LG has already bagged Germany's Red Dot design award for its stylish and elegant 42LC2D TV, and it's easy to see why. Its reflective piano black gloss surrounds and matching stand would not look out of place in a trendy art gallery and our praises don't end there. The 42LC2D is possibly one of the best digital TV's we've ever tested, and what becomes almost immediately clear whilst using the set is the number of different functions that are available and just how easy it is to use them all.
The 42LC2D comes with an integrated stand, speakers and tuner. If you're planning to wall mount the screen there are a few quibbles that you should consider. First, all the inputs face backwards instead of downwards. This means that the screen requires a significant gap between it and the wall for the input cables. Second, removing the foot stand is not intuitive and is much harder than it should be. We would also have liked to have seen a second HDMI input for multiple devices.
Despite being a fairly heavy TV, the matching piano black stand allows you to adjust the viewing angle as you wish with just a slight push. It's got a quality feel to it, something you'd expect after spending so much on a new TV.
The universal remote control doesn't follow the screen's lead in terms of style. However, it has a lot of useful functionality. One nicety is the ability to control the brightness level directly with the remote instead of going through the menu.
When you start the TV, you're welcomed with a installation system that automatically scans the TV channels and binds them to the right settings.
The 42LC2D is very well equipped. Featuring both a HD digital tuner as well as analogue built-in, LG has already saved you about $500. Thanks to the dual tuners, the TV is capable of picture-in-picture and using this feature is almost seamless. The screen utilises LG's XD Engine, which takes a low-resolution signal and converts it to near high-definition levels for improved image quality. Although the screen's resolution of 1366 x 768 does not support the full 1080i standard, the screen is very bright and presents images with a life-like feel. The brightness level of 500cd/m² is on par with most competitor screens but the 42LC2D looks superior to them. We didn't receive any complaints from our test audience thanks also to the large 178 degree viewing angle. At the back you'll find most of the connections, including an S-Video port, one HDMI port, and AV and PC Audio inputs. We would have liked to see two HDMI ports on this TV, but the integration of the digital tuner makes up for its absence.
The quality of HD viewing using the inbuilt tuner is very impressive. We were amazed at how life-like the images appeared and the depth of colour that was available. However, we did notice some noise around the edges of people viewed on-screen. There was no wash out of colours detected. This is helped somewhat by the fact that the 42LC2D is one of the brightest screens we've tested. SD viewing was somewhat of a letdown -- imperfections inherent with SD TV were made worse while using LG's XD image enhancer. For SD viewing, we actually preferred to turn off the image processing, giving a more pleasing image to the eye at the cost of sharpness.
Also, when adjusting settings to improve image quality it's important to manage control of the brightness, contrast and sharpness. The settings that the TV comes with out of the box demands adjusting -- so don't be afraid to do so. The 8 ms LCD response time is comparable with most competitors and we were unable to detect any blurring of images during fast action scenes and sporting events. While watching the lobby scene from The Matrix over a HD PC connection we could clearly make out all the finer details, such as the smoke from an individual bullet during the action sequence. Audio is excellent from the four built-in speakers. SRS surround sound effects worked brilliantly and quality was good even at high volume levels.