Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
LG has, over the years, tended to shoot above its price category in innovation and styling. I suspect that the LG 42LG60FD ‘Scarlet’ LCD TV has got to be its boldest move yet in regard to the latter, and not a bad effort for the former.
There are a host of features in this TV, but let us start by looking at the most obvious one: styling. Even though the TV has a decent sized 107 cm (42 inch) screen – with a full high definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels – it is designed to be placed with considerable abandon. That’s because there is no need to hide the pack of the panel. Indeed, most of the back of the unit is a smoothly curved, slightly iridescent, red-coloured panel. It may not fit in with your particular furnishings, but you will never be ashamed to let its behind be seen in your home. This is useful since the TV swivels on the supplied desktop stand.
This TV also benefits from remarkable slimness, being a mere 81 mm thick. Other styling details include a lit ring in the centre below the display panel (this can be switched off if you prefer) and the lack of a speaker grille. That’s because LG uses what it calls its ‘Invisible Speaker’ technology, which seems to vibrate the panel below the display as the speakers.
The TV has a built-in high definition TV tuner in addition to the analog one. It has a stack of HDMI inputs – four! – and also a USB socket. From this you can display digital photos (in high definition, of course), or play MP3 music.
The black levels offered by this TV were respectable, and most importantly were even, without mottled patches of light and dark over the screen. The dynamic backlight generally delivered a useful stretch in black detail during dark scenes (you might have to enable this with the ‘Fresh Contrast’ setting under the Advanced or Expert menu options – in the review unit it was off by default).
LG has added a host of picture control options. First, there is an excellent ‘Just Scan’ option for high definition input. This maps all the incoming pixels directly to matching display pixels, eliminating scaling completely. What you see on the screen is precisely what was on the Blu-ray disc. Or, for that matter, in the HDTV broadcast.
Second, if you choose one of the two ‘Expert’ picture modes, there is an enormous range of colour adjustments that allow you to fine tune the colour balance across the entire black to white scale. If you’re into tweaking, you will love this TV.
The TV supported 1080p video from Blu-ray and produced an immaculately sharp and detailed image that was simply glorious to look at. Except that it was a bit jerky. I gave 1080p24 a whirl, in the hope that this most film-like of output modes from Blu-ray would smooth things up, but this seemed to cause a little skip in the video display every second or two in a disconcerting way, so it was best to leave the Blu-ray player’s output set at 1080p60. PAL DVDs also worked best delivered in progressive scan format from a high quality DVD player.
The unusual speakers actually sounded pretty decent, but there was almost no stereo separation. With the balance control set fully left, the sound seemed to emerge only very slightly to the left of centre. Likewise for the right.
Nonetheless, the colour performance of this TV, along with the good black levels and superb styling made it a very attractive unit indeed.
Other models in the LG Scarlet LCD TV range
Reviewed here is the 50Hz – 42″ Full HD LCD TV model. Here’s the full LG Scarlet range:
- 50Hz – 32″ HD LCD TV RRP: $1,399
- 50Hz – 42″ Full HD LCD TV RRP: $2,499
- 50Hz – 47″ Full HD LCD TV RRP: $3,299
- 100Hz – 42″ Full HD LCD TV RRP: $3,299
- 100Hz – 47″ Full HD LCD TV RRP: $4,399
- 100Hz – 52″ Full HD LCD TV RRP: $5,499