LG 42LT75 review: LG 42LT75

The Good Freeview Playback functionality works well; great operating system; price, picture quality.

The Bad Signal weakens en route to the second digital tuner; picture deteriorates if watched from much of an angle.

The Bottom Line It turns out that Freeview Playback is a really substantial addition to the terrestrial digital tuner proposition, so much so that it almost elevates the 42LT75 to somewhere around the top of any Freeview TV audition list. It also produces LG's finest LCD pictures to date

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8.3 Overall

Like its 32-inch sibling, LG's 42LT75 carries Freeview Playback: our digital terrestrial service's long overdue answer to Sky's sublime Sky+ digital recording system. But for around £830, does the new functionality add anything truly significant to the Freeview proposition, or is it just a gimmick?

First things first: its combination of a sultry gloss-black finish and seriously delectable curves make the 42LT75 a real sight.

Its innards are even more interesting. Tucked away inside the set's slender LCD frame, alongside two digital tuners, an analogue tuner and all the usual LCD picture-making 'stuff', is a 160GB HDD drive. This really is surprisingly substantial for what is and should be sufficient to store around 60 hours of digital recordings or between 45 and 90 hours of analogue recordings.

Why the different maximum recording times? In the digital tuner's case, the 42LT75 records the digital feed directly, while with analogue sources it has to convert the analogue feed to digital before recording. During this process, the TV helpfully lets you choose between one of two different quality standards: High and Normal, depending on whether you most value picture quality or saving memory with a particular recording.

Freeview Playback brings a few features to the table that are more substantial than you might imagine. The star of the show, without doubt, is Series Link. This feature allows you to set the TV to record a whole series automatically. While it's dependent on broadcasters providing the necessary information, apparently around 90 per cent of Freeview channel providers are already onboard.

You also get the facility to link split recordings, such as when a film is broken by a news broadcast. Plus, the TV allows you to record one digital channel while watching another, and you can pause live TV and 'chase' live playback.

What makes all this even more pleasing on the 42LT75 is how profoundly easy all the various recording features are to access. Realising that the 42LT75 is likely to appeal to relatively un-technical people -- after all, tech-heads will doubtless already have at least Sky+ and probably a Sky HD box by now -- LG has clearly put enormous effort into designing the set's operating system. The result is that it shouldn't take long at all before even the most technophobic of users will be making and manipulating digital recordings as if they've done it all their lives.

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