Last Updated: November 2, 2013
2010 LG LED TV Sets - Part 4
LE7300, LE8500, and LX9500 LED HDTVs
LG Infinia Line: Are these worth their expensive price?
LG's Infinia LED TVs combine a more pleasing design with a thin bezel, enhanced connectivity, and enhanced content. Features vary according to series; for example, the LE7300 gets the Infinia sleek design but no added conveniences or quality improvement. In this respect, it is the LE8500 that is the most talked-about LG LED TV from within the LG Infinia range thanks to its Full-LED Slim technology. Equally impressive is LG's flagship LX9500 with its added 3D support. But then these are the most expensive HDTVs within the LG HDTV lineup.
So... What is actually on offer and how do these LED TVs perform? Does their picture performance justify the premium price? We look at each of these Infinia series and then review the LE8500 to discover more.
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 LG Infinia Line of LED TVs
LG defines its innovative INFINIA™ line of HDTVs TVs as a way of delivering deliver 'freedom through infinite possibilities' in home entertainment. This new line of LG LED HDTVs comprises three series - the LE7300, the LE8500, and the LX9500.
All series enjoy a thinner profile - complemented by LG's new single sheet of glass that extends from edge-to-edge for a seamless look. Surrounding the frame is a clear transparent edge, while a rather unique squared-off vertical stand is used to support the display.
The stand stalk comes in a different color according to series. This new, minimalistic design is definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing for 2010 HDTVs, even though the square-shaped vertical stand is more of a like it or hate it affair.
However, it is with the flagship LX9500 LG LED TVs that the new LG Infinia design reaches its climax. It gets more refined, with a slimmer cabinet that is less than an inch deep and an equally slim bezel with a width of only 8.5mm. Furthermore, the debatable square-shaped stand stalk on the LX9500 comes in a clear glass finish, giving the impression that the TV is floating in mid-air.
But there is more to the LX9500 than a refined styling. These LG LED TVs include the latest hot specs in home entertainment - 3D support, and also the new 'magic wand' Wii-style LG TV remote - apart from numerous other features and conveniences.
The LX9500 only real problem is price. To enjoy LG's flagship HDTVs, you have to be prepared to pay a rather hefty price - anything between $4,000 and $5,000 for the only two models in the series - the 47-inch 47LX9500 and the 55-inch 55LX9500.
47LX9500 47-inch 3D LG LED TV
Article continues after this advertisement.
Instead, it is with the LE8500 premium LG LED TV series that things start to get much more affordable - and we add really interesting. It is also the LG Infinia series we will be looking into further detail in this LG LED TV review.
The LE8500 comes with loads of features and is capable of delivering the same picture quality as the LX9500 flagship LG LED TVs, but at almost half the price - with the 55-inch 55LE8500 selling at under $2,600 and the 47-inch 47LE8500 selling at under $1,900.
The most important picture quality related upgrades here over the less expensive non-Infinia LG LED TVs series are Full LED Slim - LG's 2010 slim implementation of the superior full array LED backlight with local dimming - and a THX-certified picture for superior picture quality.
LG's premium Infinia series misses on 3D, LG's magic wand remote, and the refined styling of the LX9500 HDTVs. But otherwise, you get all the features, conveniences, and most important, the same picture quality of the significantly more expensive LX9500 HDTVs. This seems to imply that the few extra benefits found on the LX9500 series HDTVs would in effect cost customers an extra $2,000 over equivalent size LE8500 HDTVs.
This makes the LE8500 series the one that delivers the best picture for your money within the LG LED TV line for 2010. These TVs are constantly being rated by major review sites as among the very best when it comes to picture quality. It is not that their picture is perfect and there are a few issues which may prove disappointing for some. But at the same time, we cannot but remark that both models within this series are among the most popular premium HDTVs.
At this point, it is only logical to ask if LX9500 HDTVs are really worth the extra premium over LE8500 equivalent. Our short answer is NO.
The refined styling is nice but not at such a high price; the magic wand remote is more of a way for LG to help justify the high price of these 3D LED TVs. And 3D is still in the making. As further explained under the features description part of this LG LED TV review, like most LCDs, LG LX9500 3D TVs suffer from 3D image crosstalk despite the 'superfast' (for an LCD) 1 msec pixel response time. Mind you, as most users will tell you, the 3D effect is pleasing - with a convincing out-of-the-screen 3D effect. But the image crosstalk issue can be annoying especially with high contrast content.
Some may argue that LX9500 HDTVs also have a 10,000,000:1 dynamic contrast rating instead of the 9 million of the LE8500 series. But this is again another way for TV makers to try and explain the high price. As further explained in our article on contrast ratio, you will never be able to see the difference in picture quality between the two as a result of the difference in the dynamic contrast rating.
Further down the Infinia LG LED TV line, one finds the LE7300 - Infinia entry level LG LED TV series. It is also the least interesting of the group because apart from the new Infinia single sheet design, it does not get other upgrades.
