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LG 47LX6900 3D Edge LED TV Review

LG has dabbled with nearly every 3D flavour known to man. The only conspicuous absentee from a list that already includes plasma, direct LED TV and passive LCD is edge LED, something now put right by the 47LX9900.

This set costs £1,300, which seems reasonable for a 47-inch, 3D-capable TV that looks great packs and packs a fearsome set of specifications.Hopefully, this ostensibly attractive price hasn’t been achieved at the expense of picture quality.

Elsewhere in LG’s expansive 3D stable you’ll find the 60-inch 60PX990 and 50-inch 50PX990 plasmas alongside the impressive, direct LED LX9900 series.

The sole passive 3D set – which doesn’t deliver 3D in HD – in LG’s range is the 47-inch 47LD950 and is really only interesting because it trades 3D resolution for the near-total removal of crosstalk noise, and uses non-electronic glasses that cost mere pence compared to the £100 or so commanded by the average pair of active shutter specs.

The 47LX6900′s 3D transmitter is contained within the TV’s body, while a pair of LG’s acceptably comfortable active shutter glasses is thrown in with the TV for free.

Clearly, it’s unlikely that many people buying a 47LX6900 will watch 3D programmes on their own all the time, so families will have to factor in around £100 for each extra set of glasses they need. With this in mind, it’s a pity LG couldn’t see its way to including two pairs of glasses for free, as Philips and Panasonic do (though it’s surely no coincidence that LG’s arch rival, Samsung, also only gives away single pairs).

Other headline features include a full HD resolution, a Freeview HD tuner, 200Hz processing and LG’s NetCast online platform.

The 200Hz system is in fact a 100Hz system working in conjunction with a scanning backlight. While this might seem rather misleading, it’s not worth taking too much umbrage over, given the effectiveness such systems have shown in reducing motion blur and judder.

NetCast, on the other hand, is just plain disappointing: it only offers YouTube, the Picasa online photo album site and a basic weather forecasting system. LG is promising a much more content-heavy online service for 2011, but right now NetCast is a second-tier online operation compared to the services offered by some rival brands.

There’s nothing second-tier about the connections, though. Four HDMIs, USB, a LAN port and a PC input mark this out as a TV that takes its multimedia duties seriously.

The LAN port can pipe in files from DLNA PCs as well as delivering NetCast and future interactive Freeview HD services, while the USBs are capable of playing MP3 music, JPEG photo and DivX HD video files.

A consistent strength of LG’s recent TVs has been their tendency to go the extra mile to let you – or a professional TV installer – get down and dirty with fine-tuning picture tools. Switch on the 47LX6900′s Expert mode, and some of the headline tools that open up to you include 10- or two-point gamma tweaking, contrast and brightness adjustments for the red, green and blue primaries, and saturation and tint adjustments that encompass yellow, magenta and cyan, as well as the RGB ones. It’s no surprise, then, that the Imaging Science Foundation has endorsed the set.

There are also a multitude of noise reduction settings, a backlight adjustment and countless other bits and bobs besides. Many of these lesser options are best used sparingly, if at all, as some can undermine, rather than improve picture quality with certain sources.

One last feature of note on the 47LX6900 is its local dimming engine. Unfortunately, this is nothing at all like the hugely helpful local dimming systems found in direct LED sets. All that happens if you leave the local dimming feature on with the 47LX6900 is that whenever a bright object appears against a dark background, you can clearly make out a greyish rectangle or square sitting around the bright object.

While the screen looks extremely bright and punchy at the lightest, most colourful end of the visual spectrum, it struggles to deliver a convincing black colour.

This takes place on two levels; the general tone of dark scenes is rather grey, leaving you squinting through a gentle fog in search of shadow details and the same problem finds dark scenes looking much less convincing than bright ones.

Worse is the appearance in each of the 47LX6900′s corners of some marked backlight inconsistency. This is invisible during bright scenes, to be fair, but it’s impossible to miss/ignore during very dark scenes.

Black levels improve in some ways if you activate the local dimming feature, but the aforementioned downsides to using this feature outweigh any benefit.

The other serious problem with the 47LX6900 is 3D crosstalk. Whenever you watch any three-dimensional material – regardless of whether it’s Blu-ray, a console game or Sky’s 3D channel – the performance is hindered by the clear and consistent appearance of double ghosting around some objects and edges, especially those in the mid to far distance.

As well as reducing the sharpness of 3D pictures, the crosstalk noise makes the overall experience rather arduous.

No 3D TVs has completely avoided crosstalk so far, but the extent to which it mars the 47LX6900 is much higher than it is with some rival screens, particularly plasmas.

