With LG focussing so much effort on its impressive slimline SL8000 LCD and upcoming LED SL9000 TVs right now, it would be easy to forget that the brand still makes plasma TVs. But when we spotted one of the those plasma TVs, the 42in 42PQ6000, selling online for under £500, we figured that forgetting about LG's plasma efforts most definitely is not an option!
In typical LG style, the 42PQ6000 doesn't look nearly as cheap as it is. In fact, it seems well built, and is definitely quite attractive in its 'single sheet' finish and glossy black colour scheme. There's no trace whatsoever of the plasticky finish and bland colour schemes seen on most mega-cheap big screens.
The 42PQ6000's connections aren't quite as comprehensive as we usually find with LG TVs, chiefly because there are only three HDMIs rather than four. But then in all honesty three is likely to be plenty for the relatively unambitious buyer likely to be attracted by a sub-£500 plasma TV.
What's more, the set actually has a connection surprise up its sleeve, too. For a built-in USB player proves able to play MP3, DivX (standard def only) and JPEG files - a level of multimedia friendliness seldom found at such an affordable level.
Even more startling than this, though, is the discovery that the 42PQ6000 has 600Hz processing. The relatively high level of processing required to insert enough frames into the picture to hit the '600Hz' target (the screen doesn't actually refresh itself 600 times a second) is a seriously surprising find on a 42in TV costing under £500. If it delivers the sort of judder-free motion clarity we know it's capable of, the 600Hz engine really could make the 42PQ6000 a massive bargain.
Especially as the 600Hz system is far from the end of the 42PQ6000's video processing. The set also enjoys LG's Dual XD Engine system, for instance, which works on everything from colour tones to contrast and sharpness. Plus there's a wide colour gamut option, adjustable dynamic colour and contrast processors, and an edge enhancement circuit.
Running side by side with these surprising (for the 42PQ6000's money) elements is a further raft of smaller but still handy tweaks, such as three gamma settings, noise reduction tools, and an optional film mode that adjusts the progressive processing to better cope with film as opposed to video sources.
So extensive are all the 42PQ6000's adjustments, in fact, that the TV carries a couple of presets labelled 'ISF' that can be used by trained installers from the Imaging Science Foundation. Provided you're willing to pay them for their time and trouble, of course.
Obviously it seems pretty unlikely that a buyer of a budget TV would want to stump up for a professional installation, but I guess it's still somehow reassuring to know that the TV can handle it if your bank balance can. Actually, come to think of it, calling in a professional installer for the 42PQ6000 would be quite interesting. For I'd be fascinated to know if they could manage to get a better picture out of it than I did!