I was also quite impressed by the sharpness of standard definition pictures, as the XD Engine upscales them to the screen’s full HD resolution with a really intelligent touch. There’s a bit more noise in these upscaled pictures than you get with the very best TVs, but the extra sharpness and mostly natural colours both make standard definition good enough, in my opinion, for such an affordable screen.
In some ways the TruMotion system works well too, really reducing the judder and blurring that LCD TVs so commonly suffer with. The effect isn’t quite as silky as with Philips’ HD Natural Motion or Sony’s 200Hz, but it’s better than I’d expected considering the 42LG6100’s price point.
However, I also found the TruMotion system a bit more glitchy than I’d like. Occasionally the system causes edges to flicker or shimmer during really rapid movement, presumably as the processing struggles to keep up. A particularly striking example of this occurs during the opening credits of Casino Royale, as the camera scrolls along an extreme close up of a computer screen. The pixel structure of the screen shimmers and distorts in a really quite strange fashion as the camera moves over it.
I also noticed that with high definition the TruMotion processing can cause occasional shots to stutter, as if a frame or two has been dropped. Casino Royale again serves up a great example of this, with strangely jumpy facial close-ups of Bond during the black and white fight in the toilets during the film’s prologue.
To be honest, these sorts of TruMotion problems occurred just often enough to persuade me to switch the system off for much of the time. But then if you do that, the image becomes much more prone to judder – though there’s not as much motion blurring as we might have anticipated.
Another issue I have with the 42LG6100 is the way its HD images don’t look particularly sharp. There just isn’t the same sense of exquisite texture, fine detail and ‘snap’ during, say, the desert sequences of No Country For Old Men that I’ve seen on some other full HD TVs.
Also, while black levels are reasonably deep, they do lack a little shadow detail versus the best screens out there. And as a final whinge, I have to say I wasn’t blown away by the 42LG6100’s audio. Trebles sound a touch sibilant, and a lack of bass can leave action scenes sounding slightly muddy and fat. Normal daytime TV sounds OK, but for speakers supposedly tuned by audio guru Mark Levinson, I have to say I would have expected something slightly better.
The 42LG6100’s stunning slim-line design and strikingly low price will doubtless win it many friends. And while its performance might not be quite good enough to earn the TV a wholehearted recommendation, I do at least feel confident that nobody seduced by the TV’s looks and price will be left feeling disappointed overall.