Perhaps the L42VP01’s most surprising strength is how noiseless its HD pictures look. We wouldn’t have been at all surprised to find trouble from grain and dot crawl at the very least given the lack of the Picture Master HD system, but things generally look as clean as the proverbial whistle.
None of this is to say, though, that Hitachi’s first trip into big-screen LCD waters has been an unmitigated success. For starters, while HD material looks the business in many ways, it does have one pretty serious flaw: its colours look a bit muted and, as a result, occasionally unnatural in tone.
The general extreme sharpness of HD pictures on the L42VP01 is also dented slightly by some gentle resolution loss when showing fast-moving objects, in classic LCD style.
Troubling, too, is how far pictures deteriorate when you swap to standard definition. Particularly striking is how relatively soft and short of detail standard definition images look, suggesting that the L42VP01’s image scaling engine really isn’t the best (ah, Picture Master HD, how we miss you…). But standard def images also suffer with less consistent colour tones and slightly more motion blur.
Sonically, the L42VP01 is a generally very likeable proposition. Tucked away within the set’s slender frame are speakers of surprising power and range, and which prove able to deliver the bombastic shenanigans of our ‘Pirates 3′ Blu-ray with more frequency range and sheer volume than you’d expect.
Provided you’re able to get as much high definition material into its diet as possible, even with its slightly muted colour palette, the L42VP01 is worth considering for its very low price. If good old standard definition Freeview is still your main TV source, though, you’re probably best advised to look elsewhere.