Review: LG's 42LG70YD 42-Inch LCD TV

lg tv unboxed.jpgIf I were to try and sum up the LG 42LG70YD LCD TV in one word, I'd be torn between choosing either the word "average" or the word "awesome". Which one describes the TV best really depends on the quality of the content you're feeding it...That statement is true of any TV, of course, but with the 42LG70YD, it's even more pertinent. Watching the SD digital channels through the built-in HD tuner isn't a pleasant experience. You can see the grain in the footage, motion staggers across the screen and any writing that happens to be on the display is jagged like the teeth of a mountain range.

Flicking over to the HD channels, and things immediately improve. Suddenly not every pixel stands out as a clump of rough edges. It's easy to make out smaller details on the TV without having to squint and cringe, a look that ensures ridicule if you happen to be spotted by a family member (trust us on that one). But even the HDTV channels struggle with text, and darker scenes appear bereft of detail.

But when you stick in a Blu-ray disc, the set sings, and sings well. I plugged in Iron Man, and Robert Downey Jnr was so smooth and handsome I couldn't help but swoon a little (but only a little). The fast moving scenes were handled well by the 100Hz engine (which didn't work so well on SD and HD free-to-air footage for some reason) and the colours were vibrant, just like most LCD screens. The only major problem with the Blu-ray disc was that the darker scenes still tended to lose detail in the black.

While testing out the set, I found myself actually using the dedicated AV modes, for cinema, games and sports. The cinema mode in particular gave films like Iron Man that gritty cinema feeling, while the games setting adds to the whole gaming experience. The TV itself is a pretty attractive unit - black with a fine red trim running along the top and side edges of the set. It comes with a swivel stand as well, which while simple, looks good enough to slide into any room.

If you're an audio enthusiast, you should already have a set of external speakers, so this TVs average audio quality won't disappoint you too much. Everyone else should consider an external audio option, especially for blockbuster movies - listening to the full sound of Iron Man through the inbuilt stereo speakers was like watching Tony Stark fail with the ladies - unbelievably disappointing.

One other thing that bugged, although it wasn't the fault of LG, was the EPG - it took forever to update with current information - I gave up after five minutes waiting to find what was on Channel 7's HD channel. The FTA channels really need to sort that out.

Connections-wise, it's got everything you need, including three HDMI inputs (two at the back, one on the side), Optical audio out and PC RGB in. The side panel also has a USB slot, but it only plays back MP3 and JPG files. The UI is incredibly easy to use as well.

The question potential buyers of the 42LG70YD need to ask themselves is what kind of quality source they're planning on watching on it. If it's just for SD TV, there are better options out there. As a Full HD Blu-ray watching beast, it's very good. Of course, if you win this particular unit, you won't be complaining one way or the other, will you?