The 42LH3000 does make its mark, though, with its set up flexibility. For tucked away inside an ‘Advanced’ sub-menu of the picture adjustments is a startlingly long list of picture fine-tuning elements. Among the most notable of these are separate ‘dynamic’ colour and contrast boosters, a gamma adjustment, black level adjustments, and noise reduction routines.
In keeping with all of LG’s more highly specified TVs, in fact, the 42LH3000 has been approved by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), leading to the inclusion of two ISF presets within the TV’s picture presets. These can be used by an ISF engineer to store calibrated pictures for Night and Day use.
If you’d rather not blow cash on an ISF installer and want to calibrate the TV yourself, you’ll really appreciate just how easy to read and navigate the 42LH3000’s onscreen menus are. Furthermore, if you don’t want to even splash out on a calibration aid like the HD Video Essentials Blu-ray, LG has thoughtfully built a few test signals into the 42LH3000, which you can access via a Picture Wizard utility.
Of course, all this talk of calibration and set-up flexibility means nothing if your efforts can’t result in good picture quality. So it’s a relief to find that while not perfect by any means, the 42LH3000’s pictures are certainly nothing like the horror show we usually experience when you dip into its sort of price territory.
The set is particularly striking with high definition sources, thanks to a combination of extreme sharpness and detailing, and a typically aggressive (for LG) approach to colours and brightness. Playing ”Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2” on the screen is thus a crystal clear pleasure. But since the set also suffers surprisingly little with motion blur, it also handles your average action movie Blu-ray much better than you might think.
There was a time when LG’s aggressive approach to colours and brightness came at the expense of natural tones and colour blend subtlety. But even a set as relatively low-rent as the 42LH3000 now largely – though not quite totally – escapes from these old problems, delivering a wide-ranging, authentic colour palette for the vast majority of the time.
A little more blend finesse might have avoided a niggle whereby faces can look a bit plasticky and over-smooth. But at least the image is free of actual colour blend ‘striping’, as well as the flat look that can be caused by imprecise colour blends not allowing shapes to develop a ‘3D’ appearance.