What Hooked Us:
- It’s goodbye to television interruptions as the built-in hard disk serves as both video recorder and TV time machine.
- Watch one channel while recording from another: The dual built-in tuners make this very possible.
Why We Grumbled:
- Ancient plasma technology: The screen possesses an obvious afterglow.
- Without a headphone jack, the LG could sometimes be regarded as a real trouble maker.
- Insufficient screen resolution for HDTV.
- The recording quality is beneath that of good DVD recorders.
The Final Verdict:
With two built-in tuners and a hard disk, this LG set is particularly suited to price-conscious frequent viewers. The quality of the picture in “Live” mode and that of recordings can, however, only score average.
The Korean LG Electronics corporation has a two-pronged manufacturing strategy: In its product range one can find both LCD and plasma flat-panel TVs. Plasma sets from LG have always been aggressively priced and have full mastery over contrast. The 42 PC 1 RR is no exception, and with its extended functionality and mature plasma technology, it will surely continue to impress.
What other manufacturers only include if a surcharge is paid (or even at all) with their standard sets is shipped as standard with this flat-panel TV from LG Electronics. What is being referred to here is of course the hard disk, which performs exactly as a typical video recorder by recording from programmed channels. The disk itself has enough capacity to crunch through some 20 to 30 hours of TV material in standard resolution. Programs from HDTV broadcasting stations cannot be recorded as this feature is yet to be supported.
Of greater interest, however, is the “Time Shift” function, which causes the current TV viewing session to pause with the press of a single button, and enables the user to make a nature call or answer the telephone etc. Once the call or toilet-break has finished, then the program can resume from where it was left off.
Mixed Level of Comfort:
The LG comes with two analog tuners for cable TV and, just as with conventional video recorders, one program can be recorded while another is being viewed. The level of comfort offered by the 42 PC 1 RR is, however, a little mixed. There isn’t such a thing as an Electronic Program Guide (EPG), and equally there aren’t any program helpers such as ShowView (also known as Video plus or VCR+).
Even support for highly accurate or precision recording technologies, such as the VPS (Video Programming System, available in Germany and parts of Europe) seem double-dutch to the Koreans.
The quality of the recorded programs is pretty average for a disk recorder, and even with the application of the best possible settings, the result is an exaggerated picture with over emphasized light and dark details together with double contours and edge shadowing.
The LG is capable of displaying imagery, simultaneously, from two picture sources in either side-by-side or picture-in-picture mode. When receiving TV signals directly from a cable TV broadcasting station, full advantage can be made of the sets twin tuners. The main features of many DVD players, video recorders or externally connected receivers can be controlled by the LG’s remote control – even if the equipment is from another manufacturer.
Although the remote control buttons are logically arranged, the overall visual chaos does not exactly assist the user in its operation. In addition, the remote control is a touch on the bulky side even for the larger male hand.
Especially on 16:9 sets, the very useful (and perhaps most used) format switchover button is strangely labeled “ARC” on the LG, which stands for Aspect Ratio Control, and is awkwardly located under a sliding cover.
On-Screen Menu and Channel Changing:
The screen menus of the 42 PC 1 RR are, by comparison, appealing and well presented. Channel changing could do with a little less of a pause – between 2.2 (without “Time Shift”) and 2.5 seconds pass until the new station appears.
TV and DVD Picture Quality
Generally details remain recognizable when the camera pans across a scene, but it is only in more intricate scenes, such as the picket fencing seen in chapter 8 of the “Space Cowboys” movie, that the lines show signs of flicker.
Despite its high contrast ratio of 1,100:1, the LG seems to lack the contrast of other available plasma sets. An afterglow effect is quite visible, particularly in more dimly lit rooms, especially at the spot where a brighter element of a scene was previously shown. Some minutes pass until the screen is capable of representing anything near black again.
HDTV Picture Quality
In addition, anyone wishing to extract the best from HDTV material requires a panel capable of delivering the maximum 1920 x 1080 pixels. The LG, with its 1024 x 768 pixel resolution is some way off. Finally, the Korean LG does not cleanly interpret 24 frame/second imagery from Blu-ray disks, as some judder is present in the resulting picture.
Computer Operation and Sound Quality
The 42 PC 1 RR is only moderately flexible when used as a computer monitor connected via the VGA interface. Videos or photos input at a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution are well represented after scaling. Whereas text has a clear structure when input at 1024 x 768 pixels, the Windows desktop, for example, is distorted along its width. In other words you actually get worse results if you provide the LG with a signal in its native resolution.
Speech is clearly interpreted on the internal loudspeakers, and the stereo is pleasingly wide with music, but the bass is, however, a little thin. In quieter environments the high frequency chirping of the screen and the whirr of the hard disk make themselves noticeable. In general though, for everyday viewing, this is not such a problem.
Settings for the best home-theatre performance*
CSM: Warm (7,200 K) or User
Settings for 6,500 K: CSM “User” with Red 3; Green -6; Blue -34
* applied to realistic playback from HD DVD/Blu-ray material through the HDMI interface in a darkened environment. Manufacturing and HDMI playback device deviations may necessitate slight adjustment.
Quick Points Summary
Plain but practical: LG Electronics has foregone design gimmickry in favor of economy.
Barren: Two Scart sockets and one HDMI interface are just about acceptable; however the missing headphone jack is not.
- Input Video Formats – 576i/p, 720p, 1080i
Dimensions & Weight Details
- Dimensions & Weight Details – Panel with stand – 112.77 cm x 9.90 cm x 69.59 cm x 30 kg
Digital TV Tuner
- Digital TV Tuner – analog
Test Lab Data
- Color neutrality – 8
- Black level – 0.12 cd/m2
- Picture-quality with DVDs – very good
- Picture-quality with HD-Signals – very good
- Motion-errors – average
- Televisions.com rating – 6.2
- Homogenity of picture – 88%
- Brightness – maximum – 135 cd/m2
- Contrast – maximum – 1125:1
- Brightness – average – 68.9 cd/m2
- Contrast – ANSI – 262:1
- Linearity errors on greyscale – 0.6%
- S-Video – 1
- VGA – 1
- YUV – 1
- Video Interface – HDMI, Scart, Component, VGA, S-Video, Composite
- Product Type – 42″ Plasma TV
- Weight – 30 kg
- Width – 112.77 cm
- Depth – 9.90 cm
- Height – 69.59 cm
- Power Consumption Operational – 204 Watt
- Power Consumption Stand by / Sleep – 3.2 Watt
- Diagonal Size – 42″ – widescreen
- Image Aspect Ratio – 16:9
- Resolution – 1024×768
- Brightness – 135 cd/m2
- Image Contrast Ratio – 1125:1
- Composite video – 4
- HDMI – 1
Test Lab Data
- Picturecropping (overscan) using HDMI – 16.6%