Picture settings: LG offers its usual scads of picture adjustments, with two Expert modes in addition to numerous other adjustable presets. The 20-point grayscale adjustment is overkill in my opinion (I prefer 10 points) and didn't work well in testing. While the color management system worked OK, it wasn't as accurate as last year's. Full control of picture options is available for streaming-video sources.
Connectivity: The jack pack is standard, with four HDMI and three USB ports. You'll have to choose between a single component or composite video source, available via included breakout cables, and VGA-style PC input (no breakout required) also makes the cut.
It's not every day that we encounter a television that has better picture quality than the more expensive version, but the LM7600 produced better image quality than the flagship LM9600 we reviewed earlier this year. Unfortunately we don't have the 9600 on hand anymore for a direct comparison, but judging from our comparisons with other TVs we do still have, and our measurements, the LM7600 is definitely superior.
This TV's relatively deep black levels are its main strength (twice as dark as the LM9600's). Its main weakness is imperfect screen uniformity, including some of the most noticeable hot spots I can remember seeing. I was also hampered by imperfect picture controls, so color accuracy suffered. Overall the LM7600 is not quite the match of the Vizio M550KD or especially the LED TVs we've tested this year, earning 7 out of 10 in this category., but it keeps up with the Sharp LC-LE640U and outperforms most of the other
Click the image at above right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Vizio M3D550KD||55-inch edge-lit LED|
|Sony KDL-46EX640||46-inch edge-lit LED|
|60-inch edge-lit LED|
|46-inch full-array LED|
|Sharp LC-60LE640U||60-inch edge-lit LED|
|Panasonic TC-P55ST50||55-inch plasma|
Black level: The LM7600 fared well in this category for an LED-based LCD. Watching the very dark scenes from the "creation" sequence of "Tree of Life" (chapter 4), it outdid the depth of black produced by the Sony KDL-EX640 and the in every scene, and fell short of the inky depth created by the Panasonic TC-P55ST50. Compared against the other sets, the variable black levels of the LG's local dimming, while not as aggressive as those used by Vizio, still fluctuated enough to change how it compared from scene to scene.
The Vizio usually looked darker than the LG, although in some mixed scenes in "Tree of Life" like the side-on view of the galaxy at 22:11 and the cloud at 22:26 the LG had the advantage. The LG outperformed the black levels of the Samsung UNES8000 in most scenes, but occasionally (the nebula at 21:04) the ES8000 looked a bit darker. The Sharp and the LG were closest of all, with the nod going to the Sharp more often than not.
With its less-aggressive dimming the LG didn't show the kinds of blooming and flashes we saw from the Vizio, for example in the flickering proto-sun at 21:30 and the lava at 24:24. Blooming was negligible-to-nonexistent on the LM7600.
Details in shadows, such as the face of Mrs. O'Brien kissing young Jack in bed (48:23), were rendered well enough, and while they did appear a bit more obscured than on the Samsungs, they weren't too dark as I saw on the Sharp. The LG and Vizio were similar in this area and again the Panasonic looked best.
Color accuracy: The myriad picture controls didn't work well enough for me to achieve an ideal calibration on the LM7600, so its resulting accuracy, while good, couldn't match that of most of the other sets in the lineup. I noticed a slight bluish, pale cast in some areas, like the face of Mrs. O'Brien in Jack's room (55:48), but more obvious was the greenish/reddish tinge to brighter areas and whites. There was also a slight lack of punch in greens, for example the grass under the swing in the front yard (54:32), and an impression of worse saturation overall. Colors on the other sets, in particular the Vizio, the Samsung ES8000, and the Panasonic plasma had a richer, more pleasing look in my side-by-side comparison.
That said, the LM7600 was still solid overall, and its color flaws are subtle. It also showed one advantage over the other LEDs: the cast of black and near-black areas was more neutral than the others, coming closer to the excellent Panasonic's picture in that way than any of them.
Video processing: Fed a 1080p/24 source with the Real Cinema mode engaged and TruMotion set to Off, the LM7600 behaved properly, preserving the cadence of the pan over the Intrepid in "I Am Legend," for example. Videophiles who prize proper cadence might be disappointed to learn that Off, with its poor motion resolution score, is the only acceptable 1080p/24 mode.
The LM7600's TruMotion setting, which controls dejudder, does introduce that distasteful (to me) smoothing effect in every mode -- namely Smooth, Clear, and Clear Plus -- except for Off and User. Two settings in latter, De-Judder and De-Blur, can be adjusted anywhere from 1-to 10. At 0 and 10, respectively, there was no visible smoothing effect and near-maximum motion resolution (about 1,100 lines of the TV's 1,200 max, if you're counting). Unfortunately, the judder was of the halting, stuttery variety, reminiscent of 2:3 pull-down, regardless of whether I engaged Real Cinema or not. That's why I left this setting Off for film-based movies. Note that Samsung can achieve maximum motion resolution and correct cadence.
