Another key element in the 42SL8000’s winning picture formula is its sharpness. HD sources – especially Blu-rays – look pristine, with endless amounts of fine detail, exceptionally smooth colour blends, and that tantalising ‘snap’ that makes HD so beloved of all who’ve witnessed it at its best.
The ‘200Hz’ engine contributes to the LG’s HD sharpness too, as I would have hoped. There’s practically no loss of resolution at all as objects cross the screen, and judder is hugely reduced, too.
The 42SL8000’s 200Hz system isn’t quite as potent as those of Samsung and Sony’s ‘true’ 200Hz TVs. Plus its scanning backlight component does cause the sporadic appearance of the ‘three-ball’ phenomenon, where golf, cricket and tennis balls sometimes appear with a couple of ghostly echoes around them.
I’d recommend, too, that you only leave the 200Hz engine set to its ‘low’ level if you don’t want to find your pictures succumbing to lots of unwanted side effects, like flickering and localised lag around large moving objects.
Overall, though, while you should use it with caution, the 200Hz engine’s positives for me ultimately outweigh its negatives. What’s more, even if you decide to turn the system off completely for some fast-moving sports event, the 42SL8000’s picture still doesn’t prove very susceptible to LCD’s common blurring and judder phenomena.
Given that HD sadly still makes up the minority of our TV viewing time, it’s also great to find that the 42SL8000 is rather accomplished at rescaling standard definition to its Full HD pixel count. Colours retain their tonal authenticity much more during the rescaling process than we’ve become accustomed to seeing with LG TVs, and standard def images are sharpened without noise being excessively exaggerated.
Aside from the limited viewing angle issue and (largely avoidable) 200Hz artefacts mentioned earlier, the only negatives I could really come up with about the 42SL8000’s pictures are a slight tendency to over-sharpen some edges during very bright standard definition scenes, and the fact that the screen reflects ambient light from your room a little more obviously than I’d like.
The 42SL8000’s audio is better than I’d expected considering how slender the TV is. There’s much more raw power around than I’ve become accustomed to hearing from LG’s flat TVs, and this power is delivered without distortion or ‘muddiness’. High frequency sounds can occasionally sound a touch brittle, but otherwise it’s all more than satisfying. Especially if you’ve got the Clear Voice option engaged to soup up the reproduction of vocals.
Thanks to the 42SL8000, LG now has a truly outstanding LCD performer to add to its already well-established value and design talents. If this is the shape of things to come for LG, we could be in for a very interesting and competitive ride in the lead up to Christmas…