Despite its extremely fast (5ms) pixel response time, the LG Electronics 42LB5D LCD television's display quality was disappointing.

On the other hand, by the time you've finished with the LG Electronics 42LB5D's onscreen menus, you may be too tired to care about the image quality.

The small, centered, transparent menus are reasonably legible, but no one seems to have thought out the organisation. The LG Electronics 42LB5D's Set Up menu, for instance, covers setting up channels - and nothing else. If you want to set up, say, input labels, you have to go hunting through the other menus for the appropriate command (hint: it's under Options).

Speaking of input options, switching from your DVR to your DVD player entails scrolling through every input in between those two, including those that are empty. The LG Electronics 42LB5D knows which ones are connected to something - they're highlighted - but it makes you scroll through them all anyway.

At least the LG Electronics 42LB5D's input ports face outward (most of them on the back and a few on the side), so it's easy to plug items into them.

The LG Electronics 42LB5D comes with an unusually brief (32 pages) manual. But that doesn't mean everything is simple. You also get a CD-ROM containing a second manual in PDF form, this one running 110 pages. The electronic manual is so exhaustive it even mentions a picture-in-picture feature that the TV doesn't actually have.

A USB port on the front of the LG Electronics 42LB5D allows you to attach an external media device so you can view photos or listen to music stored on it. The television supports HDMI's CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) feature - although LG calls it SimpLink - which allows one remote to control all CEC-compatible home theatre devices, and allows the devices to control each other through the HDMI cable. For instance, the act of placing a DVD in a CEC-compatible player might cause your TV to switch on and set itself to the correct input.

The LG Electronics 42LB5D's programmable remote feels a bit heavy, but it's reasonably well laid-out and the important buttons are easy to get to.


Given the impressive feature set and rapid response time, we are slightly disappointed with the image quality the LG Electronics 42LB5D produces. And the onscreen menu system is pretty complex.