Last Updated: November 2, 2013
LG LCD TV Lineup for 2010
Part 2: 120Hz and 240Hz HDTVs
LD520, LD550, and LD650 LG LCD HDTVs
We continue this LG LCD HDTV review by looking at LG's 120Hz and 240Hz LCD HDTVs, namely the LD520, LD550, and LD650 series.
The LD520 introduces the LG LCD TV line to 120Hz TruMotion refresh rate technology. The LD550 step-up series adds LG NetCast Internet TV entertainment to the already interesting feature set of the slightly less expensive LD520 LG HDTVs. Instead, the LD650 series replicates the LD550 feature set but replaces the 120Hz refresh rate with LG's 240Hz TruMotion technology.
Definitely, these are the LG LCD HDTV series that in terms of features, deliver more. In particular, the LD550 is the series that in our opinion delivers the best feature pack to price deal among the full LG LCD lineup in that it is capable of practically delivering the same feature set and picture performance of the LD650 premium LCD TVs for less.
In this LG LCD TV review, we discuss each of these series, pointing out the differences while discussing performance issues.
LG 55-inch 55LM6700 LED TV
Despite a most affordable price, this LED TV from LG for 2012 comes with a stylish design, extensive features, and a great picture.
For more information, please refer to our 2012 LG LED HDTV Review page.
Editor's Note: What we present here are the additional enhancements found on the different step-up and premium LG HDTV series over the core feature set present on all LG LCD TVs discussed under part 1 of this LG LCD HDTV review article. This approach is being adopted to avoid content repetition.
LD520 1080p 120Hz LG LCD TVs
The LD520 series main upgrade over LG's 1080p LD450 entry-level series (discussed in the first part of this review article), is 120Hz refresh rate technology.
It comprises three screen sizes, the 42-inch 42LD520, 47-inch 47LD520, and the 55-inch 55LD520.
From a design perspective, the LD520 comes with a somewhat more pleasing design that takes a rather minimalistic glossy black look complemented by what LG refers to as black 'smog' trim. Online prices at the time of this write-up range from $660 for the 42-inch, $777 for the 47-inch, to $1,300 for the 55-inch LCD HDTV.
Apart from 120Hz refresh rate, other enhancements over the less expensive LG series include the addition of an extra HDMI port for a total of three HDMI inputs and USB2.0 support for video in addition to the photo and music playback found on the entry-level series.
Included, there is also LG's Intelligent Sensor. This helps towards achieving a more comfortable viewing by automatically optimizing the picture to the lighting and color conditions in the room for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
The presence of the Intelligent Sensor also adds an extra feature to LG's Smart Energy Saving menu present on all LG LCD TVs, namely that once you engage the 'Intelligent Sensor' option, it will automatically dim the backlight in line with the ambient light to help reduce power consumption. The Intelligent Sensor can also be activated by selecting the Intelligent Sensor extra picture preset mode present on these LG TVs.
As stated, these LG LCD TVs come with 120Hz refresh rate. This brings with it a pixel response time of 2.4 msec - which is more typical of 240Hz rather than 120Hz systems, and LG's 120Hz TruMotion technology. This higher refresh rate is brought about by generating additional frames between real content for a smoother movement when viewing fast-motion video sequences.
Interesting is that for this year, LG is following on the footsteps of Samsung by offering the ability to adjust dejudder (or smoothness) processing independent of blur reduction. This independent dejudder/blur control is important as the extra smoothness brought about by the higher refresh rate is not for everyone; some may consider this extra smoothness when viewing movie content as unnatural. Having independent dejudder/blur controls means that it is possible to get zero smoothness with film-based content while still enjoying the benefits of improved motion resolution resulting from the higher refresh rate.
This two-slider dejudder/blur (on LG HDTVs it is being labeled as judder rather than dejudder as instead it should be) was originally pioneered by Samsung two years ago. We did not find any professional reviews for this LG series but reviews for LG 120Hz LED TVs appearing elsewhere seem to confirm that the LG system does not work as fine as that employed on Samsung HDTVs. With the dejudder (judder) slider set to 'zero', the LG system handles 1080p/24 content in a similar manner to the 2:3 pulldown process used on 60Hz TVs. This means that with the Judder control set to '0', it produces the same hitching, jerky effect so much typical of 60Hz HDTVs when displaying 24-frame film base content. The latter is most noticeable in scenes that incorporate slow camera pans or in scenes shot with a handheld camera.
Furthermore, in their reviews for both the 47LE5500 and the 47LE8500 LG LED TVs, Cnet reports that increasing the dejudder slider just above zero would introduce too much smoothness, meaning that the only way to get correct film cadence on these LG HDTVs is to turn TruMotion off - in which case, these LG LCD TVs would then use 2:2 pulldown processing to handle 24p content. But then this would rob you of the increased motion resolution supported by the higher refresh rate; not that you would notice the difference with the unaided eye in that it is difficult to discern the added benefits of increased motion resolution especially with broadcast content when using 120Hz systems.
