LG 42LK450 42-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV Review

LG 42LK450 42-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV
I've been watching HD TV and movies from the LCD monitor on my computer for the last few years because I vowed I would not spend more than $500 for a TV, but now I've finally found something that I would be happy with for $499. This LG 42LK450 42-Inch LCD HDTV is a very basic, no-frills TV, but it's all that I need in a TV. The features are very base level and the specs on the contrast may make it seem like it has a phenomenal picture but it's really just average for this price range, which is to say that it's perfectly adequate. It's basically what you would expect from an IPS panel. You can move around the room and the image is perfectly viewable no matter where you sit. The backlight is adequate and turned all the way up is not glaring.

One of the first things you'll notice is that the power "button" is not a button, but a touch-sensitive area that requires no effort to turn on. That's nice because the TV is so light that pressing a conventional button on this TV would probably move it around a tiny bit. The TV takes a few seconds before you see an image but that's quite tolerable. Changing channels is about as fast as other recent TVs but definitely slower than a computer with a USB tuner. That's perfectly fine for me since I don't intend to channel surf with this TV.

It's nice that the unit offers a calibration wizard but I did not like how the recommended contrast setting made darker images lose detail. I ended up turning the contrast almost all the way up. There's really not much to say about the image quality. It's perfectly decent and I didn't find any noticeable flaws. So far I've mostly used it to play Lego Batman and there is no image lag that I've read about in other TVs. One thing I've noticed is that HDMI does not seem to give the same sharpness that a DVI connection provides. This is mostly apparent with text. This is probably not the fault of the TV, but I'm mentioning it here for anyone who wants to use this as a computer monitor. It does have a VGA port, but that port does not handle full HD resolution.

There are two menu systems, a quick menu and a more comprehensive menu that gives you all of the controls that you would ever need. That's thoughtful of LG as I've always disliked having to delve deeply into a menu system to do something as simple as deleting an unwanted channel. It still takes a minimum of three presses though. It would be nice if they had provided a button just for that on the remote.

Like many TVs at this price point, LG 42LK450 LCD HDTV only provides optical audio out which is ironic since most buyers of cheaper TVs don't have stereo systems that have optical in. Fortunately, there is at least a headphone port that can be used to connect to computer speakers or even a stereo receiver. This is important because the performance of the built-in speakers are not proportional to the size of the screen. At 42" this is a decent size for a small home theater yet the speakers cannot provide that experience. That's OK--I didn't expect it to and I've got external speakers to take over.

Although they skimped on the audio out, they covered the video inputs well. There are component as well as composite inputs as well as three HDMI ports. And there is a conventional USB port instead of the more limited memory card reader. I played a couple videos through USB and it handled the job flawlessly. I was very pleased to find that it kept track of where you stopped a video last time you watched it. It's little things like that that make this TV stand out from cheaper ones.

I did a ton of shopping to find something with a good picture that doesn't break the bank. Many new TVs sold now are much more expensive and have a lot of buzzword features which this unit does not have. This LG 42LK450 42-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV is basically a brand new TV with last year's features. I'm fine with that as long as I get a bigger screen for the money.