It’s also noticeable during HD movie viewing just how little noise the picture contains. Those rich colours are largely free from dot crawl, edges look crisp, and even that regular nemesis of LCD technology, motion blur, is rather better suppressed than we would have expected on such an affordable TV. The lack of this latter noise problem in particular also helps the 42LF66’s HD pictures look winningly crisp and detailed.
However, the black level issue we mentioned earlier is sadly not the only problem with the 42LF66’s HD pictures, for during dark scenes colours quite often slip slightly off key too. Skin tones start to look unnecessarily over-pink, and greens and reds both look slightly artificial.
Shifting down to standard definition sources throws up more trouble. Particularly unfortunate is the TV’s tendency to exaggerate any noise that might be contained in a source image – the price you have to pay, we guess, for the picture’s extreme aggression. But it’s arguably a price that’s a bit too steep for our liking. The TV tends to overcook edges during standard definition viewing too, leaving them looking harsh and somehow separate from the image as a whole.
There are one or two standard definition plus points, mind, including a rather sharper look to SD footage than is common on full HD sets, and a continuation of the impressive suppression of motion smearing we noted earlier. But unfortunately you tend to only notice these strengths after you’ve noticed the problems.
Moving on to the 42LF66’s audio, there’s nothing significant to complain about. The speakers look quite small, but LG has managed to magic up plenty of volume and dynamic range from somewhere.
After spending quality time with the 42LF66, it’s hard to escape the feeling that LG is rather dropping behind its Korean neighbour Samsung when it comes to delivering great LCD picture quality. Black levels in particular need to improve if LG wants to keep up with the best.
We guess that by LCD standards the LG’s £914 asking price is very reasonable for a 42in screen. But let’s not forget that at 42in the 42LF66 also treads on plasma TV turf, and when considered against similarly priced 42in plasmas such as Samsung’s 42Q97HD or Panasonic’s 42PX70, even with its full HD pixel count the 42LF66 again doesn’t quite stack up.