LG Infinia 47LX9500 LCD 3D HDTV Page 2
LG’s 3D glasses are priced at $130 per pair, and none are included with the set. However, as I write this, a promotional offer provides two pair of glasses plus a copy of the 3D Blu-ray IMAX Under the Sea free with the purchase of the set along with an LG Blu-ray player.
Not Your Father’s HDTV
In the Expert1 mode, the LG’s video processing was superb in both HD and SD. It passed all of our standard tests with no visible problems (see the Video Test Bench chart). The manual states that the set isn’t compatible with a 480i input over HDMI, but it worked for me.
I experienced one issue that was subtle, and, on most program material, hard to spot: horizontal (and occasionally vertical) banding in large areas of uniform color, such as solid white or a clear blue sky. The most obvious example I found was the first few minutes of the 3D Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. In fact, this artifact was often easier to see with 3D material than 2D, although I could still spot it in some 2D sources. Testing a second 47LX9500 revealed that this issue wasn’t confined to our first sample. But the complex details in most scenes masked the problem completely.
I didn’t notice this banding in the similar (but 2D) LG 47LE8500, perhaps because the 47LX9500 is 0.3 inches thinner than the 47LE8500. The backlighting in an LCD set, whether conventional or LED, must spread evenly across the entire back side of the LCD panel. The less space there is from the lighting to the panel, the more difficult it is to provide uniformly diffused illumination.
In all other respects, the LG performed superbly. The two most telling gauges of subjectively right color—fleshtones and green foliage (we see the real things virtually every day)—were exceptional. From the wooded surroundings of a small coastal New England town in the SyFy HD series Haven to the Seattle greenery in the montage from the Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark Blu-ray test disc, greens were consistently believable. And fleshtones looked right. Of course, all bets are off when the program works overtime to be creative with color—we’re looking at you, CSI: Miami.
Resolution was also outstanding. I’ve recently gone on a old World War II movie kick, inspired by Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940–1945, a 576-page book I’m slowly working my way through. I watched everything I had on hand on Blu-ray, including A Bridge Too Far and The Longest Day (both excellent films, especially the less well-known Bridge) to Battle of the Bulge (terrible movie, but well photographed). While I found that some of this material didn’t hold up as well on a much larger screen, it all looked great on the 47-inch LG. I even spent some time with standard-definition World War II fare, including the grim but gripping first two-thirds of the 1988–1989 miniseries War and Remembrance. The 4:3 transfer of this epic TV production isn’t very good by today’s standards, but it proved how well the LG handles even relatively mediocre SD fare. I didn’t mind the lower resolution; the story, and the LG, kept me engaged. Nevertheless, I’d love to see this full miniseries released on Blu-ray, but I don’t see that happening. Ever.
The LG’s local dimming really delivered. Both the black levels and shadow details in all of my favorite test scenes were first rate. Season one of the new SGU: Stargate Universe is a surprisingly dark production, in terms of both the writing and the lighting. The LG handled those dark scenes beautifully. When the source called for a fade to black, or for black bars, their darkness melted into the near pitch black of my darkened room. While the blacks aren’t quite that dark when parts of the screen are lighter, the way the set handled dark scenes was never less than completely satisfying.
The single exception to the LG’s local-dimming prowess was the same one I noted in my review of the LG 47LE8500. Local dimming can produce halos around bright objects set against a dark background—halos that shouldn’t be there. I didn’t find them distracting most of the time. But in the opening star field in Stargate: Continuum, my acid test for this artifact, there were visible halos around several of the brightest stars.