LG 42LY95 review: LG 42LY95

The Good Ease of use; vibrant colours and smooth motion; good connectivity.

The Bad Slightly weak black levels; screen not quite big enough to really show off 1080p.

The Bottom Line While a bigger screen might be necessary to really appreciate 1080p's charms, this television certainly provides a lot of bang for your buck. Stacks of features, good connectivity, handsome looks and a slick, user-friendly menu system put it in the top tier of affordable LCD televisions

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8.3 Overall

Plainly put, 1080p (aka 'Full HD') is the pinnacle of hi-def. It's the highest-quality format of high-definition video available in the home today, but unfortunately not every HD Ready television or projector on the market is able to display it -- in fact it's only supported by a very small proportion.

Luckily for movie-hungry videophiles, the number of compatible devices is increasing rapidly, and prices are also dropping -- hence LG launching this 42-inch 1080p LCD television at £1,300, which sounds very reasonable.

The 42LY95 boasts plenty of places to hook up HD gear. LG has stocked the TV with two HDMI inputs, one component video input and one VGA PC monitor input -- all of which can accept a signal at a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. So, in theory you can connect four high-definition video sources at once (you should be so lucky).

Also provided on the back panel is a pair of Scart inputs, plus an optical audio out that allows you to connect to an external sound system. A side panel offers S-Video and composite video inputs.

The television itself is reasonably stylish. Glossy piano-black plastic abounds, which hardly sets it apart from the competition but it manages to look fairly handsome whether switched on or off. The build is encouragingly solid, too, if not quite as rock steady as the average plasma TV. Size and weight are both fairly low, thanks to small speaker panels, a narrow frame and the lack of a heavy glass screen; this is actually one 42-inch TV most people will be able to move around on their own.

A swivelling desktop stand is supplied with the TV, and it comes with its own cable management clip, so you can keep those pesky wires tucked behind the support and out of sight.

1080p compatibility is the standout feature here. 1080p sources are fairly thin on the ground at present: you'll need a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or a PC to get real 1080p video footage.

When using the HDMI or VGA inputs you are also able to set the picture to 1:1 pixel mapping, so that the entire source image is displayed pixel for pixel. Many televisions trim a little from the edges of a 1080i or 1080p picture, but here you can see the whole thing if you wish -- it's a particularly useful feature to have if you're hooking a PC up, as it means small text will remain sharp and easy to read.

Not only that, but the two HDMI ports will accept a 1080p picture at 24Hz -- so you'll be able to get a '24p' picture from an HD DVD or Blu-ray player. 24p is an image running at 24 frames per second, the native speed of CineFilm. HD DVD and Blu-ray discs allow you to watch your movies at this speed, rather than at the standard 50Hz we're used to. 50Hz movies are actually sped up slightly (to fit PAL broadcast standards), so 24p actually provides a much more accurate reproduction of a movie.

Getting the TV up and running is as simple as the thought processes of the average Big Brother housemate. There are speedy auto-tuning functions for both the digital and analogue tuners, and the menu screens are clear and laid out just as you'd expect them to be. The remote control helps. It has large, chunky buttons, logically placed, and some of them actually light up for use in the dark.

You can adjust almost all aspects of the picture and sound, but LG has helpfully included several presets, including an 'Intelligent Eye' picture mode which automatically tweaks the image to suit your room's current light levels. It doesn't replace a bit of judicious human adjustment, but comes in handy all the same.

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