Kogan 42-inch 1080p LCD TV

Kogan's 42-inch panel offers a budget entry point into 1080p Full HD TV, but there are compromises to deal with along the way.


7.2
CNET Rating
3.8
User Rating

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Design
While it lacks the brand presence of Sony, Samsung and LG, local Aussie brand Kogan has been working under the same basic modus operandi for the past couple of years; importing Chinese-produced AV equipment, rebadging it with the Kogan name, and selling it directly to consumers at a lower price than many of the overhead-bearing brand names can manage. TVs have been a particular speciality of the company, and so it's not surprising to note that the first thing that leaps out at you about the Kogan 42-inch 1080p LCD TV is the price.

Why are we talking about the price in the space where we should be mentioning the design? Well, largely because the design is the area where, fairly predictably, you won't be seeing too much innovation, simply because that kind of stuff costs extra. The 42-inch TV isn't as stunning as, say the crystal design of Samsung's latest LCD TVs or the straight up elegance of many Sony Bravia models. Equally, it's not actively unpleasant. Sometimes a TV just needs to look like a TV, and thankfully that's exactly what the Kogan does look like. It would make a very poor toaster, after all.

One design decision that does make the Kogan a little tougher to like than a number of other comparable 42-inch units is the location of the AV ports. They're all at the rear, they all point upwards, and they're all slightly recessed behind the back panel, which makes them a right pain in the posterior when you're trying to plug in new components. Some people will set up only one or two boxes to the Kogan and never notice some of this stuff, and it's a problem that's hardly unique to Kogan.

Features
The 42-inch Kogan LCD is 1080p compliant, which means, not that shockingly, that it has a top resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. The details on Kogan's website suggests that it's an LG panel at heart, although as the company does sell direct and changes its offerings from time to time — depending largely on what it can source from its Chinese factory partners — that might not be true by the time you read this review. The TV supports a 100Hz refresh rate, in step with most modern HD panels, as well as Kogan's take on signal processing, which it refers to as Kogan MotionMax.

All so far, so good — but where's the catch that keeps the price low? Well, at least partially, it's in the ports, or relative paucity thereof in the HDMI space; two HDMI, two component and a single D-Sub, composite and S-Video is your lot. We're getting very used to seeing TVs with three or more HDMI ports, which is very handy for the family with a Blu-ray player, games console and, say HD PVR such as a TiVo. Only having two HDMI ports means that quality compromises may have to be made. Again, tastes and needs vary.

Performance
The Kogan 42-inch 1080p panel's performance was, to put it politely, mixed. Direct HD free-to-air was acceptable but not spectacular — the unit does come with an in-built HD tuner — but once we started throwing true 1080p HD content at it, we did see some problems emerge.

While we admire the chutzpah that has the founder slapping his name not just on the front of the TV, but also on the signal processing unit, we can't say that we were that thrilled with Kogan's MotionMax performance. Picture control is managed via four profile choices: Standard, Mild, Dynamic and a single user-configurable setting. The Dynamic setting was very busy trying to keep up with our test discs, and as such gave us constant headaches tracking all the contrast changes it tried to foist on us.

Rather than being a complex sea-green, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ended up looking like a bath full of GI cordial on Dynamic. Standard was acceptable but not great, and Mild was OK for most purposes. Still, to get the most out of this panel you're going to have to get your hands dirty and come up with a best-case User profile. Sadly, as video sources and quality differ, the fact that there's only one user profile means you're most likely going to have to compromise somewhere, unless you feel like twiddling your profile for every movie you watch.

The other, more troubling video aspect we noticed on our test panel was some light spill-over from the top of the LCD, which made itself known in the form of two bright spots at the top left and top right of the panel. In full video scenes they tended to vanish, but any kind of black backdrop (or credits roll) made them rather painfully obvious.

The TV remote is a touch on the busy side, and virtually identical to the remote used in Kogan's Blu-ray player, which led to some interesting moments of confusion when we tested both side by side. More genuinely problematic was the fact that, even after several changes of fresh batteries, we found that the remote and TV didn't want to talk to each other all that much unless we were on a very direct facing to the TV itself, which we suspect is a sensor problem at the TV end.

One other oddity with the remote is that the volume buttons are printed with the volume up/down controls going left to right. We've no idea why, and while it doesn't affect the actual use of the buttons (which are still vertically oriented relative to each other), it's mildly off-putting if you're looking at the remote and expecting the same pattern that every other remote in the history of the universe has used.

