What Hooked Us:
- Tons of options for optimizing picture quality.
- Authentic 24p movie playback – just like in the movie theater.
- Low power consumption.
- Only slight blurring during fast camera pans.
- Very bright when it needs to be.
- Multimedia extras (USB media-player, Bluetooth).
Why We Grumbled:
- Low contrast ratio gives a bland picture.
- Slight cyan/green tint.
- Thin, weak sound from the built-in speakers.
- Operation sometimes awkward during TV viewing.
The Final Verdict:
A cheap, bright, classy-looking LCD TV with an excellent feature set but with weaknesses in color fidelity and contrast.
Test results in brief
Whether you’ll like this LG TV depends on how you plan to use it. Here we give you a summary of who we think will like the TV, and why.
If you love it when the sun shines right into your living room while you’re watching TV, and you crave bright, breezy design, many TVs will fail to meet your needs. But not this ultra-bright LG: The powerful backlight uses fluorescent tubes to produce a picture that should be highly visible even in sun-drenched loft apartments. When night falls and you don’t want the TV to be quite that bright, the LG offers pleasingly low power consumption for its size – no nasty surprises in your next energy bill, or at least not from the TV.
DIY Interior Designers:
For design lovers, every piece of furniture has to fit the room perfectly. The same goes for the new flat-panel TV, which generally sits center stage. If this is how you run your living room, LG’s extremely flat, 42-inch LCD TV is definitely the right choice for you. With a casing that’s just 4 centimeters deep, it’s sure to catch the visitor’s eye – TVs rarely come flatter than this. If you still want thinner, check out Samsung’s 7000 series or Panasonic’s Z1 series.
The Party Animal:
If you’re only happy when the beats are thumping, you’ll be disappointed with most flat-panel TVs – especially the LG, which sounds as thin as it looks. Feeble speakers are often the price you pay for an ultra-flat casing. Speech is still clear and accurate, but the truth becomes all too clear if you try to soundtrack a party with the TV’s built-in MP3 player. The weak, straining bass will cripple even the fattest hip-hop beats.
You might take consolation from the innovative Bluetooth connection. This works with mobile phones (to transfer photos) or headsets (to act as headphones) – kids will have their camera-phone snapshots up on the LG’s screen in no time. Bring the party atmosphere up to scratch by hooking up a stereo or home-theater surround system for better sound.
If you feel you need deep black pictures and a fully darkened room to get the full movie experience, then, sorry, this isn’t the TV for you. Like many LCDs, the 42 LH 7000 suffers from a low contrast ratio. In other words: When the movie goes dark, as the “Enterprise” patrols the blackness of space, for example, this TV is way too bright – there’s none of the vivid, three-dimensional atmosphere you’d hope for.
Are your weapons of choice picture settings and test discs, your goal optimum picture quality? Then, congratulations! With the LH 7000, you’ve found one of the few TVs that offer all the controls you’ll need to fine tune the picture to perfection. Within the menu, you’ll find some of the most varied picture-setup options available – read more about these in the “Colors and Ideal Settings” section.
Actually, it’s a good job these settings are there – the LG’s factory setup is in need of some adjustment. Even in the “Movie” preset, which delivers the most natural picture, movies suffer a slight green tint. Admittedly, the eye quickly gets used to a slight color deviation, but video freaks that demand neutral colors will want to adjust the TV correctly.
And that’s possible: The LG’s numerous picture settings and two user-adjustable modes provide the technical requirements necessary for professional calibration technicians. Once calibrated, this value-priced TV treats the viewer to neutral color reproduction.
Good design shouldn’t just be about sleek looks. Practical operation and connectivity, simple mounting, and high-quality manufacturing are all essential to a TV’s success. This chapter looks at how the LG 42 LH 7000 performs in these respects.
At a weight of just 20 kilograms, the LG slides out of the box with very little effort, at least if there are two people unpacking it. It’d be even easier if LG gave the box a side opening. The TV includes all the usual accessories, with the unusual – but necessary – inclusion of a USB extension cable; the USB port on the back of the TV is otherwise hard to access.
Plug & Play is not how we’d describe the LG. Before you can enjoy watching your new TV, you have to screw the pedestal onto the display using a Philips screwdriver. LG doesn’t provide you with one of these, but even the most anti-DIY customers will surely have this basic tool lying around somewhere. When attaching the pedestal, you should ideally lay the display on a soft surface, and make sure nothing can scratch or knock the sensitive LCD panel.
Once the TV is assembled, it stands solidly on the swivel pedestal and doesn’t topple easily.
From the front, the LG looks relatively unspectacular: a black screen, a high-gloss frame, and a swivel pedestal. The only obvious design elements are the mirrored touch-sensitive On/Off button, which glows two colors, and the colored decorative strip that curves subtly backward from the bottom of the TV’s frame.
It’s only when you look at the TV from the side that you see what makes it so special: “flat-panel” is absolutely the correct term here. With a casing that’s just four centimeters deep, it’s significantly thinner than typical LCD TVs, which are often two or three times thicker.
High-gloss, black, plastic components scratch easily and immediately show up any dust or fingerprints. For cleaning, therefore, you should use an antistatic, slightly (!) dampened microfiber cloth. Stay well away with vacuum cleaners, household detergents, and car-maintenance products.
The remote control is relatively long, but sits solidly in the hand thanks to its slender form and the molded-grip underside. The leather-look plastic surface is actually quite handy: It doesn’t show up fingerprints and gives a good grip even with greasy nacho fingers. The remote uses two standard 1.5-volt AAA batteries (supplied).
Poor: The headphone output is on the back of the unit. You can just about reach it from the front with a bit of dexterity, but this isn’t our image of user-friendliness – on many TVs the socket sits more conveniently on the front or side. For the USB socket, LG provides an extension cable, meaning you can attach USB sticks easily even when the TV is wall mounted.
The horizontal arrangement of the connections brings both advantages and disadvantages: In contrast to a vertical arrangement with a cascade of cables, here you can easily plug new devices into the well labeled sockets without having to stoop below the TV.
On the other hand, the arrangement means you need to have a gap of at least ten centimeters between the TV and the wall. Otherwise, you’re in danger of ruining the cables because of kinking.
The developers thought shrewdly about how the casing screws together, leaving no sharp-edged seams (which can cause injury). The four large screws visible on the back of the casing serve to attach a wall bracket, which is available as an optional extra.