While a worrying number of manufacturers are still struggling to come to terms with the demands of the fast-approaching high-definition world,LG has quietly stolen an HD march on many of its rivals with the RZ-42PY10X: a strikingly affordable HD Ready 42in plasma TV fully equipped for whatever the HD future may hold.
In case you're still uncertain what being 'HD Ready' really means,it boils down to three key points.First, the RZ-42PY10X has enough pixels in its screen to show a highdefinition picture without having to downscale it. In this screen's case, the resolution is 1,280 x 768.
Next, the screen carries a digital video input able to handle the key HDCP anti-piracy protocols likely to be demanded by most HD content in the future.Finally,the RZ-42PY10X can take analogue high-definition feeds (via a set of component video inputs) and handle all the key HD picture formats.
In typical LG fashion,the RZ-42PY10X houses all its futurefriendly tricks in a strikingly attractive body,complete with glossy black screen frame,metallic trim,lovely backlit logos and an unusually skinny figure.
The other key point about the screen apart from being HD Ready is that it uses XD Engine,LG's in-house picture processing system for boosting brightness, reducing noise,and improving colours, contrast and fine detail levels.
The RZ-42PY10X's HD performance is first class.Particularly striking is its detail response, with full justice being done to the extra resolution of high-def pictures.The XD Engine processing knows when to draw back and let the high-def source do the talking,too,ensuring that the picture looks superbly natural, without any digital artefacting.
Digital feeds via the DVI jack, meanwhile,suffer little of the MPEG blocking witnessed on some other screens of late.Plus there's practically no sign of plasma's buzzing dots over horizontal motion,or colour banding over backgrounds.
Another key strength is its black-level response.Dark areas of the picture look black rather than greyed over, helping the picture achieve good depth and solidity. Colours mostly impress too, with the richness of hues only being matched by their authenticity.
Unfortunately,though,the screen's picture drops off in quality more than we'd like with non-HD sources.When pushed harder by a lower-quality source,XD Engine occasionally seems to gets a bit confused by what's noise in the source and what isn't.This results in the picture occasionally looking a bit processed and dark areas suffering with a touch of green dot crawl.
The RZ-42PY10X is a confident audio performer. It underpins an impressively wide soundstage with solid bass, avoids treble harshness and can go good and loud without distortion or cabinet rattle.
Inevitably for a £2,500 HD Ready screen,the RZ-42PY10X isn't perfect, but if you're determined to get your hands on all the upcoming HD sources as soon as possible, it's the TV's prowess with HD that really matters and in that department it's a star.