Last Updated: November 2, 2013
LG LED TV Lineup for 2010
Part 2: Key Features
Do these help deliver improved performance?
The latest LG LED HDTVs come with a most impressive list of innovative features. New LED backlight technologies, slimmer designs, 3D, enhanced Internet access, THX certification, and higher refresh rates are just but a few of the many features on offer for 2010.
In this second part of our LG TV review article, we discuss each of these new features to see what is exactly being offered by LG to entice as many of those who would be buying a new LED TV for 2010.
But our discussion does not stop there! In the process, we also see to what extent these new features may eventually contribute to an improved overall TV performance.
Samsung UN60F8000 60-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV
This high-end feature rich LED HDTV comes with Samsung's Micro dimming Ultimate LED backlight technology - among the best in its class for black level performance. It is also the TV with the best feature set.
New features for LG LED HDTVs
Innovation is the name of the game but...
LG HDTVs are characterized by an extensive list of features, from a most complete set of picture settings, to numerous technologically advanced and often innovative features one will ever find on any TV.
But what has always differentiates LG from other TV makers is that LG's feature-packed HDTVs often represent a most affordable TV option.
This year is no exception; rather affordability is one of the main key points in favor of the new LG LED TVs. A case in point is the presence of 120Hz dejudder processing and NetCast on LG's entry-level LED TVs. However, there is more than just affordability. New forms of LED backlight technology, higher refresh rates, 3D, a sleek design, are just but a few of the many features on offer by LG for 2010. But...
Does these help contribute for a more pleasing TV experience and improved performance? We analyze each of these new features on offer to discover more.
The New LG LED TV Lineup: Key Features for 2010
Budget-class LED TVs: A new marketing philosophy common to all major brands
LG's new LED backlights: LG's Full LED Slim and LED Plus represent LG's latest forms of LED backlight technologies to complement the new slim designs
3D Support: Possibly this is the most-touted feature, but is this new advancement ready to deliver the home entertainment many are looking for?
LG Infinia line of Premium LED HDTVs: Definitely, being slim is LG premium HDTVs main characteristic but is there a price to pay?
New Magic Wand Remote Control: Inasmuch as Samsung is touting about its new smart touch-screen remote, LG is boosting about its Wii-like remote for the flagship series.
480Hz refresh rate: A higher refresh rate for all 2010 LG LED TVs - including 480Hz TruMotion technology for LG flagship LED HDTVs - with separate dejudder/blur controls. But does these extra hertz help produce a better picture?
THX Display Certification: LG premium LED HDTVs are among the few that offers THX display certification. However, LG's new LED TVs offers more... now you get also a bright room THX setting!
LG NetCast: When originally introduced in 2009, LG's NetCast was one of the best and well put together Internet-enabled entertainment platforms. What about the new NetCast for 2010?
We discuss each of these key features in substantial detail below.
It seems that for 2010, LED TV makers have decided to capture more of the HDTV market by targeting what up to a year ago was unconceivable - the budget-class market.
As we expressed in our 2010 Samsung LED TV review, this represents a totally new shift in the targeted market. But it comes at no surprise. Research shows that the LED TV market will see a 20% growth during 2010. That's a lot and surely one of the highest at a time when the economy has far from recovered.
LG 42-inch 42LE5400 LED TV
This is what LG is doing with its entry-level series, the LE5300 and LE5400 series, and while even budget-class LG LED TVs are still more expensive than their CCFL LCD counterparts, yet the price difference is becoming just marginal and one that is definitely attractive even to those in the market for an inexpensive HDTV. A case in point is the 42-inch LG 42LE5400; it is selling online for just $1,000, despite being a 120Hz LED TV complete with LG's NetCast Internet-based TV entertainment.
This year, LG is touting about two new forms of LED backlight apart from the standard edge-lit LED backlight we saw for the first time during 2009 - Full LED Slim and LED Plus.
Full LED Slim is in effect nothing new since this is basically the same full array LED backlight with local dimming technology. It is also the one that delivers the best black level performance thanks to the higher number of different screen areas whose brightness can be individually controlled. The latter depends on the TV screen area - with 216 independent dimmable segments for 47-inch sets and 240 for 55-inch sets. As expected, Full LED Slim has been reserved by LG for its premium and flagship series - the LE8500 and the LX9500.
However, what is new with this year's LG full array local dimming is that 2010 LG LCD panels are using a new Integrated Optical Plate (IOP) system that enables LG to use a slimmer LED backlight - hence the term 'SLIM' in the new LG backlight - while still supporting full-array local dimming technology. This also explains how LG managed to come up with a somewhat slimmer design for its LE8500 and LX9500 LED HDTV series - a slim profile that stands at about an inch-thin. This thinness is more in line with edge-lit LED TVs than with full-LED array with local dimming.
