LG 42LW550T review

Excellent, affordable passive 42-inch 3D TV set with useful multimedia options

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LG 42lw550t

An edge LED backlight enables a slender, lightweight chassis that is ideal for wall mounting. The bezel around the screen is quite wide by today's standards, though, making the TV appear larger than some 42-inch sets.

It's certainly not unattractive, thanks to a glossy black finish and the addition of an extra centimetre or so of transparent trim protruding from its left and right extremities.

The 42LW550T's plentiful connections are accessed from the side and include four v1.4 HDMI inputs for HD and 3D video duties, two USBs for playing back video, photo and music files as well as optional Wi-Fi connectivity and a LAN port for PC streaming and access to LG's Smart TV platform.

The interesting thing about the 42LW550T's multimedia streaming abilities is that they can be delivered through PLEX. This provides a really slick and attractive interface to help you navigate and access all your PC's files, potentially taking much of the tedium out of the usual DLNA-style multimedia streaming.

The system works with both PC and Macs (although the 42LW550T failed to communicate with a nearby iMac during the course of this review) and seems a little buggy at the moment, but there's every chance that glitches will be ironed out by software updates.

Even in its current, imperfect state, PLEX is a worthy attempt to simplify access to multimedia on your TV.

The 42LW550T also has plenty of multimedia content you can access on PLEX, courtesy of the Smart TV system and interface. Pressing the Menu button on the remote control brings up a new 'server' screen packed with icons providing you with instant access to all your sources, plus LG's 'apps'. These apps include video sources such as the BBC iPlayer plus all manner of weird and occasionally wonderful infotainment and gaming services.

The presentation of this main jumping-off screen is very good, with the separation of the most important online features from the more trivial apps being particularly appreciated. The only problem is that a few too many of the second-tier apps are so eccentric it's hard to imagine anyone using them.

As with the majority of LG TVs these days, the 42LW550T carries loads of picture tweaks and adjustments. These include colour management, gamma controls, 10-point and two-point white balance adjustment, lots of flexibility around the MPEG and standard noise reduction systems, and different processing power levels for the set's TruMotion and Local Dimming features. In fact, so plentiful are the 42LW550T's adjustments that it comes fully endorsed by independent calibration experts the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF).

Anyone intimidated by all the subtle picture refinements on offer can take solace in the fact that getting involved with the finer aspects of picture calibration is entirely optional, but is aided by a Picture Wizard tool that guides you through a basic set-up process via a series of simple test signals. Plus, of course, if you're feeling flush you could always just pay an ISF engineer to pop round and calibrate it for you.

The final features worth mentioning are the 42LW550T's 3D tricks. The most significant of these is that the TV ships with no fewer than seven pairs of 3D glasses. The simple polarised lens design means they cost barely a couple of quid a pair, rather than the £100 or so a pair commanded by active shutter 3D glasses.

Obviously, the 42LW550T supports all the main 3D formats, including Blu-ray's alternate frame and Sky's side-by-side systems.