The 42LF66’s quoted contrast ratio, meanwhile, is an unusually high 5000:1, achieved as usual with LCD technology by a dynamic contrast system, where the TV’s backlight dims automatically when the TV is showing dark scenes.
Also catching our eye is LG’s XD Engine video processing system, tweaked to work with full HD sources, but retaining its customary emphasis on boosting colours, detailing, motion, black level and noise reduction.
Additionally the onscreen menus include MPEG noise reduction circuitry for reducing the blockiness that can afflict digital broadcasts, and a black level booster.
Unfortunately, though, this latter feature doesn’t seem to work as successfully as we’d like. It really doesn’t take very long in the presence of a dark movie scene or two, such as the exploration of the crashed ship in Alien, to note that the LG doesn’t have a particularly good black level response. Parts of the picture that should be more or less black instead look rather grey and washed out. In Alien’s case this results in a reduction of the film’s tension, since it’s just too tiring to keep looking out for signs of the alien lurking in dark corners.
To be fair we’re not saying here that the LG’s black levels are shockingly bad or anything; they’re not, in fact. But at the same time they’re certainly a good few paces behind those of the latest LCD TVs from Samsung, Panasonic, Philips and Sony.
The 42LF66 does at least try to hide its black level shortcomings, though, behind a spectacular ‘veil’ of exceptionally bright and fully saturated colours. Colour-rich games like Viva Pinata on the Xbox 360 practically explode off the screen, while daylight scenes in most HD movies we tried on the TV look consistently radiant.