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The picture may not be top-notch, but the price is quite appealing for a 42-inch TV

The aforementioned 'overscan' mode expands the picture very slightly, so that unwanted junk at the top or bottom of the picture (such as teletext, video ident lines or analogue VCR head-switching noise) is shunted out of sight. The feature might be useful if you have been using one of those DVD recorders with an in-built VCR to convert your old VHS tapes. Some digital TV sources can also benefit from the feature.

For Blu-ray and decent HDMI-interfaced DVD players, though, keep it switched out (i.e. in the alternative 'Underscan' mode) to avoid scaling artifacts like 'jaggies' and a slight but nevertheless perceptible loss of detail. In the features menu, you'll find picture format options. We recommend 'Native', for similar reasons.

No amount of tweaking can improve a picture that is fundamentally ropey by contemporary standards. Details may be quite sharp, but they can be spoiled by fuzzy outlines, especially in areas of saturated colour.


Given the SJ42DMBB's low price, contrast range and greyscale gradations are just about acceptable, but what should be pure black simply isn't. Not even an 'X-Contrast' feature, which seems to tailor the backlight brightness to reflect scene content, makes much difference.

Skin tones have an unnaturally yellow tinge, although this can be tamed ('reddened' would perhaps be a better word) by switching 'Flesh tone' to on. You'll find this adjustment in the 'Advanced Control' menu.

Motion judder

Another criticism is the frequent presence of motion judder, certainly with Blu-ray content. The SJ42DMBB may be compatible with 24p sources, but we found ourselves switching to one of our player's alternative modes.

Unfortunately, none could address this problem, which can be just as annoying as those big-brand processing modes that make everything move as if on ice. Then there's the digital tuner.

Quite often, pictures were swimming in a sea of artifacts (edge fuzz, stepping on diagonals, macroblocking) unless you're some distance away from the set. Detailing is lacklustre, too, and there's a noticeably 'plastic' look to faces.

Noise reduction (which lives in the 'advanced control' menu) has no effect on these digital artefacts: it's been included for the treatment of analogue sources. As a computer monitor, though, the SJ42DMBB is impressive.