Continuing the negative theme, the 47LX6900′s colours don’t impress as much as they have with a number of other recent LG TVs. They are undoubtedly dynamic and rich but aren’t as subtle as they ought to be, resulting in slightly artificial skin tones as the TV fails to delineate small, but crucial tonal differences.

One last problem is that while the motion processing manages to keep blur on a tight leash, it also generates a few unwanted processing side effects on all bar the very lowest settings. The same can be said, of course, of many motion compensation engines, but the 47LX6900 seems less adaptive than the best rival systems.

Pictures are, however, impressively vibrant and dynamic. These innate, aggressive qualities serve the set particularly well when showing 3D, since they fight very effectively against the way 3D images lose brightness and saturation when you don active shutter 3D glasses. Certainly, the 47LX6900′s 3D pictures look much more dynamic and punchy than those of Panasonic’s otherwise excellent 3D plasma TVs.

The 47LX6900 also really seems to enjoy highlighting all the detail that defines high-definition material, delivering sharpness and texturing galore with Blu-rays or HD material from its Freeview HD tuner.

It’s a solid standard-definition upscaler as well, delivering good sharpness and retaining convincing colours, but falling short of the very best standard-def full HD performers by tending to slightly emphasise source noise.

The 47LX6900′s combination of rich colours, good detailing and high brightness can result in some really pretty blistering 2D pictures at times. It’s just a pity that these times don’t include any dark scenes.

Sound

Considering how thin the 47LX6900 is, it really doesn’t sound too bad. Good movie soundtracks are detailed and lively, thanks to plenty of clear (but not harsh) treble information, and there’s a quite open feeling to the sound that avoids much of the thinness and muddiness so common with thin TVs.

The catch comes with bass reproduction: in keeping with so many other thin TVs, the 47LX6900 just doesn’t produce enough low frequency audio to sound convincing when an action scene is at full throttle.

Value

Taken at face value, the £1,300 price doesn’t seem bad at all. After all, your money is getting you a really attractive, big-screen TV packed with multimedia features and integrated 3D playback.

The deal is soured somewhat, though, by the fact that your enjoyment of both dark scenes and 3D sources is hobbled by some obvious picture problems. The online features are also very basic compared with most rival platforms.

Ease of use

The 47LX6900 continues LG’s fine run of form in this department thanks to arguably the best onscreen menu system on any current TV lineup.

The combination of large, clear icons with a straightforward, intuitive structure and extremely legible text works superbly well.

Part of this intuitiveness is down to a good understanding on LG’s part of how to accommodate different depths of technical know-how, as getting to the most in-depth, options requires you to ‘deep dive’ through submenus; in other words, care has been taken not to overwhelm novices with absolutely every option the TV has to offer the moment they first hit the menu button.

The 47LX6900′s remote control doesn’t look much cop when you first set eyes on it, and feels a touch plasticky, but it harmonises surprisingly effectively with the excellent onscreen menus.

The 47LX6900 is resplendent in its blue-edged black bezel and crisp, slender lines. It lacks the single-layer finish of LG’s premium Infinia sets, but this arguably makes it less reflective of ambient light.

Your enthusiasm will only grow, meanwhile, as you look down its spec sheet and clock both its 3D talents and its connections, which suggest a seriously multimedia-savvy set.

The catch comes when you switch the TV on and find a potentially impressive picture performance spoiled at times by obvious crosstalk noise with 3D sources and an uninspiring black level response made worse by backlight inconsistencies.

We liked:

The 47LX6900 looks very appealing in your average living room, especially if you tend towards quite modern tastes. It’s extremely well provided with connections and features too, and there are times when the set’s brightness, colour vibrancy and sharpness really help pictures shine.

We disliked:

Dark scenes on the 47LX6900 aren’t convincing, thanks to a lack of black level response and patches of backlight inconsistency. 3D pictures are routinely blighted by crosstalk noise and colours aren’t as subtle as they have been on some other recent LG TVs.

Verdict:

LG’s edge LED 3D debut is not the brand’s finest hour. Despite getting off to a very strong start with its pretty design, expansive connectivity and exceptional suite of picture calibration aids, it comes off the rails with conspicuous amounts of crosstalk noise with 3D pictures.

This disappointment isn’t the only one, either, as the set’s black level response looks rather off the pace compared with many current LED-lit TVs.

Fairly undemanding users might find the 47LX6900 satisfactory, but if you want a quality return on your investment in 3D technology and/or love watching films, then its various flaws will be hard to avoid.

Source: crosat.us

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