LG 42LE4900 review

LG's great value 42-inch edge-LED set has some tasty features, but can its pictures cut the mustard at this price?

LG 42LE4900
LG's great value 42-inch edge-LED set has some tasty features

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As mentioned previously, the 42LE4900 boasts a feature list that may exceed what you expect from a sub-£600 set.

Without 3D to hog the headlines, the honour of attention-grabber supreme goes to the Freeview HD tuner, which will no doubt be the first item on many people's shopping list. BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV1 HD, Channel 4 HD – they're all there, ready and able to make your eyes pop out with their scissor-sharp detail.

Then there's DLNA networking, which is now very much an established part of the home entertainment landscape. It enables you to stream movies, music and photos from your PCs, laptops and other entertainment devices, and, as normal for LG gear, it welcomes all formats.

It's joined on the spec sheet by NetCast, which was a handy little feature when it first emerged, but is now looking tired and hamstrung by a dearth of compelling content – you get YouTube, Picasa and AccuWeather.com, only one of which is worth bothering with.

Thankfully, 2011 promises great things for LG's internet TV offering with the introduction of its new Smart TV system, which bumps up the content and brings full-on web browsing to the table. For now though, the 42LE4900 will have to make do with the old version.

LG 42le4900 review

These services are piped into the Ethernet port, which also will bring any future IPTV services on Freeview HD to your living room. Have a butcher's on the back panel and you'll spot two USB ports, which enable you to play MP3, DivX HD, WMV HD, MP4, XviD and JPEG files from memory devices.

Elsewhere the 42LE4900 goes the extra mile when it comes to picture adjustments. These include LG's regular Imaging Science Foundation-approved Expert Mode settings, which make it possible for a professional engineer to come over to your house and spend a few hours calibrating the set to within an inch of its life.

Tweaks include a deep and detailed colour management system, with brightness, contrast and tint settings for red, green and blue, plus gamma, noise reduction, black level, colour gamut and temperature settings. But if you're a little bit shy about all that stuff, the built-in Picture Wizard makes it easy to get the picture looking shipshape.

They're joined by other modes such as Dynamic Contrast, Dynamic Colour, Real Cinema, Eye Care, xvYCC, Clear White and an energy saving setting if you're concerned about your carbon footprint.

Despite its ultra-slim profile, LG has managed to squeeze a considerable amount of connections onto the rear panel and along the side, including four HDMI inputs, optical digital audio output, two sets of component inputs, composite input, PC input and a good old-fashioned Scart socket.