LG Infinia 47LX9500 LCD 3D HDTV
Life’s Good in 3D
We were mighty impressed by LG’s 47LE8500 HDTV in a recent review. That set had effective local-dimming LED technology and went farther than any set we’d seen in mitigating LCD’s remaining Achilles heel—the 47LE8500 had the strongest off-axis performance we’ve seen from that technology. The new LG LX9500 series is a twin of the 8500 series in many ways, with largely similar features and comparable 2D performance. But the addition of 3D puts these new sets—the 47-inch model reviewed here and the larger, 55-inch 55LX9500—into an entirely different category.
The Nitty Gritty
In addition to a useful complement of analog video inputs, the LG 47LX9500 offers four HDMI connections, two USB ports for viewing photos, videos, and MP3 music from an external USB storage device, and a LAN terminal for a wired link to a router or your home network. An optional LG Wi-Fi USB dongle offers a wireless link. A separate Wireless Media Box (also optional and tested in the 47LE8500 review) offers wire-free HDMI connectivity. But the latter will not pass 3D wirelessly, which makes it of dubious value for use with the 47LX9500.
As with all recent top-line LG sets, the 47LX9500 has a Picture Wizard menu to help you set the basic picture controls, including Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint, and both Vertical and Horizontal Sharpness. The result wasn’t perfect, but it was surprisingly close to what you can get with a good setup disc.
A Quick Menu provides immediate access to frequently used features, but most of the important controls, particularly those that involve calibration, are in the Picture menu. The set is THX certified, and its nine available picture modes include THX Cinema and THX Bright Room.
The two Expert Picture Modes offer by far the widest range of adjustment. In addition to the Color Temperature control, with Warm, Medium, and Cool settings, you get both two-point (high and low) and ten-point white-balance controls. The latter provide adjustments at each 10IRE brightness step. What’s more, you can use the two- and tenpoint adjustments together.
There’s also a CMS (color management system) with color and tint controls for all of the primary (red, green, and blue) and secondary (yellow, magenta, and cyan) colors. But there are no individual color brightness controls.
A Color Filter control can turn on the red, green, or blue components of the image independently. When used with a color test pattern, these settings can produce a more accurate analysis of the set’s color decoding than separate color filters.
An ISF-trained technician can also calibrate, lock, and rename either or both of the Expert Picture modes as ISF Cinema or ISF Bright Room.
TruMotion 480Hz is LG’s motion-smoothing, frame interpolation feature. The set operates at a higher than normal refresh rate, in this case, 240 hertz, by either repeating frames (TruMotion 480Hz off) or interpolating new frames (TruMotion 480Hz on) as needed to bring the frame rate up to 240 Hz. The set then scans the backlights to produce a 480-Hz effect. A User TruMotion option offers separate control over Judder and Blur. You can reduce the video look that this sort of feature normally creates on film-based sources by increasing the Blur control and leaving Judder on zero.
In general, TruMotion 480Hz has a subtler effect than we’ve seen from similar features on other LCD sets. However, in any of the several settings I tried, I could still spot the excessively artificial, non-film-like motion typical of frame interpolation. You can’t use TruMotion 480Hz’s interpolation option with 3D. For this review, I left it off for all program sources.
A 2.2 setting of the Gamma control worked best on most program material. The Edge Enhancer’s effect was subtle; I tried both off and Low and couldn’t settle on a preference. I left all Noise Reduction and Dynamic Contrast controls off.
In addition to letting you watch and/or listen to media from a USB storage device or over your home network, the 47LX9500 also provides a wide range of Internet features. You can stream content from Yahoo!, Netflix, YouTube, and VUDU. A variety of selectable widgets provide additional information, such as news, weather, sports, and finance. There’s also an assortment of simple video games programmed into the set for when the kids get tired of SpongeBob reruns.
In addition to the main (backlit) IR remote, there’s also a thin, narrow RF Motion Remote Control. While this RF device has a limited number of hard buttons, its air-mouse functionality more than makes up for it. When you wave it around, an onscreen pointer makes menu selections from the most frequently used operational controls. This air control is unique, slick, and very Harry Potter.