Unfortunately, this slim design technology has brought about its share of problems as well when it comes to picture performance. Reviews of both the 47LE8500 and 55LX9500 LG LED TVs published on Cnet and FlatpanelsHD websites show that these premium LG LED TVs suffer from what appears to be lack of brightness uniformity across the screen; this form of brightness uniformity issue is being referred to as horizontal banding. This has also been reported by a number of LG LED TV owners in feedback left on major retail sites.
This horizontal banding refers to a rather non-homogenous change in brightness across the screen when displaying a gradual change in a color shade such as a wide span of sky that is changing in color from light blue to blue. This is due to the new optical plate necessary to support the thinner profile. You see, thin is beautiful but it also results in the light source being too close to the display panel for a more homogenous light diffusion to take place with the present level of independent dimmable screen segments.
Horizontal banding on these LG LED TVs is extremely subtle and hardly noticeable with most picture content but once you start noticing it, most probably you will notice it more often.
Directly associated with full-array LED local dimming technology is blooming, i.e. the resultant halo effect when displaying bright content over predominantly dark background as a result of light leaking from the brighter parts of the image.
Blooming on 2010 LG LED TVs with Full LED Slim technology is very well controlled; partly the reason is the new IOP which helps minimize light leakage between adjacent screen segments. In this respect, these LG LED TVs can do a better job than most other TVs with local dimming - with the exception of the Samsung UNB8500 LED HDTVs.
LED Plus is LG's reference to what Samsung is referring to as precision dimming. As expressed in our discussion on the new 2010 Samsung LED TVs, this is a way of introducing a very basic form of local dimming to an edge-lit LED backlight. It is being used by LG on its step-up series LE5500 and LX6500.
It uses similar edge LED lighting found on standard LED TVs but introduces the ability to dim selected areas on the screen for improved black level performance.
This is possible thanks to:
 An LED edge lighting that is divided into different segments; these can be dimmed independent of each other and in line with the brightness level of the picture content within the respective screen segments they control.
 The use of a special diffusion layer behind the LCD panel that directs light from the respective edge LED sections to selected segments on the display surface.
According to LG, LED Plus introduces up to 16 different addressable screen segments - a far cry from the over 200 addressable segments supported by Full LED Slim backlight technology. But theoretically, the new LG edge-lit LED backlight with basic local dimming technology should still result in improved picture performance over standard edge-LED lighting. It is still not superior to full-array local dimming but probably represents the best compromise between improved black level performance over that possible by standard edge-lit LED backlights, and the higher cost of full LED array systems with local dimming.
We said theoretically because in the case of Samsung, its precision dimming technology has definitely brought about some improvement; in the case of LG, its equivalent LED Plus technology did not bring about the improvement many were looking for.
Mega-Contrast Ratings: Directly related with LED backlights is often a mega-contrast rating. In this respect, LG LED TVs all fall within that category of HDTVs that come with mega dynamic contrast ratings - ratings which are among the highest in the industry. In the case of LG, premium LED TVs come with a dynamic contrast ratio of between 9,000,000:1 and 10,000,000!
But as we further explain in our article 'The Contrast Ratio - Playing with numbers!' a picture is not made of contrast alone. So please do not play the TV makers' game; the impact in picture performance is by far less than what TV makers are trying to imply with their mega contrast numbers.
3D TV is the name of the game - at least this is what TV makers have been trying to make us believe since CES 2010. 3D TV in the home has definitely become a reality...
In this respect, LG is taking a more cautious approach than both Sony and Samsung in that it is one of the TV makers with the least 3D-enabled HDTVs. In total, there are just four 3D LG LED TVs spread over two series, the LX6500 - LG's entry level 3D LED TVs, and the LX9500 flagship series.
Unlike Samsung 3D LED HDTVs, 3D LG LED TVs come with a rather limited 3D menu that basically gives you the option to activate 3D as well as to choose one of the different 3D formats in line with the 3D content being viewed. But there is no built-in 2D-to-3D converter to convert 2D content on the fly, nor the possibility to adjust various 3D parameters for a more pleasing 3D effect.
As with all 3D TVs, to view 3D content on 3D-enabled LG LED TVs, you have to use the LG AG-S100 3D active shutter glasses. Unfortunately, as further explained under our 3D TV section, your child will not be able to use the same 3D TV shutter glasses you use; in other words, the LG AG-S100 is not suitable for your child. The problem is that LG is not making suitable 3D glasses for children.