Strangely enough, LE7300 HDTVs even miss on one of LG's well put together features - NetCast. In this respect, the LE7300 is the Infinia equivalent of the cheaper entry-level LE5400 LED TV series but without NetCast Internet-based entertainment access.
We would not be discussion the LE7300 feature set here; if the LE7300 series is of interest to you, we suggest going through our LE5400 discussion appearing under part 3 of this review.
Features & Conveniences
As already expressed earlier on, LG LE8500 series HDTVs are among the best-featured HDTVs.
Top in the list is LG's full array LED backlight with local dimming, termed Full LED Slim. It is not a new technology in that the first full array LED TVs with local dimming appeared in 2008.
What is new for 2010 is the use of a new integrated optical plate (IOP) to reduce the overall panel thickness to one that is more associated with standard edge LED lighting than full-array LED systems.
As we have expressed under part 2 of this LG LED TV review, it is not all glitters and LG's IOP optical plate solution has its problems as well. But thanks to LG's IOP, overall depth of these TVs stands at 1.4-inches.
Full array LED backlights are capable of improved black levels over edge-lit systems thanks to dividing the display into a number of zones, each of which can be independently dimmed or brightened according to the picture content. In the case of LG, the number of zones vary according to the TV screen size - 216 in the case of the 47-inch and 240 in the case of the 55-inch.
An equally important picture quality feature found on the LE8500 series (and the LX9500) is that these LG LED TVs come with a THX certified display. This means that ones you engage the THX picture mode, you can expect an out-of-the-box picture with correct gamma, luminance, and color temperature. We have stated in our features discussion that this is no guarantee you will get the perfect picture. But it is definitely one that is as close as possible to what may be considered perfect.
THX certified HDTVs are not new in that we have already seen these in 2008 and 2009. What is unique with LG's implementation for this year is a second THX mode for bright room environments. This is a most welcome feature as THX picture modes are non-used adjustable and generally too dim for viewing under a bright environment.
These THX modes form part of LG's most comprehensive set of picture modes; the latter also includes two excellent Expert modes that gives total control to the user, plus four other adjustable picture modes (vivid, standard, sport, and game), ten aspect ratio modes, three of each color temperature and gamma presents, and a 10-point fine color temperature control. All of these picture modes use independent memories per input to enable the user to adjust these picture modes separate for each input.
Included, there is also an Intelligent Sensor picture mode for more comfortable viewing; this automatically optimizes the picture to the lighting and color conditions in the room for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
To continue on picture related features, this year we find an improved version of LG's picture wizard, hence the reference Picture Wizard II, for easy picture calibration; this enables easy self-calibration by providing on-screen reference points through the use of test patterns to help non-expert users adjust 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.
LE8500 HDTVs come with LG's TruMotion 240Hz processing dejudder technology. 240Hz processing helps reduce blur by improving the set display response to motion resolution. Mind you, the benefits of 240Hz refresh rate with broadcast content are difficult to discern. However, when combined with 24p Real Cinema 5:5 Pulldown technology, LG's TruMotion 240Hz processing helps produce sharper images from film based content without the use of 2:3 pulldown processing. The latter leads to an unnatural hitching, jerky effect so much typical of 60Hz HDTVs with 24-frame film base content.
TruMotion technology had already been implemented by LG in 2009 HDTVs. What is new for 2010 is that LG is now 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 theoretically, it should be possible to get zero smoothness with film-based content while still enjoying the benefits of improved motion resolution resulting from the higher refresh rate.
We say theoretically because according to reviews appearing on Cnet and FlatpanelsHD, and customer reviews posted online, the LG dejudder/blur 2-slider control system does not work as fine as Samsung's implementation. With the dejudder set to zero, the LG system produces the same hitching, jerky effect typical of 60Hz HDTVs when displaying 24-frame film base content. This hitching action becomes most noticeable in scenes that incorporate slow camera pans or in scenes shot with a handheld camera.
At the same time, moving the dejudder slider just above zero would introduce too much smoothness, meaning that the only way to get correct film cadence on these LG LED TVs is to turn TruMotion off.
Other features include:
1] LG NetCast Internet-based Entertainment access. The latter is one of the best implemented Internet-based TV entertainment platforms around. We discussed LG NetCast under the features discussion part of this LG LED TV review article.
These LG LED HDTVs also come as Wi-Fi ready - meaning that to enjoy wireless network connectivity, all that is required is to plug in the optional LG AN-WF100 Wi-Fi USB adapter and there you go. In this respect, the second USB2.0 port present on the LE8500 LG LED TVs comes in really handy as it still leave you with a free USB port should you decide to use the LG Wi-Fi dongle.
Directly related with the LG's network connectivity is DLNA support for streaming of multimedia content from your PC. DLNA comes with an interesting interface but the user interface is slow especially when browsing folders on your PC.
2] TV menu is well-designed; they miss on the LX9500 magic wand TV remote but the provided clicker though basic, is easy to use and functional.
3] Complementing these LG's premium LED TVs is LG's AN-WL100W Wireless Media Kit. The latter helps you 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.
