LG 42LF7700 HD TV
Good reception? Enter LG's first Freesat telly
LG might not be the first name that comes to mind when selecting an HD TV set – the massive marketing campaigns of Sony, Toshiba and Samsung have seen to that. However, its new 42LF7700 set provides impressive image quality and admirable ease of use at a competitive price. And, to top it all off, LG has even managed to squeeze in a Freesat HD tuner as well.
LG's 42LF7700 HD TV with Freesat tuner
There are several models in the LF7700 range, with prices starting at around £600 for a 32” screen, and going up to £1100 for the 47” model. However, we tested the mid-range 42” version, which has a typical online price of just under £900.
The set’s design is simple enough. We were rather hoping for a 42” version of LG’s flowery Lotus mobile phone, but the company obviously decided that might be a bit distracting and, instead, opted for a plain 2in band of glossy black bevel around the screen. The words ‘Full HD’ are stencilled into the top-right corner, announcing the fact that the screen has full 1080p resolution, but the key feature, of course, is the built-in Freesat HD tuner located on the back panel.
Until recently, Panasonic was the only company allowed to build Freesat tuners into its TVs, so it’s good to see some new competition moving into the market and – hopefully – encouraging wider adoption of Freesat. You’ll need a satellite dish to pick up the Freesat signal, of course, but if you don’t have a satellite installed then the 42LF7700 also has a hybrid TV tuner that will allow you to connect a standard aerial in order to pick up either conventional analogue channels or the Freeview digital service.
Also located on the back panel are two HDMI interfaces, two SCART connectors, component video input and digital audio output. Interestingly, one of the HDMI interfaces is designed to accept an input from a computer with a DVI interface, which meant that we were able to connect the Mac Mini, that we use as a media centre, with no trouble at all. For older computer systems, the 42LF7700 also has a VGA connector, if required.
Analogue and digital terrestrial services are supported, as well as Freesat
Over on the left-hand edge of the screen, there’s another set of connectors including a third HDMI interface, composite video with stereo input, headphone output, a CI slot for pay-TV top-up cards and a USB port that supports playing music or photo slideshows stored on a memory stick.
'DVI' port is about resolutions
As anyone who's tried to plug their pooter into some Samsungs that recommend a certain HDMI port for DVI->HDMI connections. The EDID (resolution table) for those nominated ports has the full native res of the panel exposed for a nice 1:1 desktop. Other ports often don't.
"Really though, unless you're desperate, why buy a new TV this year? Next year's models will have support for DVB-T2 and FreeviewHD as well"
That's true, but the DVB-T2 signal won't be rolled out across the whole country from day 1 - it's fairly dependent on digital switchover, which means some parts of the country could be waiting 3 years to see a T2 signal.
There is also the *potential* to carry a lot more channels on a satellite link (Freesat has about 200 now), although obviously quantity and quality are not the same thing at all.
And then there are people in poor reception areas, where a satellite dish is a quick and painless solution.
So it isn't quite that cut-and-dried.
Competition fine print
This bit of small print from the Reg competition to win this TV amuses me:
"You agree to answer five questions on camera concerning your experience with the 42LF7700 and to allow the resulting video to be shown by LG and Register Hardware."
Isn't that a bit hopeful that the winner is going to be a) photogenic and b) vaguely comfortable in front of a camera?
"Tell us why you like this fine LG product?"
"Ermmm... Ummm... well.... it's a flipping great screen; innt?"
How large is the harddisk?
How large is the harddisk? Or are we supposed to record onto USB sticks?
What significance does 100 Hz have on a TV which doesn't use a CRT? Are they implying a) 10ms response time or b) DSP magic to create fake frames?