The LG 42LV4400 LED HDTV performs well overall, but lacks some important features you may see in competing televisions.
The menu is the same one LG has been using for a few years now. Pushing the "home" button brings up selections for changing picture/audio/parental/time/channel settings etc. These sub-menus are easy to navigate thanks to pictures and large text. While the organization of the menus are great, the breadth of the options available is disappointing.
The picture on most LCD's is rather good these days. The 42LV4400 ranks right up there with any mid-range HDTV. The blacks could be much better, but with some good tweaking in the regular menu settings, you can achieve fairly decent color accuracy and 'pop' (the sensation of depth and realism). As with most LCD's, the brightness is more than abundant, making it a good TV for any room. It also has a matte finish, which makes it difficult to see reflections.
The bezel of the TV is 1" on top and sides but almost 3" on the bottom. The bezel and stand are a high-gloss black with very simple contours and slightly rounded edges. Overall, it looks plain but also attractively understated. It would be a good choice for a professional environment as well as a home.
The LG 42LV4400 is fairly light, making it easy to setup by oneself. The stand seems sturdy enough, but a little more weight would have been comforting. The stand doesn't offer any tilt and doesn't swivel too well. The inputs are...streamlined: there is one component input and no composite inputs besides; no dvi. The three HDMI inputs are ample though and the USB port is a good addition. The buttons on the TV are not in the most convenient place, being recessed on the side by 2.5". The buttons feel cheap, but are responsive. Most people will use the remote anyway, which is more of the same. The remote feels cheap as well, but looks okay and works fine. Since there aren't a ton of features on this TV, the remote is simple enough. There is no ethernet nor wi-fi.
One option I always look for right away is smoothing out motion (sometimes separated into blur and judder). Most LCD's have issues producing clear, smooth, flowing video of motion. This is a major disadvantage vs. plasma, which does not suffer the same problem. The refresh rates (120Hz or 240Hz instead of 60Hz) are used to adjust the way your eyes see the motion on the television. In the best TV sets, the video is processed so that there is no stuttering and also no "Soap Opera Effect," a problem introduced when there is too much processing that can make any video look unnaturally smooth as the processing tries to correct the normal variations in speed that us living things tend to do so much when we move about. Unfortunately, with the 42LV4400, you have almost no control over the motion handling, aside from selecting a picture mode (Cinema, Game, Sport, etc). In Game mode, the motion handling is turned off to reduce input lag. In Sport mode, it is turned all the way up, so you can see a football gliding from the quarterback to receiver without too much choppiness.
If you plan to calibrate this TV yourself, you'll be sorely disappointed. My older 42LH90 has settings for 10-point IRE gray scale and color/tint settings for primary and secondary colors. Such features as those may only interest videophiles with a spectrometer at their disposal, but the 42LV4400 completely lacks the ability to adjust the gray scale. Most other TV's I've come across in the last few years at least have a 2-point IRE gray scale adjustment. I assume more calibration settings are available in the service menu, but I haven't found how to access that, despite reading through the manual on the included CD.
The picture menu lacks some important settings, but does let you create a fairly convincing picture overall. See the end of the review for my settings (though every panel is different). Parental controls are well laid out. The Game mode seems to work well enough to play FPS, though a game like Rock Band may still need some adjustment in-game. Sound is okay, but I'd recommend using external speakers with any TV. Unfortunately, the USB access will only let you view pictures. You can't view movies or listen to music from the USB port like you can on some other LG models. Also, I did run into a peculiar issue where this TV failed to input any signal from my DVDO video filter. Both functioned normally when paired with other devices.
The 42LV4400 lacks the features necessary to be considered a high-end TV, but it is capable of producing an excellent picture that will rival any mid-range TV. I'd recommend this model to anyone trying to get the best picture for the least amount of money. It would best fit a consumer who typically doesn't bother adjusting the settings on their TV and isn't bothered by the way some LCD's poorly handle motion. It would also be a great fit for professional settings, like a conference room or waiting area.
UPDATE: I just measured the input lag of this TV compared to my HP ZR24w (S-IPS LCD, not CRT) computer monitor and using game mode. The LV4400 averaged roughly 10-15ms behind. In the other modes it crept up to around 30-40ms. These results are very good and likely reflect the moderate use of video processing.
UPDATE (11/28): I recently added a close-up of the pixels in what looks like a ">>>" shape. This indicates that my LG 42LV4400 is an IPS panel. The viewing angles are very good as would be typical of an IPS. The prime viewing angle seems to be +/- 30° from center (side to side) with only minor loss of contrast up to +/- 45° and subtle degradation at wider angles.
--My Settings (3 sets)--
Aspect 16:9 -- Set by Program -- Set by Program
Energy Saving: Auto -- Medium -- Minimum
Picture Mode: Cinema -- Standard -- Game
Backlight: 30 (can't change if energy saving is Auto) -- 70 -- 70
Contrast: 80 -- 88 -- 85
Brightness: 60 -- 52 -- 50
Sharpness: 56 -- 50 -- 55
Color: 55 -- 65 -- 55
Tint: 0 -- 0
Color Temp: Medium -- Medium -- Medium
Fresh Contrast: High -- High -- Off
Fresh Color: Low -- Low -- Off
Noise Reduction: Medium -- Medium -- Off
Gamma: High -- Medium -- Low
Black Level: Auto(cant change in any setting -- Auto - -Auto
Eye Care: Off -- Off - Off
Real Cinema: On -- On -- Off
UPDATE for calibration enthusiasts:
Notes on calibration from color spectrometer readings with HFCR and EyeOne Display2: The Game mode produced the flattest gamma but all were roughly 2.1 on average with the other modes spiking up high towards the 90% and 100% on grayscale. The grayscale was very good with Cinema mode producing mostly 5-6 and in Standard mode 6-8. If I had access to the service menu, I'm confident I could get a highly accurate grayscale since red steadily undershot (switching to warm color temp overcompensated). Game mode the grayscale error suffered, pushing up to 10 on many readings. The Cinema mode had a wildly off Blue result of 50, but otherwise the primary and secondary colors were on the 10-20 delta E range. I was able to push the contrast to Y=200 at 100% and Y=0.1 at 0% without much trouble. My calibrated settings were around Y=100 at 100% and Y=0.2-0.4 at 0%. I was unable to access the service menu; Pronto access codes for Harmony remote did not work, though they did function on my LG 42LH90.