LG has undoubtedly produced some of the best-looking TVs I've seen this year, thanks to the new frameless Cinema Screen design. The 42-inch 42LM670T continues this trend. There's more to this set than just looks though. It's got brains too, including impressive smart TV features.
LED edge dimming helps it deliver deeper black levels and it sports, which means cheaper specs than active 3D sets. Currently the TV can be bought from around £1,050 online.
User interface and EPG
The 42LM670T uses LG's re-jigged interface. This is even more attractively presented than the menus on last year's models, with slicker graphics and smoother 3D-style transitions and animations. The core of the user interface is the new home screen. This has four large panels at the top covering the premium apps menu, LG's 3D online video zone, the Smart World app store and videos shared to the TV from a PC across a network.
Beneath this is a row of icons that act as shortcuts to stuff like the input selection screen, various video-on-demand apps, the TV's manual and the electronic programme guide (EPG).
The user interface tends to chuck a lot of stuff at you initially, so it can be overwhelming for the first-time user. The navigation isn't always as intuitive as it should be either, especially as there are often multiple ways of accessing the same things. Once you've used it or a while though, its slightly quirky layout does start to make more sense.
LG has also tweaked the EPG. The new layout looks cleaner and more welcoming than that used on previous TVs, but it's still disappointing that it lacks a video thumbnail window.
The set actually comes with two remote controls. One is a fairly straightforward zapper, while the second is what LG calls a Magic Remote. It's a motion-sensing device, similar to the Nintendo Wii controller. When you pick it up, a cursor appears on the screen that you control by moving the remote around in the air.
It initially feels quite odd as it's like using a computer mouse with a TV, but it does speed up many tasks. Instead of having to click your way through lists in menus, you can just point and select. It also helps to speed up text entry for usernames and passwords when you're setting up the various smart TV apps.
Digital media and Internet features
LG has clearly put a lot of effort into the smart features on its latest models and it very much pays off. Apps are now split up. Premium apps get their own menus, while less mainstream options are accessed via the Smart World apps store. The Premium selection is excellent and includes the likes of BBC iPlayer, Facebook, Twitter, Acetrax (now owned by Sky), Blinkbox and iConcerts. LG has also now added Lovefilm, while Netflix is due to arrive soon.
The apps you'll find in the Smart World store include games, as well as news and information services. There are some decent ones in there, but you're likely to leave a lot of them untouched. Overall though, LG's smart TV platform is one of the best out there at the moment.
The set also includes personal video recorder (PVR) features, so if you plug a hard drive or memory key into one of its three USB ports, you can pause live TV or record shows directly to disc. There's only one tuner so you can't record a show while watching another. It's no replacement for a proper PVR.
Naturally, this model can also play back digital media files, either locally via USB or remotely over a network from a PC or NAS drive. Format support is very good across both and it'll happily play HD MKV files as well as DivX and Xvid videos.
Unlike last year's LG TVs, which forced you to use the Plex media server software on your PC, this model works with both Plex servers and normal DLNA servers, so you can stream content from a NAS drive without needing to have your PC turned on.
Design and connections
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to describe this TV's design as jaw dropping. It's one of the best-looking TVs that you're likely to set eyes on this year. Key to this is LG's new Cinema Screen design. With the TV off it looks as if the screen has no bezel -- it's just framed at the edge by a narrow strip of aluminium.