In any case, we do not think your child will be losing much by not watching 3D TV. The reality is that 3D is still in the making; it is definitely pleasing and 3D LG LED TVs are capable of producing a convincing out-of-the-screen 3D effect despite the lack of 3D controls. But the present 3D TV experience is a far cry from the immersive 3D experience one enjoys at the movie theater. Partly, the reason is the smaller TV screen, the reduced viewing distance, and the reduced 3D parallax necessary to support a comfortable viewing experience within the limitations in the home.
But there is an even more important issue that relates to viewing of 3D TV on LCDs (LED TVs are LCDs with a LED backlight.) It seems that unlike plasma TVs, LCD televisions - whether using a CCFL or LED backlight - are more prone to image crosstalk. The latter is a phenomenon in 3D viewing where a subtle washed-out image intended for the right eye appears as a halo around the image intended for the left eye and vice versa.
This affects the 3D image detail - leading to a subtle double image effect that may at times become annoying with some 3D content. In the worst case, it may even cause eye fatigue. An analogy to 3D crosstalk is the trail effect left behind a fast moving object across the screen on an LCD panel.
It is true that 3D Crosstalk can be caused by a variety of factors including lack of accuracy in the synchronization between the TV and the shutter glasses, as well as too high contrast TV settings or a high contrast image. But it is also enhanced by an insufficient pixel response time. Even the super fast (for an LCD) 1 msec response time of the LX9500 LG LED TV flagship series is not fast enough to eliminate crosstalk completely. Mind you, the LG flagship faster response time helps reduce 3D crosstalk over slower LCD TVs - including the Samsung C8000 series, but it is still present.
This means that in the case of LCDs - CCFL or LEDs - 3D image crosstalk is much more pronounced than plasma TVs due to the slower pixel response time of the former. In other words, with an LCD - whether that being LED or CCFL based, 3D image cross talk is something one has to live with, at least as things stand today. Instead, reviews of the latest 3D Panasonic plasma TVs show that plasma takes the upper hand with hardly any visible crosstalk.
But the way, LCD panels have another drawback when it comes to 3D TV! Because of the polarizer layer used on LCD panels - both on the TV display and the 3D glasses, the viewer has to sit in an upright position to get the 3D effect; try to tilt or sit back with the glasses at an angle to the LCD screen and the image would go dark as the polarization of the display panel and that of the glasses cross each other.
Our advice: Do NOT buy a 3D HDTV for its 3D feature; rather, buy a 3D TV if and only if it offers the 2D image quality and features you are looking for.
According to LG, INFINIA™ TVs represent an innovative new family of LG LED TVs that aim to deliver 'freedom through infinite possibilities' in home entertainment.
LG is presenting three series within its Infinia line, the LE7300, LE8500, and the LX9500. Features of INFINIA LG LED TVs vary by series but the main characteristic is the thinner design complemented by LG's new single sheet of glass that extends from edge-to-edge for a seamless look; this is further complemented by a slim bezel.
Other features include:
Enhanced access to Internet-enabled TV entertainment thanks to LG NetCast feature - through the set broadband connectivity. The latter can be either wired or wireless; however, wireless connectivity requires the optional LG’s AN-WF100 Wi-Fi USB adapter.
Full LED Slim backlight for superior black level performance,
A THX-certified picture for superior picture quality.
Complementing LG's premium LED TVs is LG's AN-WL100W Wireless Media Kit. This is an interesting option to reduce the cable clutter by freeing your TV from interconnects with all your other media sources. 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. This media kit is compatible with all 2010 LG LED TVs featuring NetCast.
Inasmuch as Samsung is touting about its touch screen TV remote for its premium C9000 series, LG is equally boasting of its new Magic Remote. Mind you, Samsung's smart remote stands in a class of its own in terms of innovative features and supported functionality. But the LG Magic wand remote represents an innovative and we add a simple straightforward way of controlling your TV.
The new LG remote utilizes the same principle as Nintendo Wii controllers. Just point it at the screen and move your hand to control the TV. The Magic remote has a few basic buttons like volume control, channel selector, and an OK button. But otherwise it is just an uninspiring-looking piece of gear with which you can do a lot to control your TV functionality.
For 2010, all LG LED TVs - including the larger screen sizes within the entry-level LE5300 series - come with at least 120Hz TruMotion technology. This refresh rate doubles in the case of the LX6500 3D series and the LE8500 premium LG LED HDTVs. Instead, the LG flagship LX9500 series HDTVs come with an even bigger number - 480Hz TruMotion. In the case of the flagship, this is bundled with a gray-to-gray response time of just 1 msec!