Unfortunately, there is too much confusion surrounding the subject of high refresh rate on LED and LCD TVs. It is not the scope of this LG LCD TV review to go into the details of the effects of higher refresh rates and dejudder processing, LCD response time, and motion blur. Yet it is important to note that the resultant smooth action applies mainly to film-based (24 frame-per-second) content as it helps eliminate the resulting judder when using 2:3 pulldown processing with 60Hz HDTVs.
LD550 1080p 120Hz LG LCD TVs with LG NetCast Support
The LD550 series introduces the new 2010 LG LCD TV line to Internet TV entertainment through NetCast entertainment access platform.
This is also the CCFL LCD TV series that comprises the largest number of screen sizes - five in total ranging from medium size 32-inch LCDs to massive 60-inch LCD TVs, namely the 32-inch 32LD550 ($580), 42-inch 42LD550 ($750), 46-inch 46LD550 ($900), 52-inch 52LD550 ($1,300), and the 60-inch 60LD550 ($2,000.)
LG 42LD550 42-inch 1080p LCD TV with NetCast Internet TV access
Design takes the typical black clone appearance with a full glossy black panel complemented by a 'Nobel Titan' trim.
As stated, the main upgrade over the less expensive 120Hz LG LCD TV series is Internet TV access through LG's NetCast. NetCast was originally pioneered by LG in 2009 and was the first to include Netflix. So far it has proved to be one of the best Internet TV experiences ever. The new implementation is much faster - though not as fast as Samsung's new web-connected TV platform - Samsung Apps.
With NetCast, the user can stream movies, TV shows and videos with Netflix, giving you access to a library of thousands of titles. You can also view YouTube videos, and stream Vudu movies in full 1080p HD resolution and 5.1 surround; at present, there are more than 2,000 HD titles to choose from. You also get direct access to Yahoo TV Widgets for up-to-the-minute news, stock information, weather updates, Flickr and much more, without the need for a computer.
For 2010, this NetCast platform has been further improved and includes access to Napster™ to enjoy unlimited on-demand streaming of music, and Roxio CinemaNow™ for instant access to pay-per-view movies from major studios directly on the TV screen.
Other enhancements over the LD520 series include an additional HDMI port for a total of four, an improved 2-way-4-speaker sound system over the 1-way-2-speaker setup of the LD520, an extra USB2.0 port with JPEG, MP3, MPEG-4 and DivX HD support, an extra component video input for a total of two, and an Ethernet port for network connectivity and Internet access. In this respect, LG connectivity suite is one of the most complete.
Included is DLNA support but that according to LG can handle only JPEG files. Not much but still better than most of the equally priced competition; note however that most reports on LG's DLNA functionality show that the LG DLNA interface is rather slow especially when browsing folders with a large number of photos on your network connected PC.
These LG LCD TVs also come as wireless-ready when fitted with the optional LG’s AN-WF100 Wi-Fi USB adapter, and wireless 1080p ready to reduce the cable clutter around your TV when fitted with the optional LG AN-WL100W Wireless Media Kit.
LG says that the wireless media kit supports streaming of 1080p full HD content to your TV from up to 50 feet away, even through walls and doors. But the LG media kit gets mixed consumer reviews - with some complaining of communication problems between the media kit and the LG TV even at 12 ft away when the media kit was enclosed in an AV closet.
One final but less important enhancement is a higher dynamic contrast ratio of 150,000:1 instead of the 100,000:1 of the LD520 series. The difference in absolute terms may appear significant but as already expressed earlier on, it is impossible for the eye to perceive any difference in picture quality at these contrast levels.
The LD650 Series of Premium 1080p 240Hz LG LCD TVs
LG 47LD650 47-inch 1080p 240Hz LCD TV with NetCast Internet TV access
LG's premium series of CCFL backlit LCD TVs is the LD650. It comprises just two models, the 47-inch 47LD650 and the 55-inch 55LD650. The LD650 series main upgrade is LG's 240Hz refresh rate TruMotion technology with its separate 'judder' and 'blur' reduction sliders as further explained earlier on in this LG LCD TV review for the LD550 series 120Hz HDTVs.
Design takes the typical black clone appearance with its full glossy black frame, one that is easily mislead with that of the less expensive series.
What differentiate the LG premium series from the other models is the trim color round the set bezel which in the case of the LD650 LG LCD TV series is what is being referred to as opera rose.
Jumping onto LG's 240Hz premium LCD TV series costs approximately $300 more than the LD550 equivalents, with prices ranging from $1,180 for the 47-inch to $1,580 for the larger 55-inch HDTVs.
