LCD TVs with LED backlights are many things, but cheap isn't usually one of them. We think, however, that the 42-inch, 1080p LG 42LE4900 represents pretty spectacular value for money, at around £600. This TV clearly isn't aimed at the very high-end market, but it offers a good selection of features for a really reasonable price. We can see it selling well too, because a 42-inch screen is a good size for most homes.
Basic but pleasant design
In terms of plugging stuff into this TV, the options are decent. There are four HDMI inputs, a couple of USB connectors and the usual component, composite and Scart sockets.
As you'd imagine, a slender, infrared remote is included, and we found it very pleasant to hold and use. The TV also responds quickly to commands, offering up lovely, user-friendly menus that look really modern, as befits such a hi-tech piece of kit.
The TV itself is super-slim and easy on the eye. It's not the most awesome TV we've seen in terms of design, but it looks smart and well judged, and will fit into any living room without a problem.
LG hasn't included catch-up TV services likeand on this TV, which somewhat limits its Internet functionality. The usual YouTube and Picasa support is, however, included. We aren't sure how useful these services are to most people, and we'd rather see premium video content instead, but it's possible that some folk will find these features entertaining.
To use the Internet services, you'll need to connect the TV to the Web using the wired Ethernet port at the back of the set. This TV has no wireless option.
Resistant to tuning in digital TV
When the TV was connected to the aerial via our PVR, it wouldn't tune in the digital channels. Plugging our aerial cable directly into the TV resolved this problem, and then plugging the PVR back in between the aerial and the telly caused no further problems.
We can't explain why this happened. Usually a TV would either have enough signal strength to tune in channels or not, but we've never seen a TV have enough signal to display channels, but refuse to tune them. If you encounter a problem tuning your TV, then connect it to the aerial without any extra devices in the way, and you should be okay.
Slim isn't always best
Like most thin LCD TVs, the 42LE4900 uses LEDs as its backlight source. These are placed along the sides of the LCD panel, and their light diffused across the panel's back.
Like all TVs that use this system, the 42LE4900 has some problems. The backlight is clearly brighter in the corners than in the middle of the screen. During most viewing, you won't notice this, but it's undesirable nevertheless. You might also notice that, if you move your head beyond the optimal viewing area, the image looks less natural. Again, this probably won't bother most people, but it's worth remembering.