If you're looking for a smart screen that delivers cracking hi-definition television for a low price, the LG 42LS570T should be in your sights. Granted, it's not the most versatile performer, but instead it's the definition of good value.
Let's start with the dodgy stuff; Freeview HD, or rather, the standard-definition channels.
The Resolution Upscaler included here is not a patch on the Super Resolution found on sets higher up the LG pantheon, and we found that it made little difference.
An old episode of QI on Dave appears mottled with noise and low bit rate squelches around the heads of the panelists, though there's no jagged edges.
Switch to an HD channel and those problems disappear, to reveal a dynamic image with punchy colours and plenty of contrast.
For watching our Blu-ray of The Avengers,the ISF Expert2 setting proved the closest preset to our tastes (though Cinema is pretty similar), and if you tone down the backlight and push the contrast up a notch it creates a very respectable picture.
The LG 42LS570T uses its Full HD resolution to great effect, with excellent detailing in still images both bright and murky, while colour is impressively subtle, with skin tones containing plenty of depth.
In one bright scene, the black leather coat of Nick Fury is reasonably detailed within, but when the light dips, most of that good work is rubbed out.
The LG 42LS570T creates enough inky blacks to impress in most sequences, but night-time images lack contrast, with dark elements of the image merging to become a black hole.
The main issue with the LG 42LS570T's panel is an age-old LCD problem with blur and judder, though it does address it rather well. Leave it alone and the panel in the LG 42LS570T's panel loses resolution and appears to judder slightly each time the camera pans.
A still image of the Black Widow displays startling detail, with fine skin and even beads of sweat visible, but that strong performance is undone when she attacks her interrogators, causing a noticeable loss of resolution during the fight.
The cure is to engage TruMotion, a frame interpolation tech of the kind that almost never works. The LG 42LS570T bucks that trend, though with some side-effects; engaged on its Clear setting (at 70% power) it introduces a hyper-real, video-like look that's as transfixing as it is effective at removing judder, especially, but also blur.
It's evident at the Stuttgart Confrontation in The Avengers, when crowds rush through the building - it's so smooth. However, just as visible is flicker around moving objects.
In another sequence, as the Black Widow peels away after a backwards head-butt, she leaves a bubbly trail of artefacts in her wake. Yuck.
Take TruMotion down to its Smooth (30%) setting and those problems are almost eradicated, but we'd advise taking it down a notch further, using the user-defined setting, to retain the judder-free picture without flicker.
It's also worth noting that if you leave the LG 42LS570T on the standard or vivid setting, the viewing angle tends to be narrow. Engage Cinema or one of the ISF settings and it's far easier to watch from the wings.
Lastly, there is one other slight picture oddity. While skipping around the GUI menu, the picture parameters drastically alter - and we're not sure why.
It's most noticeable when accessing a USB stick menu on SmartShare, when a carefully tuned picture temporarily swaps back to a brighter, more vivid picture setting, before returning to its former parameters when video starts playing.
At worst it's distracting, though it's likely to annoy media-savvy types regularly using the TV's USB slots.
You won't find a reference-quality approach to contrast on the LG 42LS570T, and nor is it the most versatile performer available. But it's got enough in the way of contrast, colour and detail to please the average user.
And at this low, low price, that's just fine by us.