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0704wv01 LG MZ-42PZ44(L)
q q q q
852 x 480 resolution 1,200:1 contrast 1,000/m2 brightness High-def/progressive scan compatible q Picture-in-picture q Anti-screenburn measures
ince AV newcomer Hyundai hit the magic 1,999 high-street price for a 42in plasma TV, the race has been on to see which of the more established brands will be the first to follow the Korean company into sub-2k territory. LG is the closest so far. Comet is flogging its MZ-42PZ44 online for just 2,200. Although hardly the height of fashion, we have a soft spot for the MZ-42PZ44s looks. The silver finish of the impressively skinny screen frame looks more robust than most and the generally minimalist approach offset by a touch of subtle angling in each corner looks almost elegant. The screens connections are rather odd. In its standard form (as sold by Comet), a bolt-on connections board offers a couple of Scarts, an RF tuner input, an S-video input and a stereo audio input. Elsewhere youll also find RGB and DVI PC inputs, a PC audio input, a PC monitor output, an RS232C port and spring-clip connections for adding a pair of external speakers that come with the screen. Unfortunately, there are neither component video nor composite video inputs. However, all is not lost. For the paltry sum of around 20 you can get a component connections board which slots into a bay on the screens underside. As well as high definition and progressivecapable component jacks, this board offers a BNC composite video jack, another S-video jack and a couple of accompanying stereo audio jacks. (Call LG on the number listed in Specifications if you have trouble getting hold of one of these essential boards.)
42in plasma TV 2,200
The speakers provided with the MZ-42PZ44 are pretty good. They manage to overcome their necessary slimness with an open, airy sound that delivers a wide soundstage and even ships out a reasonable amount of bass when required. Ultimately, though, the picture deficiencies rule the day. Cheap the MZ-42PZ44 may be but you still have to ask yourself if you really want to spend the thick end of 2.2k on a plasma TV, when saving up as little as 600 more might have got you a true plasma star, like Hitachis 42PD5200 John Archer
FEATURES 42in 16:9 plasma TV; 852 x 480 resolution; picture-in-picture with multiple second screen options; teletext; multiple aspect ratios; pic/sound presets; autotuning; colour temp adjust; auto volume leveller; four anti-screenburn measures; on/off timers; auto sleep; child lock; low power mode; luminance noise reduction; manual zoom; VCR/TV modes; 1,200:1 contrast; 1,000cd/m2 brightness; high-def/progressive scan compatibility; dimensions: 990(w) x 671(h) x 110(d)mm; weight: 37kg SOCKETS Standard: 2 Scarts, S-video input; stereo audio input; DVI input; PC VGA input; VGA output; PC audio input; RS 232 jack; stereo speaker jacks With Component board: component video jacks; second S-video jack; composite BNC; 2 more stereo audio inputs CONTACT 0870 6075544, www.lge.co.uk TEST DATA Colour: good slight bleed but edges are reasonably solid and noiseless Convergence: excellent Geometry: excellent Frequency response: excellent clarity to 5.8MHz For a full explanation of test data, see page 132
The MZ-42PZ44 sports far more features than wed expected it too. Sticking strictly to the highlights, there are a series of anti-screenburn measures, an unusual low power option that reduces the screens brightness to increase its lifespan, picture-in-picture facilities and Luminance Noise Reduction.
Having so far exceeded our expectations, the MZ-42PZ44s picture is rather disappointing. A number of small flaws are to blame. Firstly, the colour tone is a bit unnatural for video (although it seems well suited to PC use). Secondly, movement
Ultimately, the picture deficiencies rule the day
sometimes looks a bit smeared or even juddery. Thirdly, the picture lacks the fine detail response of many more expensive screens, leaving pictures a touch soft and indistinct. Finally, the picture tends to look a touch unstable, due to the combined effects of various types of low-level noise. There are some positives, though. The contrast range is very impressive, delivering black levels and peak colours that humble many expensive rivals. Colours dont leak either, theres practically no mosquito noise following movement around and the general brightness level is high. Sadly, though, the net weight of the negatives overwhelms the positives by todays high standards.
Sound; price; looks; connectivity with extra board
Average pictures; need extra connection board
PICTURE SOUND FEATURES EASE OF USE VALUE ALSO CONSIDER.
HYUNDAI HPT-4240 Roughly similar level of performance but a further 200 or so cheaper Reviewed: June 04 HITACHI 42PD5200 Now available for as little as 2,800 if you shop around and offers much better picture quality, especially off DVD Reviewed: June 04
Not horrible but do you really want to spend 2.2k on something thats merely average?
