Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Attractive design, easy access AV ports, good performance in 1080p and 720p resolutions, three HDMI ports, HDTV tuner
- Minor image quality issues in all HD modes, degraded DVD playback, no 1080p support over PC connection, too expensive
The LG 42LB9DF is a good mid-range 1080p television which falls short of justifying its high-end price tag.
Price$ 4,199.00 (AUD)
The LG 42LB9DF is a 42in LCD television with a native resolution of 1920x1080. In our tests it performed well in 1080p and 720p high definition but there were some minor pixelation issues on curved edges as well as a little image noise. It is an attractive and easy to use unit, has an integrated HDTV tuner and a wide range of connection options including three HDMI ports.
When looking to buy a high-definition panel, the most important things most people think about is how good the panel looks when playing HD movies, HD games and their existing DVD collection. As such, our testing concentrates on those things as well as how well it connects to a PC considering the growing Media Centre PC market.
The 1080p performance was good but it could have been better. We noticed a minor level of pixelation on curved edges and a little image noise at times. It certainly wasn't overt but when compared to a high-end model running the same test, it wasn't quite up to scratch. The colours and black levels were both excellent, but there was a noticeable level of over-sharpening which caused a halo effect on all edges. This was able to be removed by turning the sharpness setting down to zero; however, overall sharpness is sacrificed in doing so, making the image look a little soft.
In 720p the same aberrations could be seen, though the pixelation was slightly more noticeable. These issues come into play more when playing games than when watching a HD-DVD or Blu-ray film since gaming can have static elements that make things like pixelation and over sharpening more prevalent. On the whole, the high-definition performance is on-par with a mid-range1080p television at this price point.
If you are a crazy film buff like we are, you probably have all you favourite movies on DVD already (and some embarrassing ones). Unfortunately, 1080p televisions are not our friend when it comes to watching regular DVDs. Since the resolution of a DVD is 576i and the panel is 1080p a whole bunch of extra information is being created so the DVD can be watched on the big screen. The LG 42LB9DF is no different. DVD movies are awash with interpolation artefacts, pixelation, image noise and discolouration. If you purchased this TV you could still watch your DVDs, they just won't look that great.
If you are a multimedia junkie and your television viewing revolves around a Media Centre PC, you probably want to know how well the LG looks when connected to a computer. Just for you, we checked it out and found some puzzling quirks that you may get a kick out of. Firstly, the highest stable resolution we could establish was 1400x1050 - a very odd and seldom used resolution. Icons and text looked good at this resolution, although when setting up your PC connection, some time will be needed to properly calibrate the panel as it's not a simple plug and play affair. At default there is a little over-sharpening which we were able to easily remove.
The LG 42LB9DF is a mid-range 1080p television and as such would only be a wise choice if it had a mid-level price. Unfortunately, since the price tag is more expensive than some high-end models, it is hard to recommend purchasing this unit especially considering the fact that its PC and standard-definition capabilities leave much room for improvement.
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