Bad news alert: perhaps inevitably for a 42in plasma TV costing just £1,600, LG's 42PX4DV isn't fully HD Ready. But for once, that doesn't mean that HD fans should write it off...
Build quality is robust,and the combination of glossy black inner screen frame and matte grey outer chassis is effective,if hardly original.
Among the connections are,an HDMI socket and high-def-capable component video jacks.This means it's compatible with such next-gen HD sources as Sky's HD receiver and Bluray/ HD-DVD decks.So how come the TV's not truly HD Ready? Because its native resolution of 852 x 480 is too low.Still,if the TV downscales HD footage well enough,many may feel the loss of a little native resolution is a fair trade for futureproof connectivity.
The 42PX4DV doesn't skimp on other features.There's a digital tuner boasting 8-day electronic programme guide support (without direct timer event setting/genre search options).
There's also LG's XD Engine,to boost image clarity,colour saturations/tone,contrast,brightness, colour gradation/grayscaling,and frame rate handling.
There's plenty more,but instead we can reveal that all of the LG's up-front good stuff is not spoiled by a poor picture performance.
Black levels are excellent.Not quite as good as LG's extraordinary quoted contrast ratio of 10,000:1 would suggest,but dark scenes do enjoy genuine depth and dynamism.
The TV also impresses with its suppression of the traditional plasma problem of fizzing noise over motion, colour banding,and grey dottiness over dark areas.
Colours are excellent,too. Provided you set the saturation low, the tone is unusually natural for this money,especially during HD or progressive scan viewing.Thanks to exceptional brightness levels,richly saturated hues scream off the screen.
Given the 42PX4DV's lowly native resolution of 852 x 480,its fine detail response clearly warrants close attention.Starting with HD feeds,the lack of resolution undoubtedly results in a slight softness and lack of texture relative to some true HD Ready TVs. Also,the LG's downscaling system introduces a little extra dot crawl.
With standard definition sources the LG arguably looks sharper and cleaner than many of its higherresolution rivals.
There are other little niggles, though.HD pictures flicker slightly. Digital feeds through the HDMI jack can suffer low-level MPEG noise (this can be minimised by carefully limiting the brightness and contrast).
The 42PX4DV's sound is well above average.A touch more power and frequency range would have been nice,but for the money we were suitably impressed by the smoothly handled bass,subtle well-rounded trebles,the lack of harshness,and clean mid-range.
The 42PX4DV really is an intriguing proposition.Our HD obsession is such that we would probably choose to save up for a truly HD Ready TV.But if £1,600 is really as high as you're able to go,at least this LG delivers more quality,features and futureproofing than you've any right to expect. John Archer