LG's smoothing, if you don't hate the effect, generally introduced more-obvious artifacts than similar modes in Samsung and Sony sets, for what it's worth.
Uniformity: One of my pet peeves is watching a dark scene (or a letterboxed movie) on an LED or LCD TV and having a large, noticeable blob of brighter area interrupt it. The LM7600 sample I reviewed was plagued by such a "flashlight" in its upper-left corner, which was joined by other bright spots along the top edge. All of the other edge-lit LEDs, except the Vizio, also suffered from this kind of uniformity issue, but it looked worst on the LG.
From off-angle the LM7600 wasn't too bad, which was a surprise for me considering past LGs' poor performance in this area (maybe the more effective dimming helps). It maintained its black levels a bit better than the Sony and Samsung sets as well as the Vizio, although not as well as the Sharp. Color fidelity from off-angle was also good, right up there with the Vizio and better than the rest.
Bright lighting: The screen finish of the LM7600 is similar to that of the Vizio M3D0KD: it appears glossy at first glance, but reflections still have the chief characteristic of a matte screen, that is, fuzzy edges instead of the sharp, mirrorlike look of most glossy displays. It didn't dim or disperse reflections as well as the true matte sets in the lineup -- the Sharp and the Sony -- but it did a better job of handling them than either of the Samsung ES8000 or the Panasonic, and pretty much tied the less-mirrorlike ES6500. It also preserved black levels relatively well (not as well as the ES8000 however), making it one of the better screens for bright rooms we've tested.
3D: The LM7600's 3D was the best I've seen this year from an LG passive model, but that may have more to do with its size than any other factor. The others we reviewed were 55-inch models, whereas the LM7600 I tested was a 47-inch, and the artifacts associated with passive 3D are more obvious at larger screen sizes.
When watching "Hugo," my favorite 3D reference material, I saw the same jagged edges and moving lines as on the 55-inch Vizio placed next to this LG, although I'd say they were slightly less obvious on the smaller LG in comparison (my seating distance was about 7 feet from both). Line structure in the most noticeable areas -- the edge of Hugo's face (13:33) and that of Isabel's (17:06) -- was visible but difficult to discern. More noticeable were the rare instances of moving lines, typically when the camera moved over a scene that contained a horizontal edge at a shallow angle, like the bowler hat of Uncle Claude (22:41) and the edge of a low wall outside the station (22:05). I found these artifacts less distracting than I remember from previous LG reviews.
As usual with passive 3D, the LM7600's 3D strength was lack of crosstalk. Those ghostly double images, my least favorite artifact of 3D, were less obvious than on any of the active 3D sets in my comparison, including the Samsung UNES8000. Hugo's hand as it reached for the mouse (5:01) and the tuning pegs on the guitar (7:49) provided the best examples early in the movie; the LM7600's 3D image was clean and crosstalk was basically invisible, whereas the active sets all showed some level of ghosting. I did see faint crosstalk on the LG in the most challenging of scenes, like the word "Films" in the GK Films logo before the movie starts, and Hugo's face at 13:16 and 21:32, but again it wasn't distracting or nearly as bad as on the active sets.
In other areas the LG's 3D image was a mixed bag. Its black levels appeared about equal to those of the Vizio and better than the UNES8000's. That's no small feat since active sets have a large advantage in apparent black level because you're basically wearing sunglasses. The UNES8000 and the Vizio were markedly brighter, however, which made their 3D images overall punchier and higher-contrast -- 3D on the LM7600 was dimmer than on the other LEDs. As usual the plasma was dim still in comparison, but its black-level advantage meant that 3D contrast and "pop" was a wash between it and the 7600.
Color on the LM7600 was poor in 3D however, with reddish skin tones and an off cast to many areas in comparison with the other sets, especially the Vizio and UNES8000. Note that all of these sets can be calibrated for 3D (an effort I don't make in my TV reviews) so color and perhaps other characteristics can be improved.
Among all of the 3D glasses I've tried I liked the LG's best overall. They fit my face well, even over my prescription lenses, and most importantly were exceedingly light, especially compared with active-3D models. Yeah, they seem flimsy, but that's much less of an issue when they can be inexpensively replaced.
|Geek Box: Test||Result||Score|
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0135||Average|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.316/0.3361||Good|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3142/0.3279||Good|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.316/0.3353||Poor|
|Before avg. color temp.||6038||Poor|
|After avg. color temp.||6436||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||1.0388||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||4.5508||Poor|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||0.2741||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2256/0.3285||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3198/0.1538||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4164/0.5102||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i Deinterlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||1200||Good|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||400||Poor|