LG launches LED-backlit trifecta

The LG LH90 series, available in three sizes, features LED backlight technology.

The LG LH90 series includes three sizes of LCD with LED backlights. LG

Today LG introduced a three-model lineup of LED-backlit LCD TVs with local dimming to stand near the top of the company's HDTV lineup.

LED backlit LCDs offer superior picture quality in most ways compared to standard LCD models, due mainly to their ability to dim parts of the picture selectively--a technology known as "local dimming"--and thus improve black-level performance. Compared to last year's sets with 120 dimmable zones, the new models have 240, which should cut down on the blooming we've seen on other LED models.

We never got the chance to review the 47LG90, LG's sole LED model from last year, so we're anxious to see how the new models compare to the Samsungs and Sonys of the LED multiverse. LG points out that its competitors use "edge-lit" LED tech for their slim models, which lacks local dimming, whereas LG's LED sets have a full LED backlight array with local dimming.

The LH90 series also includes a 240Hz refresh rate, a feature that sounds twice as impressive as 120Hz but won't provide anywhere near the same level of picture improvement as LED--if our review of the 240Hz Sony KDL-52XBR7 is any indication. Unlike the MEMC technology used by Sony and Samsung, LG employs "scanning backlight" technology to achieve its 240Hz processing. The MEMC system inserts three interpolated frames for every true frame in a 60Hz source, while the scanning backlight system switches the backlight on and off very rapidly. We doubt the difference will be visible to most viewers, but we'll reserve judgment until we have a chance to compare both systems in the lab.

Like most LG HDTVs these models offer extensive picture controls, including the same 10-point IRE system and full color management controls we liked on the company's 2008 models. A new "picture wizard" is available as well, which employs a series of onscreen test patterns to ease user calibration. LG points out the power saving capabilities of LED technology, and the LH90 series also offers a "smart" room lighting sensor that also helps improve efficiency and automatically adjust the picture.

Unlike the flagship 55LHX model, these step-down LED sets in LG's lineup won't have a cabinet depth of less than an inch.

Pricing, as usual, was not disclosed, but LED backlightng still commands a heflt premium in most cases. The LH90 series will be available in May.

LG LH90 models

  • LG 55LH90 ($TBD)
  • LG 47LH90 ($TBD)
  • LG 42LH90 ($TBD)
 

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