Before getting into the 42PG6000’s specification and features, it’s worth adding here that it employs an excellent new onscreen menu system that replaces the usual reams of boring text with extremely well organised, large and attractively presented icons that make the TV more or less idiot-proof.
Probably inevitably for its money, the 42PG6000 is not a Full HD screen, but rather it carries 1,024 x 768 pixels, with the 16:9 shape being achieved by stretching the pixels horizontally – a technique that’s reckoned to deliver improved colour balance and tones.
LG’s claimed contrast ratio for the set is a very good-looking 30,000:1, while image processing comes courtesy of LG’s once-bland but ever-improving XD Engine system. In fact, the latest version of the XD Engine employs two chipsets – one to work on the input/source and one for the panel itself – both designed in-house by LG to deliver greater harmony than you’d get where a manufacturer has sourced different chipsets from third parties.
Not that the XD Engine is the only image processor at work. The set also employs 100Hz processing, designed to make images more stable and less troubled by flicker, especially over edge detailing during camera pans.
Other handy bits and bobs up the 42PG6000’s sleeve include a Game mode for optimising the screen’s performance with console sources, a Clear Voice mode that makes vocals in a sound mix easier to distinguish, and the fact that the onscreen display for the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide is now mapped to the screen’s HD resolution, making it look far sharper than was the case previously.
There’s been precious little so far that might explain how LG can ‘give away’ the 42LG6000 so cheaply. And in many ways this feeling continues into its picture performance.
Black levels, for instance, are very good. Not Pioneer or Panasonic levels of good, perhaps; there’s slightly more greyness in the LG’s blacks than those of the two class leaders. But they’re certainly good enough to humiliate many LCD competitors – especially in terms of the amount of shadow detailing retained in dark picture areas.
HD images also benefit from an impressive colour palette, combining rich saturations with largely natural tones, even when it comes to that trickiest of customers; skin tones. It thus handles better than most, for instance, the really quite difficult palette of flesh on display during all the casino scenes of ”Casino Royale” on Blu-ray. Colours still aren’t completely perfect; occasionally a touch too much orange seeps in, while the greens of some foliage backdrops can look a touch forced. Nonetheless LG is still to be commended for the improvements it’s delivered at such a knock-down price.