Last Updated: November 10, 2013
2011 LG LED TV Sets
Full Product Evaluation - Part 1
An Impressive line of LED HDTVs that often come
at a more affordable price than the competition, but...
The latest LG LED TVs are among the most in demand thanks to a slim attractive design, extensive features, and a price that is often below that of the competition. The main LG focus for 2011 is Smart TV.
Other features include more affordable 3D with passive 3D glasses technology, LED Plus edge-lit backlighting with local dimming on premium Infinia LED TVs, and Nano LED for the recently introduced 55LW9800 LG flagship LED TV; Nano LED is among the most impressive LED backlight technologies produced so far.
It is definitely a line that confirms LG as one of the leaders. Yet for many, the real issue is LG's TV picture performance: Is this worthy of a leader?
We go through the full LG LED TV lineup to discover what exactly is on offer. We highlight the pros and cons of each LED TV series and then pick what in our opinion are the best LG LED TVs for 2011.
Should you prefer you may also join our discussion by filling the submission form at the end of this article.
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.
Introducing the 2011 LG LED TVs
The new line of LG LED TVs confirms LG as one of the main leaders in LED TV technology.
The 2011 LG Lineup covers eight different LED TV series, apart from the recently launched 55-inch LW9800 high-end model.
In total, there are more than twenty different LG LED TV sets to choose from.
These range from sub-$400 32-inch cheap LED TVs (such as the entry-level 32LV2500 720p HDTV) and inexpensive 120Hz sets like the 42-inch 42LV5500—LG's best-selling LED TV for 2011, to some of the most technologically advanced feature-rich LED TVs within LG's Infinia line.
The latter includes sets such as the popular 55-inch 55LW5600 120Hz 3D LED TV with LED Plus technology, and the very expensive 55-inch 55LW9800 480Hz flagship HDTV with its amazingly thin, stylish design despite its full LED array backlight with local dimming. This is possible thanks to LG's new Nano LED technology. LG's Nano LED technology represents a most interesting development in full LED array backlights with local dimming that leads both to a much slimmer TV profile and to a superior TV picture, one that is practically in line with that of 2011 high-end plasma TVs from Samsung and Panasonic.
This year, LG have 24 different 108p and 720p LED TVs spread over ten series. As stated in our introduction, LG's main characteristic is an attractive design, coupled with extensive features and affordable price.
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All LG LED TVs are characterized by extensive features and innovation. Even entry-level cheap LED TVs from the LG lineup are far from bare-bone models; features like LG's Intelligent Sensor, Smart Energy Saving, and Picture Wizard II are present on all TV models. In addition, all TV sets come as ISFccc ready to allow for professional calibration of 'day' and 'night' levels for optimal viewing and brightness.
Affordability is also high on the LG agenda. Present pricing of LG LED TVs is such that it often gives LG an edge over competition from other major TV brands, this being so whether you are in for an inexpensive budget-class TV or a premium LG LED TV.
LG Smart TV and Magic Motion
As with other major TV brands, LG's main focus for 2011 is Smart TV. This is a new term for 2011 but as with other TV brands, the LG Smart TV functionality is mainly an upgraded 2010 Internet TV suite (NetCast platform) with an integrated web browser and an App interface. The LG Smart TV application is well-designed and one of the best Smart TV portals irrespective of brand, offering a solid selection of streaming services.
The integrated web browser represents an edge over 2011 Samsung's LED Smart TV offer in that only selected Samsung Smart TV series support direct web browsing. At the same time, we have to remark that as stated in our Smart TV Guide, the present Internet browsers available on Smart TVs are mainly suitable for light web browsing only; it is more of a 'showing off' feature than anything else.
However, LG's real edge over other brands is its 'Magic Motion' remote. Its Wii-like functionality provides an easy-to-use control option, one that is innovative yet provides a natural way of controlling the on-screen cursor to browse pages and make selections in a most simple and easy way.
LG Smart TV is available on all step-up and premium series, starting with the LV3700 1080p 60Hz series; the only exception is the LG LV5300 series.
