Test Report: LG 55LM7600 3D LCD HDTV

Manufacturers are finally making a big push to position the TV as the central hub it was always meant to be. Case in point: LG. Not only does its 55LM7600 feature the company’s excellent Smart TV interface, but it also has a Web browser, multiple USB inputs to attach flash or hard drives, and more. This 55-inch set represents TV/computer convergence driven from the TV side, complete with a gorgeous, computer-style icon-based interface and a “Magic Remote” that works like a wireless mouse.

As one would expect from a higher-end LCD in 2012, all of these advanced features are wrapped inside a skinny, attractive cabinet, with just the barest hints of a bezel around the screen. A “ribbon” stand adds to the overall elegance when the set is turned off, but also reflects light from the screen at some angles during viewing.

The LG’s screen refreshes at 240 times per second. It also has a TruMotion 240-Hz feature to reduce motion blur and picture judder. Unlike with other TV manufacturers that hide their TV’s true refresh rates through marketing obfuscation, LG’s 240 Hz is actually 240 Hz, not some fake process that mimics a 240-Hz refresh. (This would include backlight scanning or blinking, which rapidly turns off the backlight or scans it to fool your brain into thinking it’s seeing a new image, when it’s actually the same one twice.) LG’s “LED Plus” edge lighting features local-ish dimming: Because the LEDs that light the screen are located at the edges of the TV, not behind the screen, true local dimming isn’t possible. Instead, large areas of the screen can be dimmed independently. This is certainly better than the one-zone dimming of a traditional LED backlight (i.e., the entire backlight) but not as good as full local-dimming LED, which exerts control over significantly more zones, or a plasma, which varies the light to a greater extent on a per-pixel basis.

The LG’s screen is coated with something called a film patterned retarder (FPR), which enables 3D viewing using the same passive glasses you get at most 3D movie theaters. FPR works by varying the polarization of each alternating TV line, filtering the image so that your left eye sees lines sourced from the left-eye 3D frame, and your right eye sees lines sourced from the right-eye one. LG includes six pairs of passive glasses with the 55LM7600.