In keeping with its standard definition focus, the 42LT75 is not a full HD TV, instead sticking at the HD Ready resolution level of 1,366 x 768. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not a very enjoyable HD performer.
For instance, crisp HD sources like The Prestige on HD DVD look as sharp and detailed as they do on any other HD Ready TV we can think of – and video noise is at a premium. The general crispness of the presentation is enhanced, too, by the fact that there’s even less motion blur than we reported with standard definition, while colours are even more subtly believable in tone.
Another quality that holds up reasonably well with standard and high definition alike is the 42LT75’s black level response. We’re not talking about anything class-leading or benchmark-setting here; there are certainly other sets around that do deeper, more natural black levels still. But the degree of greyness sitting over dark scenes like the shudder-inducing final tracking shot in the basement of Robert Angier’s old theatre in The Prestige is seldom if ever severe enough to really distract you from what you’re watching.
Slightly more troubling, perhaps, is the fact that the 42LT75’s colours don’t look as aggressively vibrant and eye-catching as they do on most of LG’s recent LCD output. Still, they certainly don’t look drab, and if a little ‘reining in’ has helped LG achieve the more natural toning we’ve been talking about, then we’ll say no more about it.
One definite negative that might force a few interested parties to look elsewhere for their next digital TV, though, is the way the digital feed loses strength as it passes through the 42LT75’s first tuner and into the second one. In other words, when we dampened our digital reception strength to the sort of levels you might get if you happen to live in a borderline area of digital TV reception, the second tuner often struggled to show a clean, stable picture, even though the first tuner held up nicely. So we strongly urge you to have your Freeview reception strength professionally checked before committing to a 42LT75.
The 42LT75 is, in keeping with most LG flat TVs, a very slinky looker. But its slender design hasn’t precluded it from serving up some robust audio, complete with rich, rounded vocals, a winningly wide soundstage, and even a fair dollop of bass by flat TV standards. A bit more treble clarity would have given the soundstage more ‘sparkle’ and the provided pseudo-surround sound mode is predictably awful. But overall the 42LT75’s sound provides a likeable accompaniment for its much-improved pictures.
LG is to be heartily congratulated on the 42LT75. The Freeview Playback system turns out to be a triumph, even in this, its debut TV incarnation. And thankfully LG has really thrown its support behind the new technology by doing a much better job showing Freeview pictures than it ever has before.
Add all this to a frankly astoundingly low price for such a large, feature-laden TV, and LG deserves to have a resounding hit on its hands.