It seems TV makers are constantly struggling to come up with the biggest numbers. The reduced 1 msec response time on LX9500 LG LED TVs is necessary to support the 480Hz refresh rate. However, as further expressed in our introduction to this LG LED TV review, because of the way 3D TV works, the 480Hz refresh rate on the flagship line would in effect become 240Hz when viewing 3D content; you would only be viewing at 480Hz when viewing 2D content. You see, with 3D content, each eye would only be seeing half the number of generated frames per second.
This also explains why most 3D TVs come with at least a 240Hz refresh rate since 120Hz is the minimum refresh rate necessary to eliminate judder with film-based sources without resorting to the otherwise necessary 2:3 pull-down processing.
But the increased refresh rate also helps reduce motion blur. This means that LG's 480Hz system will help ensure virtually zero motion blur. This is because the higher fresh rate helps support a higher motion resolution that in the case of the 480Hz is in excesses of the 1080 lines supported by the HD standard.
The higher refresh rate is brought about by interpolating frames between real content for a smoother movement when viewing fast-motion video sequences. In the case of 240Hz and 480Hz systems, LG also uses a scanning backlight technology apart from frame interpolation. This modulates the frequency of the backlight by switching each section of the backlight on and off in sequence in such a manner that is unnoticeable to the human eye. This backlight modulation neutralizes the sample-and-hold effect in the LCD panel. The latter is one of the primary reasons for blurry images on LCD TVs during fast action motion.
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 LED TVs it is being labeled as judder rather than dejudder as instead it should be) was originally pioneered by Samsung two years ago. The LG system does not work as fine as that employed on Samsung HDTVs in that with the dejudder 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.
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. But then this would rob you of the increased motion resolution supported by the higher refresh rate. In fact, Cnet states that the motion resolution on the LE8500 HDTV would fall from close to 1080 lines with TruMotion activated, to the standard 400 lines typical of 60Hz HDTVs.
However, despite what this difference in numbers seems to imply, the reduced motion resolution in itself is not much of an issue. It is already difficult to discern the added benefits of increased motion resolution especially with broadcast content when using 120Hz systems, least imagine 240Hz or 480Hz systems. This also explains why TV makers used special test patterns to promote 240Hz when these first appeared in 2009.
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 LED 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 (due to the use of 2:3 pulldown processing) with 60Hz HDTVs.
More information on this issue is available in our LCD Response Time article; this article also discusses motion blur and 120Hz/240Hz operation.
The LE8500 and LX9500 LG LED TV series come with THX display certification. LG is one of the few TV makers that this year is presenting HDTVs with THX certification. Selecting the THX picture mode should theoretically give you an out-of-the-box picture with correct gamma, luminance, color temperature, correct HD color standard, correct de-interlacing, clean standard definition upscaling, smooth motion, and minimum video artifacts.
We say theoretically because according to FlatpanelsHD, the color temperature on these LG LED TV sets is a bit too warm in the THX mode. But this is typical with most THX modes found on other TV brands. At the same time, we have to remark that for a TV maker to earn the THX display certification, it has to pass more than 400 THX tests to ensure that the TV is capable of delivering a picture the way the director intended it to be - which is what THX display certification is all about.
Mind you, THX does not indicate its exact standards with respect to product certification, meaning that a THX-certified model is no guarantee in itself that it will outperform one that doesn't bear the THX logo.
However, there are several advantages to buying a THX-certified HDTV set. The most important advantage is that once you select the THX picture mode, you can be sure of enjoying a picture which at least meets the minimum performance standards to deliver images as they were intended to be - one that is as close as possible to what may be considered the perfect picture.
In other words, the THX picture mode is ideal for the inexperienced users who do not have the necessary knowledge of how to go about setting up a TV picture for the best image. But it is not the ideal picture mode for the professional, videophile, or home theater enthusiast looking for the very best picture. The reason is that in THX mode, all picture parameters are fixed and not user-adjustable unless you have access to the serving menu. In other words, more experienced users who are more apt to using one of the Expert modes on these LG LED TVs, would definitely come up with an even better picture for their liking than that possible with the THX mode.
What is different with this year implementation of LG THX picture mode is that for 2010, LG is delivering more than just a standard THX Cinema mode; LG is also including a second THX mode - THX bright room - as already indicated in the introduction part to this LG LED TV review. The bright room mode is definitely a most welcome feature by many looking to enjoy the best TV picture under higher levels of ambient light.
In the past, the THX mode has always been characterized by a rather dim picture, one that is mainly suitable for viewing in the dark room environment of the home theater. But many would normally watch their TV in a much brighter environment - meaning the standard THX picture mode is often too dim for use in what actually happen to be the more common TV viewing environment.
One final feature we would like to discuss in this second part of our LG LED TV review is LG NetCast. This is available on all but the LE5300 budget-class LG LED TVs.
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.