out NEW rather than discontinued - pays to shop around.





How's this WD USB 1TB HDD for £68.99?

davidcrofter

September 9, 2009, 7:58 am

I think Enigma is getting confused here maybe the C10 for that price??





Because I feel pretty sure that if a 50" G10 was being sold for that price (half price almost) in two of the largest nationwide chains then it would be plastered all over the internet ...

Enigma

September 9, 2009, 11:48 pm

David I think Geoff could be right it may have been a typo by the retailer. In which case there are some lucky owners of the tv or some irate Customers.





I just had a look at the spec: Freesat tuner; Native 40,000:1 contrast; 600Hz Sub-field Drive Intelligent Frame Creation Pro etc.





Even for the 10C the £499 was still a very good offer given that the 10C is now £610 at Dixons online.

PoisonJam

September 15, 2009, 2:05 pm

@ravmania - I prefer to look at a screen's overall picture. I know you're not saying an LED screen will automatically be better than a non-LED LCD in all ways, but I think the technology is irrelevant; it's only the final picture that matters. Why write off non-LED screens?





Saying categorically that LED LCDs are better screens just wouldn't be accurate. What HiFi did a 42" TV group test recently and the only LED screen in the test came in 4th or 5th for overall image quality.





Not that I disagree that you should be able to group them into a different category if it makes things easier for you, tough...

davidcrofter

September 25, 2009, 9:57 pm

Agreed - seems that the term LED is SUPERIOR is this years Noob version of 2008's 1080p is a MUST ... people don't seem to understand that you get good and bad sets no matter what technology and processing is touted as being at work on the product and each have their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

Frank 7

October 8, 2009, 1:22 pm

I hope a review of 42/47SL9000 is coming soon

B.I.G.G.I.E

January 24, 2010, 6:25 pm

Have you noticed that reflaction on the screen-gloss when the background is black....Globally the tv set is AWESOME but that reflaction makes me nervous

Ian Cowley

October 25, 2016, 10:35 pm

Had the lg42sl8000 for 6-7 years now and the PSU popped, been a great TV.
6 years is a good lifetime for an LCD TV right?

Only problem I had was that 200mhz gimmick hoping it would run at 200mhz when i plugged my PC into it. Nope it ran at 60fps, no higher in the PC settings.

So if content from TV and blurays is under 60fps whats the point of 200mhz then?

Otherwise I have been happy with this TV mainly using it with my under TV PC for content.

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