With all of LG's picture settings our standard calibration took a good deal longer than usual, but the results were excellent. The 2-point grayscale adjustment system worked very well, but there were some inconsistencies afterwards, which is normal in any calibration that adjusts only bright ("gain") and dark ("cut") ends of the scale. So we used the 10-point system, and achieved the most-linear grayscale we've seen yet--the average variation afterward, as the Geek Box indicates, was just 25K. We also utilized the color management system to improve the color points, especially green, without compromising color decoding. Our full picture settings include both 2-point and 10-point grayscale calibrations, as well as primary and secondary color tweaks, for your dialing-in pleasure. Note, as always, that we used specialized equipment to achieve these improvements, and the LG's more advanced settings won't be much help to people who don't have such gear and training.
For our comparison, we rounded up the Sony KDL-46XBR4 and the Samsung LN52A650--both 120Hz LCDs--as well as our current reference displays, namely the Pioneer PDP-5080HD and the Sony KDS-55A3000. We checked out Alien vs. Predator: Requiem via the Sony PlayStation 3.
Black level: Compared with the latest LCDs and plasmas, the LG 47LG60 simply cannot produce a convincing shade of black. AvP:R is one of the darker films we've seen (even the daylight scenes seemed dim), and evidence of the LG's problems in this department were everywhere. The void of space, the interior of the Predator's ship, the shadowy backgrounds of the forest where he lands--all appeared brighter and less natural than any of the flat panel HDTVs in our comparison by a wide margin. We've come to expect deep blacks from high-end plasmas and LCDs in the last couple of years, but this LG definitely disappoints.
Details in shadows, naturally, appeared less distinct as a result of the brighter blacks. In its favor the LG wasn't "crushing" (failing to reproduce all of the detail) in dark areas, but we still found ourselves squinting at areas such as the Predator's shaded carapace to see all the detail, which was rendered much more clearly on the other flat-panel sets.
Color accuracy: Prior to calibration the LG's Warm setting was entirely too blue, casting a pall over all colors, and especially skin tones, but as we described above, adjusting the picture made all the difference. Skin tones, such as when Jesse answers the door for pizza and the lighting splashes across her face, looked great, with excellent balance between light and dark areas. Primary colors, as evinced by the red shirt of the pizza dude and the evergreen trees of the forest, were spot-on, and green in particular benefited from a tweak of the color management system.
On the downside, we noticed that as with many LCDs, the darkest areas on the LG, including the letterbox bars above and below the screen and the deepest parts of shadows, appeared tinged bluish. Also, thanks to the 47LG60's subpar black levels, colors didn't have that rich saturation we saw on the other sets in our comparison.
Video processing: The LG 47LG60's 120Hz de-judder processing performed relatively well, although not quite as well as either the Sony or the Samsung. During AvP:R it smoothed-out motion in the same way as other such processing modes, and at times the smoothness became distracting and unnatural, although on other occasions it was somewhat welcome. When the camera pans up to look at the town from a mountaintop, for example, we preferred the smoothing effect to the judder seen normally.
In most scenes, however, we preferred the standard look of turning de-judder off, especially when it made the image appear too video-like, such as when the scenery passing behind the window of a moving car in Chapter 4 looked fake (it reminded us of the painted backgrounds used in old "Toonces the Driving Cat" sketches). That scene also caused faint halo artifacts along the edges of the passengers' faces, which got worse--and really distracting--when we engaged the ultrasmooth High mode. Similar issues popped up on the Sony and the Samsung, and in general we didn't see much difference between the three HDTVs when watching the film.
Differences did show up, however, when we checked out the same demanding sports scenes we mentioned in the Samsung LN52A650 review. The LG appeared more prone to the "triple puck effect" in its lowest de-judder setting than either of the other 120Hz LCDs, exhibiting significant blurring and elongation along the puck and a pair of sort of phantom pucks to either side of the real puck during a Ducks-Kings hockey game. We saw similar artifacts around the ball in a long downfield pass during a Louisville-West Virginia college football game, and again the LG was more prone to these issues than the others.
At one point, we looked up and realized that the LG was introducing a weird, slow stuttering on all movement. The issue disappeared when we cycled the power, and while it's a bit worrisome, it only occurred once during our test period.
When the processing was engaged in Low, the LG did a slightly better job than the Samsung in its comparable mode, and about the same as the Sony at reducing the blur in medium-speed motion across the screen on a special disc designed to test motion resolution. Despite the relatively significant blur this test material produced when de-judder was turned off, we didn't notice any untoward blurring while watching the film or other nontest material.
The 47LG60 correctly de-interlaced 1080i film-based material in film mode, unlike most HDTVs, and as long as we kept Sharpness high enough, it resolved every line of 1,920x1,080 sources. Speaking of Sharpness, we were unable to completely eliminate edge enhancement and yet still keep full resolution; we opted for the latter and saw some unnatural sharpness around text and some high-contrast edges.
Uniformity: The screen on our 47LG60 review sample wasn't as uniform as either of the other two LCDs in our comparison, although it wasn't terrible. The upper corners appeared brighter than the rest of the screen, a difference that we noticed in the letterbox bars. In very dark scenes we also noticed the brighter sides compared with the middle. No major banding or other issues were present. From off-angle the dark parts of the image washed out more noticeably than the other two LCDs, although there wasn't any significant discoloration.
Bright lighting: The LG has the traditional matte screen, which made watching dark scenes in a relatively well-lit room a good deal more enjoyable than on the Samsung, which has a shiny, reflective screen. The matte screen did a great job attenuating ambient light.
Standard-definition: Standard-def performance was quite good according to our HQV tests. The LG resolved every detail of the DVD format, and shots of the stone bridge and grass looked well detailed. It also smoothed-out jaggies from diagonal lines, although there were still some visible in the stripes of a waving American flag. Noise reduction was very good, removing progressively more motes of video snow from noisy shots as we moved the selector from Off through to High. The set also engaged 2:3 pull-down quickly and effectively.
PC: As a PC monitor, the LG can certainly serve well, although it didn't deliver quite the flawless performance we've come to expect from 1080p LCDs. Via the VGA input, the set did resolve every detail of a 1,920x1,080 source, but there was some interference visible in test patterns and too much edge enhancement around text, making it appear less legible than we'd like to see. We noticed similar performance via HDMI, although the edge enhancement wasn't as prevalent.
|Before color temp (20/80)||7,603/7,523||Poor|
|After color temp||6,524/6,489||Good|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 1019||Poor|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 25||Good|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.638/0.333||Good|
|Color of green||0.289/0.61||Good|
|Color of blue||0.144/0.062||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||No||Poor|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24fps||Yes||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|
|LG 47LG60||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||267.21||129.64||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.28||0.14||N/A|
|Cost per year||$83.51||$40.93||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Average|