We say equivalents because both LG's 120Hz TruMotion and 240Hz TruMotion systems share the same strengths and weaknesses as further explained under the LD550 series. In addition, the benefit of 240Hz refresh rate over 120Hz systems is extremely difficult to perceive. It is true that 240Hz refresh rate systems support a higher motion resolution but the difference in motion resolution between 120Hz and 240Hz HDTVs is such that you would need special test patterns to be able to perceive the difference. This also explains why marketing of the more expensive 240Hz refresh rate technology relies heavily on test patterns.
Apart from 240Hz refresh rate technology, other enhancements are insignificant in that they would not impact picture performance. These include a 2msec pixel response time necessary for 240Hz refresh technology instead of the 2.4msec found on the LD550 series, and a somewhat higher dynamic contrast ratio rating of 200,000:1 for the premium series over the 150,000:1 for the LD550.
Some may say that in absolute terms, this represents more than 30% increase over that of the LD550 series. But as further explained under part 1 of this LG LCD TV review, it would be practically impossible to perceive the difference in picture quality between the two series as a result of the higher contrast rating.
This means that in terms of picture performance, one should expect very similar picture quality to that supported by the LD550. In other words, the extra $300 one has to spend to jump onto LG's 240Hz bandwagon would not yield any added benefit to those looking for the best picture. This also explains why it is the LD550 series of CCFL backlit LG LCD TVs that is performing better in HDTV sales.
Mind you, consumer reviews posted online show that customers are extremely satisfied with their LD650 series LG LCD TVs - achieving close to 4.7 stars out of 5 in reviews posted by over 33 customers at amazon at the time of this review. In particular, the 47-inch 47LD650 managed to get five stars out of five in the posted reviews at amazon. This is truly amazing. In fact, the only few issues which cropped up in customer feedback relate either to problems with shipping - including a damaged set most probably during shipping, and the relative poor sound quality, something which is typical of all flat-panel TVs - not just these LG HDTVs.
As stated, LG's CCFL-backlit LCD TV lineup is one of the smallest for 2010 from a major TV maker; but it is one that represents various valid HDTV options - from cheap entry-level LCD TVs - to affordable premium LCD TVs that are capable of solid picture performance. It is true that these are not the type of LCD HDTVs that get reviewed by most major professional review site; you see, the push by both TV makers and retailers is often towards the more expensive LED TVs. But the lack of professional reviews is more than made up for by the numerous positive consumer feedback posted online at major retail stores.
And while these CCFL backlit LG LCD TVs miss on the thinness and energy efficiency of the much touted edge-lit LED TVs, these conventional LG LCD TVs deliver plenty of features and yes, a great overall picture performance once calibrated with solid blacks and accurate colors, for significantly less than their LED TV counterparts
Not only, in certain aspects of picture performance, namely screen brightness uniformity and off-axis viewing, these CCFL LG LCDs even outperform LED TVs.
But LED TV competition apart, these LG CCFL backlit LCD TVs also perform well against the CCFL competition from other major brands - offering numerous picture settings and conveniences, and a picture performance that is very much in line with that of similar priced competition from Samsung and Sony. This is something which the few professional LG LCD TV reviews and the numerous customer feedback posted online all agree about.
The bottom line: Styling is not among the most exotic around - with these LG LCD TVs taking the appearance of basically another black clone - even though step-up and premium series get a somewhat more pleasing design, but nothing of the sort found on LG's Infinia series of plasma and LED TVs.
And if you are after 3D, you will be disappointment; LG has reserved the 3D feature support to its expensive flagship LX9500 LED TV featured here.
But if 3D is not for you, and you do not mind the rather uninspiring design, then these relatively inexpensive 2010 CCFL-backlit LG LCD TVs represent a solid choice for those in the market determined to get the best deal for the price.
Bestselling models include the 42-inch 42LD550 and 46-inch 46LD550 120Hz LG LCD TV with NetCast Internet TV platform. These are also the LG LCD TVs that are getting the best customer ratings. This is no surprise; these affordable LG LCD TVs deliver practically the same feature set and picture performance of the more expensive LD650 series HDTVs at significantly less.
Equally popular sets - though not to the same degree - are the 42-inch 42LD520 and the 55-inch 55LD520 - which despite lacking LG's NetCast feature, picture wise they can deliver a picture that is very much in line with that of the more expensive LG series. In reality, the LD520 are the LG TVs to opt for if you do not care about Internet TV and want to make the most out of your budget.
Would you like to let us know what you think?
Would you like to express your opinion and share your views with our readers about the latest CCFL backlit LG LCD TVs?
What do you think about the LG LD650 series of LCD TVs for 2010? Would you opt for the LD650 instead of the less expensive but equally performing LD550 series? Would you buy a CCFL-based LCD TV, or you will just buy one of the latest LED TVs irrespective of what traditional LCD TVs have to offer?
We are interested in your opinion, and many others are interested too! All you have to do is to submit your comments using the comments box below.