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.