TVs are funny things. You can spend a massive amount of money on one or a comparative pittance. The question is: at what point do you get the perfect combination of value for money and performance?
LG thinks that, at around £650, its HD Ready, 42-inch 42PQ6000 plasma TV will hit the right note with recession-conscious customers. We have to say that LG might be right. Plasma TVs certainly endear themselves to people who watch plenty of Freeview and standard-definition content, and this model even has an eco mode that aims to reduce the ongoing running costs. So, is it the perfect TV?
LG has a habit of making TVs look pretty cool. Gone are the days when the Koreans trailed behind the Japanese in terms of industrial design. Now, the likes of LG and Samsung are chasing Apple more than they are Sony. The 42PQ6000 is a truly lovely-looking set.
The most impressive design element is the single sheet of class covering the front, which gives the TV's appearance a really pleasant uniformity. There's a power indicator LED on the bottom right-hand side of the screen, but, apart from that and a small LG logo, the clean lines are uninterrupted.
Even the speakers are hidden, firing downwards. This is a slick way of improving a TV's appearance, although it can sometimes be at the cost of audio clarity. We'll find out if that's the case with the 42PQ6000 later in this review.
At the side, you'll find a USB socket, S-Video and composite video in. There's also a cheeky HDMI socket lurking there too. At the back, there are two Scart sockets, two more HDMI inputs and component and VGA connections for analogue high-definition sources.
It's fair to say the 42PQ6000 isn't exactly brimming over with special features. It's an entry-level, 720p TV for people who want something to watch Freeview and DVDs on. We doubt the target audience is heavily into Blu-ray or other HD material.
Even so, the 42PQ6000 has some good additional functionality. Firstly, it can play standard-definition DivX and MPEG-4 files from USB memory sticks. As you'd expect, image and MP3 support is also present and correct.
The set's eco mode is also worth a cheer. LG allows users to pick between 'off', 'intelligent sensor', 'low', 'medium' and 'high' settings. The intelligent-sensor setting monitors the ambient light, and reduces the TV's brightness as and when it's appropriate. We found the medium setting to offer a good compromise between brightness and power economy.