Passive 3D-TV Glasses technology all the way!
An expanded 3D TV lineup is also on offer for 2011. While during 2010, LG did reserve 3D for its flagship series, for this year we have at least five LG LED TV series covering twelve different models ranging from 42-inch to massive 65-inch sets; and this apart from one of the largest full LED HDTVs ever produced so far, the 72-inch LG LZ7900.
Yet more than an expanded 3D TV lineup, what is significantly different for 2011 is the advent of relatively inexpensive LG 3D TVs with passive 3D glasses technology targeting the mainstream segment; series within this category include the LW5600, LW5700, and LW6500 series LED TVs.
LG however is also using this less expensive 3D technology on its flagship 55LW9800 LED TV. Initially, LG's intention was to use active 3D glasses technology for its high-end LED TVs but then opted for passive 3D glasses technology for all its LED TVs series.
Termed Cinema 3D, this technology uses inexpensive polarized 3D glasses similar to those you wear in movie theaters. As expressed in our 3D TV article, this is not the ideal 3D technology with its main drawback with respect to active 3D glasses technology being a lower 3D picture resolution, one that is half the 2D picture resolution supported by the set 1080p display. However, this less expensive 3D technology does provide a better user experience mainly thanks to the lighter 3D glasses (no batteries are required); additionally, the resultant 3D image is flicker-free and with reduced 3D image crosstalk.
Passive 3D glasses are so inexpensive, you can outfit your family for a fraction of the cost of active 3D glasses. LG is including four pairs of passive 3D glasses with its 3D TVs. However, you can buy additional LG AG-F210 Cinema 3D Glasses for 2011 LG 3D LG LED TVs for less than $15 (on amazon) for a 2-pair pack.
Improved LED Backlighting - LED Plus and Nano LED Technologies
While all entry-level and step-up LG LED TVs come equipped with the standard edge-lit LED backlight that do nothing more than replace the traditional CCFL light source with LEDs, LG is using its LED Plus backlight technology on its premium LED TVs. As most TV reviews confirm, LED Plus provides improved black level performance over standard edge-lit LED backlights (apart from improved energy efficiency). However, LED Plus picture performance is not superior to full array LED technology with local dimming.
Originally introduced on 2010 LG LED HDTVs, LED Plus provides a way of introducing a very basic form of local dimming to an edge-lit LED backlight. It uses similar edge LED lighting found on standard LED TVs but introduces the ability to dim selected areas; 2011 LG LED TVs come with 16 independently addressable screen zones for improved black level performance.
It is being used on LG LW5600, LW5700 (a slightly cheaper variant of the LW5600 that mainly misses on the magic motion remote bundled with the LW5600 series HDTVs), and the LW6500, a 240Hz version of the LW5600 series.
New for 2011 is LG Nano LED technology. Used on its 480Hz flagship 55LW9800, it is a follow-up of LG's 2010 Full LED Slim backlight technology. As detailed in our LCD TV Technology guide, this is a derivative of the integrated optical plate (IOP) LED system introduced in 2010 where LEDs were placed behind a special optical layer to enable local dimming in a thin panel profile. The aim was to create a slimmer LCD panel with full array using local dimming technology. The result was a slim TV.
The 2011 Nano LED technology moves a step further in this respect—enabling LG to come up with a slimmer design, one that it defines as an 'impossibly thin, stylish design'.
Nano LED is a most impressive LED backlight technology that results not only in an exceptionally thin panel for a full LED array HDTV, but even more important for demanding customers, is capable of a superior picture performance thanks to the larger number of independent local dimmable screen zones. Directly associated with Nano LED is a brighter picture due to a larger number of LEDs placed directly behind the LCD panel.
LG HDTV's main stronghold has for the last years been an extensive feature list and numerous picture controls; as expected, features are series dependent, yet there are a number of basic and not-so-basic features that are present on all 2011 LG LED TV series - including entry-level sets.
Common features present on all LG LED TVs including entry-level series
1] A pleasing overall design that includes a swivel stand as standard.