Like the earlier Kogan 1080p camcorder, and even the more recent Blu-ray player, the Kogan 1080p 42-inch LCD TV is a unit of compromises made in the name of affordability. You won't get a best-of-breed solution here, but equally you're not paying for one at this kind of price — at least until the general price of 1080p LCDs tumbles a little.



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BigMac9
1
Rating
 

"WORTHLESS WARRANTY"

BigMac9 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:looks ok

The Bad:WORTHLESS WARRANTY, BAD PICTURE, SLOW CHANNEL CHANGE

NOT RECOMMENDED. Yeah like you wish I'd read some independent reviews. Kogans warranty is worthless. They want me to ship it back in the original pack. Who keeps the original pack? Anyway I can't even lift the thing let alone pack it.

MelindaW Facebook
4
Rating
 

"Mixed reviews"

MelindaW posted a review   

The Good:Price and 42"

The Bad:Service, product and delivery of the 55"

Should have read the reviews first before I purchased. Ordered a 55" LED LCD with PVR in Feb., said they delivered. Got lost somewhere. Then said they would refund the money - I wanted the TV - should have taken the money. Sound not synchronised - don't think it is the model that I ordered. Trying to deal with me through the techs. Can't even download the programs they suggest. On the other hand have a 42" LED LCD with PVR and it has been excellent.

 

betterpayoverhead posted a comment   
Australia

After having massive problems with my Samsung 100hz flat panel TV, I decided to buy a Kogan since it has been recommended by a friend. Foolish me didn't do any research on Kogan and I am now learning the hard way that I should have spent a few 100 dollars more and would have gotten a proper TV.
The picture quality is more than questionable, the unit came without a manual, the TV is unable to program ABC since it does not offer to program channel 2 where ABC should be (at least with the 2 TV's I had before and always had ABC), Channel ten and its 'babies' had to be programmed manually...the list goes on.
If you are considering to buy a Kogan, please do yourself a favour and keep re-considering and then decide on a slightly more expensive product but get the security of a brand and save yourself a lot undue stress while trying to get the cheapo version of a flat panel to work.
Should however anyone have an idea how I can get ABC1 and its additional channels, please let me know ......

BelindaL1 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"Arseholes"

BelindaL1 posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:These guys are so arrogant they dont give a **** about customer service

DO NOT BUY FROM THESE GUYS!!!!! Unless you are happy to pay shitloads for shipping and not receive the delivery for a week...they are happy to take your money but don't give a **** about making you wait I'm sorry but if you are running an internet business I expect next day delivery like EVERY other major appliance retailer.. DISGUSTED...

smallwales
1
Rating
 

"crap"

smallwales posted a review   
United Kingdom

The Good:nothing

The Bad:poor quality picture

picture quality is rubbish,i emailed kogan about this problem and they more or less said tuff you bought it live with it. not a good advert for a company hoping to break into uk market,dont buy save up to get a better brand

Bluexygt
8
Rating
 

Bluexygt posted a review   

Have not had one single problem with either my 42" or 19" LCD I bought, looking at buying a 32" for the bedroom & upgrading to 42"LED.

Tobes
1
Rating
 

Tobes posted a review   

The Good:price

The Bad:quality, reliability

I bought 3 Kogan products.
a 42"LED LCD - on second one now, and its still playing up. screen randomly goes black. Severe backlight bleeding

A pocket HD video camera - first one DOA, second one - very poor quality video.

3rd Blu Ray - squeels like a pig and sounds like it needs a good oil!

i'll never buy another koganm product again

 

Aussie posted a comment   

I would never buy another Kogan product again, absolutely crap

r2d2
1
Rating
 

r2d2 posted a review   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:everything

nothing much to say exept absolutely crap and ony gave it a one cause 0 wasnt an option


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User Reviews / Comments  Kogan 42-inch 1080p LCD TV

  • BigMac9

    BigMac9

    Rating1

    "NOT RECOMMENDED. Yeah like you wish I'd read some independent reviews. Kogans warranty is worthless. They want me to ship it back in the original pack. Who keeps the original pack? Anyway I ca..."

  • MelindaW

    MelindaW

    Rating4

    "Should have read the reviews first before I purchased. Ordered a 55" LED LCD with PVR in Feb., said they delivered. Got lost somewhere. Then said they would refund the money - I wanted the TV -..."

  • betterpayoverhead

    betterpayoverhead

    "After having massive problems with my Samsung 100hz flat panel TV, I decided to buy a Kogan since it has been recommended by a friend. Foolish me didn't do any research on Kogan and I am now learni..."

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