Looks great, but its a tad fiddly
July 2004 s WHAT VIDEO AND WIDESCREEN TV 53
Picture-in-picture with multiple second screen options; teletext; multiple aspect ratios; pic/sound presets; autotuning; colour temp adjust; auto volume leveller; four anti-screenburn measures; on/off timers; auto sleep; child lock; low power mode; luminance noise reduction; manual zoom; VCR/TV modes; 1,200:1 contrast ratio; 1,000 cd/m2 brightness; high definition, prog scan compatibility Weight: 37 kg SOCKETS 2 Scarts (1 RGB); S-video input; stereo audio input; DVI Input; PC VGA input; PC audio input; RS232 jack; VGA output; stereo speaker jacks With component board (optional extra): Component video in; second S-video in; composite BNC; 2 additional stereo audio inputs CONTACT www.lge.co.uk
LG comes away with a must try harder note on its report
leasingly, plasma screens are falling in price all the time. That said, they still represent a high-end purchase for everyone except those with stacks of disposable cash like lotto winners, Premiership football players, billionaire entrepreneurs and, of course, the What Plasma & LCD TV editor. While some manufacturers are happy to compete on price alone, others like Hitachi and Pioneer set the pace in technology, and from what weve experienced in the past, its very much the case that you get what you pay for. However, we do hold out hope for a manufacturer like LG to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by rival brands and produce something as good, for considerably less cash. After all, theres nothing like competition to keep the big boys on their toes. The MZ-42PZ44 boasts side-mounted speakers and a silver matte finish, which is about as dull as they come. It is relatively thin, however, and the accompanying stand feels secure enough to hold your 2,200 investment safely. LGs strategy is, like the modular upgrades offered by Loewe, to allow the user more connection possibilities should they be needed. We would say that this is fair if these upgrades were aimed at the more serious AV customer, but as it stands the one for the MZ-42PZ44 is near essential thanks to the limited mix of terminals on the set itself. Most boxes are ticked, but in solitary form an RF input, S-video and PC input sit beside DVI and RGB Scart connections. What would have satisfied more is the provision of composite and component inputs, but these are
LG flaunts its latest plasma as it attempts to take on the big boys
completely ignored by the Korean company. However, with the upgraded board installed and working, you do get the aforementioned connections (thankfully also offering high definition compatibility), in addition to another S-video port and a couple of extra stereo audio inputs, the latter proving to be quite useless in most circumstances. At least it will only set you back 20, which isnt too much more to pay.
In terms of picture quality, LG comes away with a must try harder note on its report card. Unnatural colour tones are the major culprit particularly from video sources, with skin tones looking false and over-saturated. Not that there are other colour problems; theres relatively little bleed from any sources, which makes it perfect for a PC feed. It is as a large PC monitor that this is perhaps best suited, as movement is another area that erred towards jerky when tested with video. The inadequacies seen here also stretched to a distinct lack of fine detail, and low level noise which results in an unstable picture. The overall effect is very aberrant; an image that doesnt look as good as it should no matter how much we tinkered and played with the settings. On the plus side, this LG has a great brightness level, something that were finding more and more with recent plasmas. Contrast levels werent too bad either, its just a shame that the picture wasnt quite as good as we were expecting in other important areas.
Pleasingly, if you intend to use the speakers that are bundled with the screen, you wont be quite so disappointed. They effortlessly create a wide sound stage, and prove to be particularly impressive with the levels of treble and detail that they are able to produce. Ultimately, if youre looking to invest in a plasma of this size, youve made the decision that its an investment rather than an impulse purchase. For that reason, we would have to go back to our opening comment, and advise that you spend a little bit more for a much better performing screen. WP
THE FLAT FACTS
I 42IN 16:9 PLASMA TV I 2,200 I RESOLUTION: 852 x 480 I DIMENSIONS: W: 990 H: 671 D: 110 (mm) I SPEAKERS: YES I TV TUNER: YES I SCARTS: 2 (1 RGB)
FOR Reasonable price; speakers; connectivity (with extra board) AGAINST Lacklustre design; ideally needs the extra connection board; average picture PICTURE.###$$ LOOKS.###$$ FEATURES.####$ EASE OF USE.####$ VALUE.###$$ Not particularly good value, pictures should be better and the connection board is a necessary upgrade
WHAT PLASMA & LCD TV 69
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