There are several things to consider when looking for the best 42 inch LCD TV. Everyone wants a great picture, nice features, reliability, and an affordable price. Many options are available in this size because it is on of the most popular choices for the home. It works great in the living room as the primary television set because it is best viewed between six and ten feet away.
At this side people might be considering both plasma and LCD. Plasma TVs are known for their good picture quality, especially with sports and things that have fast action that might cause blurring. But they are heavier and less energy efficient than LCD HDTVs. Also, the cheaper plasma models seem to have more problems than the LCD HDTVs. If you have the money to spend, you might want to consider a high-end 42 inch plasma TV. Otherwise, read on for reviews of the best 42 inch LCD TVs on the market.
LG 42LD550 42 Inch LCD TV
One of the best 42 inch LCD TVs is the LG 42LD550. It is the best-selling model at Amazon and with an average rating of five stars it is a customer favorite. This is a moderately priced HDTV with a retail list price of almost $1,000. Fortunately for consumers, it rarely sells for anything close to that price range. Its dimensions in inches is 3.1 by 40.3 by 24.9 and it weighs 30.3 pounds.
This model is full HD with a resolution of 1080p. Most models this size will be 1080p and the difference between this and lower HD like 720p is definitely noticeable. Some older models and discount brands still sell 720p, but those should be avoided if you want the best 42-inch LCD TV.
Two other things that can affect the picture quality are the dynamic contrast ratio and the refresh rate. This set doesn't disappoint with either of these. Unless you are getting a smaller TV, you want to make sure that the dynamic contrast ratio is at least 100,000:1. The LG 42LD550 has one of 150,000:1. This means that the blacks are actually dark and the colors are bright and vibrant. It comes with TruMotion 120Hz which helps to prevent blurring that could otherwise affect the quality of high-speed action such as sports.
This has a decent amount of features for people who want to connect their television set to their internet connection. This model is wireless 1080p Ready or it can be hooked up with the ethernet LAN connection. With this you can access YouTube, your Netflix subscription, the on-demand movie service Vudu, and Yahoo! TV Widgets.
Vizio E420VL 42-Inch Full HD 1080P 120 Hz LCD HDTV
The Vizio E420VL isn't as highly rated as the LG model, but it does cost less so it is a good option for people who have a smaller shopping budget. It has a four star rating. Its dimensions are 3.5 x 40.3 x 25.9 inches and it weighs just under 33 pounds.
Like the LG 42LD550, this is full 1080p HD. It also has the same refresh rate of 120 Hz. The dynamic contrast ratio is still good at 100,000:1, but isn't quite as good as the LG. People who are concerned about picture quality will probably notice the difference, but the Vizio won't look bad. It just won't have as rich of a color difference.
The main complaint about the Vizio is some remote control problems. This can be annoying but this model still offers a lot for its price. One person who had remote issues still expressed satisfaction with the Vizio E420VL.
Panasonic TC-L42U22 42-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV
Another popular option is the Panasonic TC-L42U22. It is similar in cost to the Vizio E420VL. Though it retails for over almost $800, it isn't hard to find for under $700. It doesn't have a lot of reviews, but the customer reviews it does have average five stars. Its dimensions are 40.2 x 12.2 x 26.8 inches and it weighs 45.2 pounds.
I don't actually recommend this model because I feel that its picture quality can't compare to the LG. It is, however, a favorite so I felt that I should list it. It is full HD at 1080p. So it is the highest definition on the market. Its pixels are 1920x1080. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Where it fails is the dynamic contrast ratio and the refresh rate. It isn't 120 Hz, so it can't compete with the other models listed here. And its dynamic contrast ratio is only 20,000:1. This would be fine on a 22 inch LCD TV, but not on a model this size. Still, all of the customer reviews seem satisfied with the picture quality, so you probably won't notice a difference unless you are picky.
The speakers are on the back of this television set, so you'll probably want to turn them up more than you would if they were front-facing. They provide decent but not outstanding sound quality. Of course, most TVs have subpar speakers so this isn't a criticism of this model. Unfortunately, the only audio output is a digital optical one. This is fine if your external speakers have this kind of input, but a lot won't. So if you are planning on hooking up a current home theater system to this TV, check to make sure it has digital optical input first.
Choosing the best 42 inch LCD TV just comes down to features, quality, brand preference, and price. Once you decide on a model, shop around for the best price. Electronics stores and department stores often have the highest prices and lowest selection, but you get the satisfaction of watching your new set the same day you buy it. There are many online retailers, some that specialize in electronics and some that are more general such as Amazon, that have large selections and low prices. Consider the shipping price in your total cost. Many places have free shipping.
If you decide you can't afford a 42 inch LCD TV at this time, you might want to look into smaller models. Though they don't have as many features they still have good value. Consider both the 32 inch LCD TV and the 37 inch LCD TV.