There’s more multimedia functionality we still haven’t mentioned too, courtesy of two USB ports able to play back the same wide selection of music, photo and video file formats deliverable via the LAN port. These include, in case you’re wondering, DivX HD, MKV and Xvid.
Extensive though the 42LV550T’s multimedia facilities are, to some extent they’re only the tip of the set’s feature iceberg. For instance, its full HD screen is illuminated by edge LED lighting complete with local dimming, where sections of the lights around the screen’s edges can be operated independently, to produce slightly more locally accurate luminance levels.
The set also joins almost all of LG’s range in being endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation, earning its professional calibration stripes for such features as a fulsome colour management system, gamma controls, and both 2pt and 10pt options for adjusting the set’s white balance.
If you’re feeling adventurous you might want to tinker around with the set’s processing-led features, too. These include edge enhancement, black boosters, sharpness boosters, colour boosters, noise reducers – there’s something for just about every aspect of the picture, in fact. Personally, though, we didn’t feel inclined to use any of them, with the possible – and we stress possible – exception of the TruMotion facility.
Designed to reduce judder and blur when the set’s handling movement, TruMotion’s presets all seem rather aggressive. But LG has taken a leaf out of Samsung’s book by introducing a Manual setting via which you can choose for yourself how potently the individual parts of TruMotion focussed on judder and blur work. And with some footage, most notably sport, setting the blur reduction to two or three and the judder to 1 or 2 just about yielded positive results without causing the image to suffer unpleasant amounts of unwanted side effects.
While we’re on the subject of motion processing, we should probably quickly mention the odd ‘MCI 500Hz’ spec listed against the 42LV550T on LG’s website. This does not by any means reflect a genuine 500Hz refresh rate in the 42LV550T. Rather it’s a suitably marketable high number created by combining a native 100Hz refresh rate with a scanning backlight and the set’s interpolation processing. Again we’re reminded of Samsung, with its similarly calculated Clear Motion Rate (CMR) figures.
A TV with as much going on as the 42LV550T could prove tricky to use. But for the most part its combination of attractive Smart Hub menus and a comfortable, logical remote control keeps things pretty simple. There’s even a Picture Wizard tool that guides you through a basic calibration process if you’re feeling too scared just to dive into all the adjustments yourself.
If you’re after a normal living room TV that might be called on to do occasional Blu-ray duties, the 42LV550T turns out to be a very likable option thanks to bright, sharp, colourful images that do a particularly good job with HD material. It truly is rare to find so much detail, so many vibrantly saturated yet believable colours, so much brightness and what initially appears like so much genuine contrast on a 42in TV costing under £600.