LG 42LW550T review

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

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  • Seven 3D glasses included for free
  • Relatively relaxing passive 3D pictures
  • No 3D flicker
  • Bright and punchy images
  • Fair value


  • Lack of 3D detail
  • Slightly jagged contours in 3D
  • Poor input lag

LG's passive Cinema 3D technology has so far proved hit and miss. The 47LW550T impressed, while the 55LW650T disappointed, the 42-inch 42LW550T arrives with mixed expectations.

It is also the latest combatant in the increasingly rancorous scuffle between active shutter and FPR (Film Patterned Retarder) 3D technology.

The former presents two consecutive full HD images, one for each eye, that are cycled quickly and viewed through a pair of shuttering glasses causing your brain to combine them into a single, three-dimensional image. FPR, on the other hand, uses a polarising film on the front of a screen that creates a 3D image when observed with cheap, non-powered glasses.

What's going to be particularly interesting about the 42LW550T is what difference if any the relative smallness of its screen (versus the previously tested 55-inch and 47-inch FPR models) will make to the Cinema 3D experience, as it seems possible, maybe even probable, that its reduced size will mitigate the impact of FPR's potential shortcomings.

The 550T part of its name shows that the 42LW550T and its 55-inch and 47-inch siblings belong in the middle of the current LG FPR 3D range, below the top-level LW650Ts and above the LW450Us.

This means it's got 100Hz processing versus the 55LW650T, 47LW650T and 42LW650T models' 200Hz; an 8,000,000:1 contrast ratio versus the 9,000,000:1 of the LW650Ts and a marginally slower panel response time, but these differences aren't major, raising hopes of a winning balance of specification, performance and value.

The difference between the LW550T series and the 55LW450U, 47LW450U, 42LW450U and 32LW450U, meanwhile, is simply that the 450U-suffxed models lack LG's new Smart TV online platform.