Pictures are very dynamic too, at least during HD viewing, as striking bright peak whites meet decent black levels. Admittedly black levels aren’t as deep as those witnessed on a number of other recent plasma TVs, with some slight greyness to be seen over the darkest areas. But the compensation for this from the way the peak whites come on so strongly is considerable.
A prime example of what I’m talking about can be seen in the early scenes of ”Batman Begins” on Blu-ray, as a sunlit Christian Bale in a cell in Ra’s Al Ghul’s castle stands out with almost glowing – but not unnatural – intensity against the darkness of his prison walls.
The 42PG6900’s very dynamic approach to HD also helps it deliver a really nice image with HD console games – especially as the TV additionally appears to enjoy an extremely low response time that ensures the screen reacts in timely fashion to your joystick antics. This very fast response time means the 42PG6900 produces motion without any of the blurring or smearing commonly witness with TVs using rival LCD technology, while onboard 100Hz processing additionally helps motion look stable and flicker-free.
I still detected slight signs of judder with horizontal movement, especially when watching 1080p/24 sources. But this judder is in my opinion acceptable given the 42PG6900’s price.
Turning to the 42PG6900’s recordings, the bottom line is that the situation appears to be very similar indeed to that seen with the LT75 models. This means that, sadly, you can still only record one programme at once. But it also means that, as we hoped, recordings of Freeview channels appear indistinguishable from the original broadcasts. Yeehah.
Analogue recordings made using the High picture quality setting, meanwhile, show a slight increase in grain and fuzzing versus original broadcasts, and the image is softer. But I’d still rate them as good. The Normal analogue recording mode is best avoided if you can manage it, as it produces a considerable increase in softness, artefacting and motion blur. That said, it’s still easily watchable if you really need to conserve space.
It’s worth adding here that although the operating system LG employs to deliver all of its Freeview+ functionality is seemingly no different to what we saw on the LT75 range, it’s still really well designed, enabling even a techno numpty to learn the recording/playback ropes in next to no time.
Sonically the 42PG6900 is a chip off the old LG block, using an ‘invisible’ speaker system that fires out sound from all four of the TV’s sides and has been tuned by audio guru Mark Levinson. And as usual the result is a well-rounded, reasonably powerful and clean soundstage, albeit one lacking in the sort of grandiose dynamics that the very best audio performers deliver.
As with the LT75 models, aside from the fact you can only record one channel at a time, I found myself really impressed with the 42PG6900’s Freeview+ implementation and still feel that the concept really deserves to find an audience. The 42PG6900 is also very cheap considering what’s on offer and its pictures – or at least its HD ones – look very nice on a casual first appraisal. However, closer scrutiny ultimately reveals the 42PG6900’s core picture performance to be some way short of the best the plasma world has to offer.