4] Connectivity is among the best you can find though as is the present trend among TV makers, these LG LCD TVs miss the S-Video input. Overall, connectivity includes four HDMI ver. 1.3 with x.v.Color and CEC (for use with LG SimpLinkTM to control multiple SimpLinkTM devices via the TV remote), one PC VGA type D-sub 15-pin input, two composite video, two component video, and two USB2.0 ports. There is also an Ethernet port for broadband LAN connectivity and one digital audio out.
One issue some may encounter with the LG's rear connectivity bay is that all connections are facing towards the back wall instead of downwards - something which may turn out to be problematic with low profile HDTV mounts in an on-wall installation.
5] Smart Energy Saving Options have also been provided for improved energy efficiency; apart from adhering to the latest Energy Star 4.0 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 reduced power consumption.
6] Audio comes at 10W RMS per channel and includes LG's 'Infinite Sound' for simulated surround sound via the set two-way four speaker system. LG also equipped these HDTVs with its Clear Voice II feature to help differentiate the human sound range from others, thus improving the audibility of the human voice.
However, irrespective of the many nice audio features, we still say that like the majority of flat panel TVs today, these LG LED TVs still require an external sound system if you want to enjoy the best sound. Sound is good at low volumes but once you move the volume slider half way, sound clarity starts to suffer.
Overall LE8500 LG LED TV Performance
These have been rated by major review sites as among the best performing LED TVs irrespective of brand. As expected, the most accurate out-of-the-box picture is with THX Cinema picture mode - with an accurate grayscale and linear gamma response.
Cnet states that the LE8500 LG LED TVs produces some of the deepest black levels - a most important picture quality parameter as it helps render dark scenes better while making colors look richer and more saturated. Colors are also accurate and remain true even in near-black areas - something in which most LCD TVs fail. Equally important, the LE8500 delivers excellent shadow detail throughout the full brightness range, while off-angle picture performance surpass that of the Samsung UNB8500 - the LED HDTV with full array LED backlight using local dimming that so far has proved to be the king of LCDs.
However, the LG LED backlight performance disappoints a bit when it comes to blooming and stray illumination across the screen. Blooming is still relatively well controlled in comparison to other LED TVs equipped with full LED array backlights with local dimming, and stray illumination is not much of concern when it comes to picture quality. But these are areas in which the 2009 Samsung B8500 series does better.
What may be a real issue with these LG LED TVs is a rather new brightness uniformity problem not seen on any other LED TV - horizontal banding. This 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 blue to a lighter shade of blue; this is due to the new optical plate (IOP) necessary to support the thinner full LED array profile with local dimming.
Horizontal banding on the LG LED TVs is extremely subtle and hardly noticeable with most picture content. But as many would tell you, once you start noticing it, it is probable you will start noticing it more often. At least, this has been the experience of those who started noticing the horizontal banding on these LG LED TVs.
Instead, when it comes to off-angle viewing, the LG is capable of doing a much better job than most LCD TVs, and while colors still wash out as one starts moving further away from the best seat, the loss in the perceived color saturation is well controlled. Cnet here adds that the LE8500 LG LED TV 'has the best off-angle picture' from any LED-based LCD.
Video processing is also good - with minimal artifacts. Equally solid is the handling of standard definition content, with minimal jaggies across diagonals and well controlled noise reduction with noisy sources. PC images are sharp, displaying the full 1920x1080 pixel images both when using HDMI and the VGA-type PC input.
Performance of the LG glossy screen under bright lighting is not as good as Samsung and Sony HDTVs with a glossy screen; the LG screen is not able to control reflections off the screen of bright objects in the room as effectively as the other two big TV makers, nor is it able to preserve the blacks as effectively as the Samsung screen under bright lighting. This makes the use of controlled lighting essential to get the best picture possible out of these LG LED TVs.
The bottom line: If you are after a videophile-quality picture and 3D is not for you, then the LG LE8500 LED TVs can deliver a lot for the price - from a never ending list of features and extensive picture controls, to LG's NetCast with its numerous interactivity options, Infinia refined styling with its single sheet design and slim 1.4-inch profile, superb energy efficiency, and an outstanding picture worthy of a flagship model costing twice as much.
It is true that the 240Hz LG TruMotion dejudder processing has a flaw; and the rather unique uneven uniformity issue in the form of horizontal banding may prove to be too annoying for some.
But these are issues which in no way compromise the LE8500's ability to deliver a solid picture, one with some of the deepest blacks, excellent shadow detail, superb color accuracy, and outstanding off-angle performance. In addition, these LG LED TVs controls blooming better than most other LED TVs with local dimming technology.
Best-selling set is the 55-inch 55LE8500 even though the 47-inch 47LE8500 is also doing well in sales. This is no surprise; the present reduced online pricing makes the LE8500 series a great HDTV option from a leader in the field.
Would you like to express your opinion and share your views with our readers about the latest LG LED TVs?
What do you think about the LG LX9500 expensive flagship series? Are these LG 3D HDTVs really worth their exceptionally expensive price? Does the LE8500 series represent a better option?
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.