Anyone who has seen LG’s new Scarlet range of LCD TVs of late will have an opinion on their rather unusual red backs and equally enticing/alienating hollowed-out control panel on the front.
While this 42-incher, which sits at the pinnacle of the Scarlet range, also bears those design flourishes, it has something altogether more attractive. While those other Scarlets have a depth of 81mm, the 42LG6100 takes it down to an almost ludicrous 45mm.
It’s a big difference and it serves to make this a very slim TV indeed. At £1200 it’s also reasonably priced since Hitachi’s 35mm-deep Ultra Thin range cost a lot more and don’t have built-in TV tuners.
The 42LG6100 does have both analogue and Freeview TV tuners as well as plenty of other features. Chief of which is a tempting total of four HDMI inputs to pump high-def action from Blu-ray players or games consoles into its 1920 x 1080 Full HD panel. You won’t find that on many flatscreen TVs, even high-end models.
There is also a side panel that includes the fourth HDMI input alongside a USB port for playing music and photos from a memory stick. Do that and some well designed menus pop-up to let you choose exactly what you want to do – set a JPEG slideshow to music, for instance, or play individual MP3 files.
The on-screen menus in general are excellent: clear, concise and completely idiot-proof. While advanced picture settings can be accessed via these menus, there’s also an option to activate something called Intelligent Sensor. The TV gauges the brightness of the room it’s in, then tweaks the picture to achieve the best trade-off in terms of brightness, black levels, colour and detail. It also saves some power, though occasional rapid changes in the brightness of the picture can be distracting.
Freeview channels are quick to tune-in and a cinch to re-order, while navigating through the 7-day electronic programme guide is a breeze. There are plenty of bold colours on show, and plenty of depth, but the overall picture quality from Freeview channels is fairly average. Although we’ve seen such pictures look a lot worse than here, there is still a lot of picture noise and blocking around moving objects.
Standard DVD looks a lot better, with the TV suppressing most of the video nasties associated with upscaling a DVD to fit the huge screen. As a bonus, the latest-version HDMI inputs on this set allow the 42LG6100’s remote control to operate a Blu-ray player. We’re talking chapter skipping, calling up the main menu, that kind of thing.
The most impressive picture setting the 42LG6100 has in its arsenal is 100Hz mode, which rids pictures of blur. Its absence is most noticeable on high-def material, though the judder associated with Blu-ray discs is still present. Black levels are reasonably deep while detail is kept high, though we weren’t impressed by this set’s picture-and-sound Game mode, which tends to present an over-sharp picture that lacks any naturalism, along with a harsh sound. Dive into the picture settings and it’s possible to achieve a terrific picture for games, while sound is better delivered by the 42LG6100’s invisible speakers’ Clear Voice or TruSurroundXT modes.
Though arguably not as good as JVC’s identically sized – and priced – LT-42DS9BJ, LG’s latest is a looker from all angles and is a tremendously well-featured set that just falls short of top-grade picture quality.