The generally punchy look to the 42LH3000’s pictures wouldn’t be possible if the set wasn’t also at least a passable black level performer, since a poor black level would both limit the sense of dynamic range produced during bright scenes, and damage the set’s colour tones. In fact, where a generally bright scene contains a black element or two on the 42LH3000, those black elements really do look black, not the trademark LCD grey.
Before you get too excited by this, though, I’m duty bound to report that the 42LH3000’s black levels don’t look as exciting during really dark scenes. In the tunnels under Alcatraz in ace actioner ”The Rock” for instance, the 42LH3000 certainly shows signs of the telltale grey mist effect found over blackness to some extent on all CCFL LCD TVs. This can also inevitably leave really dark scenes looking a touch hollow at times, as depth-creating background details are lost in the gentle murk.
The minor black level issues are exacerbated, moreover, as we would again expect with LCD technology, if you have to watch the 42LH3000 from much of an angle. And other niggles include a sometimes slightly noisy look to standard definition images, and a degree of (not entirely uncinematic!) judder when watching 24p Blu-ray feeds.
The 42LH3000’s sound is flawed too, in that it doesn’t have enough bass on hand to prevent really loud scenes or sounds from feeling a bit harsh and one-dimensional. But there’s also more power and soundstage size than I was expecting, allowing the speakers to sound absolutely fine with typical daytime TV fodder, and certainly not completely out of their depth during my explosion-packed run-through of ”The Rock”.
In fact, while the 42LH3000‘s flaws might give people enough reason to shop around (Samsung’s LE40B550 springs to mind), if your main aim is to maximise the screen size and picture quality you can get for £500, this LG model currently takes some beating.
Despite not having much to say for itself in the features department, the 42LH3000 certainly performs well enough to make its £500 price look like a steal.
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