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LG Electronics 42PG25 42-Inch Plasma HDTV

LG Electronics 42PG25 42-Inch Plasma HDTV

LG Electronics' 42PG25 boasts an attractive price (US$1000 as of November 4, 2008) and impressive features. This plasma HDTV produced good-looking images, too, though it struggled a bit with fast-motion video.

You can plug just about anything into the 42PG25. It boasts eight inputs (four HDMI, two composite, and two component), S-Video, and two optical outputs, plus a USB port for viewing your photos and listening to your MP3s. All of those plugs are easy to get to; some face outward on the back of the set, others are mounted on the side.

Once you've set up the TV, you can switch easily between inputs. Press the input button on the remote, and large icons representing each input appear at the bottom of the screen. The active inputs--those that are currently sending out a signal--are grouped together at the beginning and are highlighted.

The other on-screen displays and menus are well designed, too, with large, easy-to-read icons. The remote's Q Menu button brings up an abbreviated list of items that you're likely to use frequently, such as Aspect Ratio, Video Mode, and Audio Mode. Regrettably, though, the menu items lack descriptions, so you have to guess what 'Clear Voice' means or you have to look it up in the manual. Another drawback: The absence of a Display button on the remote prevents you from easily checking the current channel, program, and technical specs.

Surprisingly, the 42PG25 had a harder time with motion than the 42-inch 120-Hz LCDs that we matched it against--the LG Electronics 42LGX, the Toshiba 42XV545U, and the Vizio SV420XVT--which suggests that 120 Hz really means something. One judge found "motion blur very noticeable" on our NASCAR test, rating the 42PG25's blur as "probably [the] worst" among the 42-inch sets. Two judges noticed a "slight wavering bricks" in Mission: Impossible III's Vatican wall climb. And everyone on the panel gave it a low score on our Jaggies test from the HD HQV Benchmark. Despite these image quirks, however, our jury rated its images Good overall; I frequently rated it Very Good when motion wasn't an issue.

Though not the fanciest HDTV you can buy, nor the one with the best image quality, the 42PG25 is an attractive set--and its low price enhances its appeal.


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