Launching a big-screen TV with ‘only’ HD-Ready, 1024x768 resolution might seem a little optimistic these days, but LG’s not taken leave of its senses. Its new 42PG6900 plasma TV isn’t aimed at Blu-ray enthusiasts or gamers, it’s for hardened TV enthusiasts, viewers with an insatiable passion for broadcast TV in all its free-to-air glory.
Here’s why. First, the LG’s native resolution makes perfect sense for a daily diet of broadcast TV plus the odd DVD thrown in: it means the onboard Faroudja DCDi upscaler doesn’t have to work so hard to deliver good-quality pictures from standard-definition broadcast pictures.
Second, the 42PG6900’s 100Hz picture processing means it can cope well with fast-paced motion. And third, as with many plasma sets, the LG generates denser black levels and more convincing contrast than many a same-priced LCD alternative. There’s a fourth reason too, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Stunning off-air picture
Thanks to its thoughtful design, the LG’s off-air TV pictures look really good – better, in fact, than on many sets with theoretically superior Full HD resolution.
The quality of the TV tuner helps: it delivers crisp, sharply defined edges and low levels of background noise, plus minimal digital blocking.
DVD fares just as well, and should you want to watch the odd Blu-ray, the LG copes happily with 1080p/24fps content, scaling it appropriately to suit the lower native resolution of the TV’s display panel.
It’s a gutsy listen too, thanks to its Mark Levinson-tuned speakers. And while purists might bemoan the set’s inability to display 1080p on a pixel-to-pixel basis (unlike most price rivals), in practice there’s little to complain about in quality terms.
And now we come to that fourth reason why this is such a brilliant TV for day-to-day TV viewing: it’s actually a PVR as well as a TV, thanks to a built-in hard-disk video recorder plus twin Freeview tuners.
It’s a brilliantly implemented system that makes this set an ideal low-fuss solution for someone looking for an easy-to-use way to timeshift their favourite TV.
The LG’s 160GB hard-disk will support up to 60 hours of recording at high quality, and as with most PVRs it offers useful functions like pause live TV, instant rewind and fast-forward of your recordings and the ability to record one channel while watching another. Recording quality is really good too – it’s almost impossible to discern the differences between live TV and recordings.