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LG 42LB550V review

 Review: November 2014  

Rating: 2 stars

In a nutshell: This is one of the cheapest 42 inch TVs you can buy, but there's a good reason why it's so cheap.


Design & looks

LG has made some gorgeous televisions in recent years, but this isn't one of them. The LB550V is a very ordinary-looking television. Although the bezel surrounding the screen is reasonably slim, the plastic stand looks cheap and lets down the overall appearance of the TV. It's a low-cost TV, but it's a pity that it has to look cheap too.

Picture quality

You may be wondering why this TV is so cheap. Picture quality is one of the reasons. The screen uses IPS technology, which is relatively rare in modern TVs. Most manufacturers use PVA or PA panels. IPS screen have the benefit of wide viewing angles, so the picture retains its colour saturation when viewed from an angle. That's useful if you have seats arranged to either side of the TV. However, the price you pay for this is that IPS panels generally lack contrast. They are unable to produce the deep blacks and high contrast ratios of PA/PVA TVs. Instead the images tend towards greyness.

LG has tried to compensate for this by incorporating a kind of local dimming technology, which enables the backlighting to be varied in different parts of the screen. In theory this would improve the all-important dynamic contrast ratio. But in practice, the number of independent lighting zones is so small that it completely fails in its task. In fact, the image quality may even be worse as a result, because you can actually see the zones dimming.

When it comes to motion control, the results are equally poor. IPS panels are generally slow to respond, and the LB550V is one of the slowest ever - far too slow for a family-sized TVs. Gamers will be disappointed too, as input lag is too slow for modern gaming with a PS4 or Xbox One.

We'd rate the picture quality as "poor."

Audio quality

Oh dear. If you were hoping for any respite, we have bad news. Audio quality is very poor as well. The weedy 5W speakers have a very poor response, with practically no bass at all and very little overall punch. You can choose from a range of 6 audio modes and virtual surround settings, and we wish you luck with those. You will need it.


The options for connecting this TV to other AV devices is very limited. There's an ethernet connection, just 2 HDMI ports (one of which is ARC compatible), a single USB port and some other options for connecting to older devices. It's quite limiting, and we would warn you that this could become a real problem.

Conclusion - cheap for a reason

This is certainly one of the very cheapest TVs on the market from any major manufacturer. But we can't recommend it, even if you're on a budget. You really need to be spending around £100 more to get something of decent quality. This television will disappoint with poor picture quality, dismal audio, and very limited connectivity.

LG 42LB550V features include:

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Average rating from 2 reviews:

Reviewed by iCool from Swiss on 1st Mar 2015
WOW, this television is GREAT! Its cheap!

Reviewed by sandi from scotland on 18th Jan 2015
Tv is ok. Not best picture but for price, 265 at Sainsburys. Only
Other thing is legs on tv are not great, unless you have the appropriate table/stand, for style. Good if I could fined an alternate.

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