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LG 42PC1DV review

V is so much more than just a letter

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Our Verdict

It's cheap, but unfortunately its quality is just about as low as its price

For

  • Good black levels

    Decent price

Against

  • Far too much noise

Look up 'confusing' in the dictionary and you'll find the words LG 42PC1D and LG 42PC1DV side by side. For remarkably, although the names of these two TVs look practically identical, the extra V on the one we're looking at today hides a multitude of differences.

Not least among these is the fact that while the 42PC1D is HD Ready, the 42PC1DV is not, thanks to a native resolution of only 852 x 480 pixels. Ouch.

The 42PC1DV also loses out to its D counterpart by only boasting one HDMI instead of two, and lacking the D model's Clear Filter Technology for reduced ambient light reflections.

The reason for this downspeccing is price: the 42PC1DV sells for £150 less than the 42PC1D - even though that HD Ready model is itself now going for as little as £1,100. In other words, with the 42PC1DV LG has made its debut in the sub-£1,000 42in plasma club.

Only having one HDMI clearly counts against this LG - but let's remember its price. And at least it backs its HDMI up with component jacks, Scarts, a PC port and a CAM slot/digital audio output to accompany a built in digital tuner.

Other features are surprisingly plentiful too, with LG's XD Engine leading the way with its suite of picture enhancement tools. You can also separately adjust the fleshtones, greentones and bluetones, and there are even a few picture-in-picture tools.

Pressed into action with Kill Bill: Volume 1 recorded in HD from Sky, the 42PC1DV rather lives down to its price tag, mostly thanks to some pretty ugly levels of video noise. The Bride's skin, with her pre-violence extreme close-ups, looks grainy.

The tiny amounts of MPEG noise in the broadcast are strangely emphasised, making the backgrounds in Vernita Green's house look striped and blocky. And, finally, a totally over the top approach to colours can leave many shots suffering with speckly colour noise. Not surprisingly, the problems we're describing only worsen with standard definition.

The TV isn't wholly without its good points. Black levels in particular are outstanding for such a budget screen, achieving almost perfect darkness during the stark black and white images that open Kill Bill.

V for vendetta

While the 42PC1DV's madly over-saturated colours cause noise, they do also make the picture really very eye-catching. The image is decently sharp considering this isn't an HD Ready set, too, and its sound quality is really very acceptable.

However, having to look through so much video noise to spot the TV's strengths pretty much makes those strengths redundant, meaning that the 42PC1DV is another unfortunate case of only getting what you pay for.