2] Intelligent Sensor for more comfortable viewing; this automatically optimizes the picture to the lighting and color conditions in the room for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
3] Picture Wizard II for easy picture calibration; this enables easy user calibration by providing on-screen reference points for key picture quality elements like black and white levels, color, tint, and vertical and horizontal sharpness. It’s like having a basic calibration disc built into your TV.
4] Smart Energy Saving Options for improved energy efficiency. Apart from adhering to the latest Energy Star requirements, these LG LED TVs come with various energy-saving options like the ability to choose a content-specific setting, or engaging the 'intelligent sensor' referred to above to automatically dim the backlight in line with the ambient light. It even includes a 'video mute' option that switches off the picture while continuing with the sound—like when leaving the room for some time with the TV still on; this drastically reduces power consumption.
5] Adequate Connectivity even on entry-level sets complemented by a minimum of 3 HDMI with x.v.Color and CEC (for use with LG SimpLinkTM to control multiple SimpLinkTM devices via the TV remote), 1 USB2.0 input for JPEG and MP3 playback, and a headphone output.
6] Audio comes at 10W RMS per channel and includes LG's 'Infinite Sound' for simulated surround sound via the TV stereo speaker system. Sound quality is adequate for general TV viewing and good at low volumes. But once you move the volume slider half way, sound clarity starts to suffer. If you like to enjoy the best sound, connect your TV to an external sound system.
7] ISFccc Picture Calibration ready, meaning that professional calibration technicians can calibrate these LG LED TVs to deliver the best picture quality for the home theater environment. The ISFccc calibration process includes adjustment for contrast, tint, sharpness and color levels with a high degree of accuracy. Once calibrated, the settings are locked to avoid any accidental changes. Technicians can store their calibration settings as ISF Day and ISF Night modes for best image quality under different light conditions; these ISF picture settings are added to the TV preset picture modes.
Entry-level Series - LV2500 and LV3500: LG's most affordable LED TVs
LG's entry-level LED TV series cover a total of eight different models ranging in size from small 22-inch LED TVs to home theater size TVs such as the 55-inch 55LV3700. These LG TVs come with a most affordable price tag with respect to the competition; suffice to mention that LG's entry-level 42-inch 1080p LED TV (42LV3500) is selling online at under $650. Despite being at the lower end of the LG LED TV scale, these LG TV series offer a lot for HDTVs within this price category.
The LV2500 is LG's entry-level 720p 60Hz LG LED TV series while the LV3500 is a 1080p version of the LV2500; screen sizes range from 22-inch to the popular 32-inch 32LV2500 720p HDTV ($369) and the 42-inch 42LV3500 1080p LED TV ($650); these are among the cheapest LED TVs presently selling online.
Step-up Series - LV3700: Stepping into the world of Smart TV
Next in line is the LV3700 LG LED TV series. The LV3700 is also a 1080p 60Hz series with an almost identical feature set to that of the LV3500 HDTVs; main upgrade over the less expensive 1080p LG LED TV series is the latest Smart TV suite.
Unfortunately, the LV3700 misses on one very important Smart TV tool, LG's unique Magic Motion remote. On the LV3700, the LG magic motion remote (AN-MR200) is available as optional extra for around $60.
Apart from Smart TV, LG's LV3700 1080p step-up series adds an extra USB and an Ethernet connection with DLNA support over entry-level sets. These TVs also come as Wi-Fi ready, meaning that all you need to connect to your wireless home network is LG's $40 AN-WF100 Wi-Fi USB Adaptor.
Despite its solid TV picture, interesting feature set and the numerous picture controls, the LV3700 is not among LG's popular HDTV series. The main culprit is the pricing of LG's entry-level 120Hz LED TVs; suffice to note that at the time of this write-up, the 55-inch 55LV5500 is selling online at almost $200 less than the 60Hz LV3700 version!
Are you looking for an LED TV?
Amazon.com offers an extensive range of LED TVs, often at significantly reduced prices.