The LD520 series represents LG's least-expensive LCD TV with , and the sweet-size 47-inch member hits that magical sub-$1,000 price point. But the competition in this category is pretty fierce, and for a couple of performance-related reasons, the LG can't keep up with the like-priced Samsung and Sony LCDs, not to mention Panasonic plasmas that . Its closest picture quality rival we've tested is the , which comes in significantly cheaper--albeit arguably uglier to look at when turned off. Though we appreciate the LG's excellent array of picture controls, its other merits aren't strong enough to earn our recommendation.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 47-inch LG 47LD520, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality. The company also sells a , a "commercial" model that LG says has different presets and options, among other differences, and so isn't included in this review.
|Models in series ()|
|Panel depth||4 inches||Bezel width||2.63 inches|
|Single-plane face||No||Swivel stand||Yes|
LG wrapped the LD520 in glossy black and added a strip of accent chrome along the bottom edge of the frame, resulting in a bit more classy look than some TVs at this level. The edges to either side stick out a bit beyond the main frame, and, along with the thick bottom, contribute to the TV's bulkier appearance than either the or the . We like the looks of those TVs better than the LG overall, but the LD520 isn't an eyesore by any means.
|Remote control and menus|
|Remote size (LxW)||8.25 x 1.8 inches||Remote screen||N/A|
|Total keys||43||Backlit keys||0|
|Other IR devices controlled||No||RF control of TV||No|
|Shortcut menu||Yes||Onscreen explanations||No|
The remote is more compact than what we've seen on the company's more expensive TVs this year, but the rubberized buttons still feel friendly to the thumb and are arranged in a logical fashion. We don't expect backlighting at this level, but we were annoyed that traversing LG's extensive menu system, especially the myriad picture controls, takes longer than usual because of poor responsiveness.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||N/A|
|3D-compatible||No||3D glasses included||N/A|
|Screen finish||Matte||Refresh rate(s)||120Hz|
|Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes||1080p/24 compatible||Yes|
|Internet connection||No||Wireless HDMI/AV connection||No|
|Other: Streams music and photos via USB|
The LD520 series is currently LG's least-expensive LCD to feature 120Hz processing, and though it lacks the streaming media of the step-up and the LED backlights of even higher-end sets, it's pretty well-featured for its price point.
It doesn't have the DLNA streaming of the Samsung LNC630, and it can't do video streaming via USB like the Sony EX500, but the LG does offer photo and music access via its USB port. We'd also be remiss if we didn't mention the matte screen, which cuts down on reflections better than the glossy screens some step-up LCDs.
|Adjustable picture modes||7||Independent memories per input||Yes|
|Dejudder presets||2||Fine dejudder control||Yes|
|Aspect ratio modes--HD||6||Aspect ratio modes--SD||5|
|Color temperature presets||3||Fine color temperature control||10-point|
|Gamma presets||2||Color management system||Yes|
|Other: 2-point and 10-point IRE systems available; Auto Power Save mode; guided "Picture Wizard" setup tool|
The LD520 has a picture adjustment selection better than many makers' flagship TVs. It offers the ability to adjust dejudder processing, a welcome extra pioneered by Samsung last year. There are also specific gamma settings (1.9, 2.2, and 2.4) in the excellent 10-point IRE system available in the Expert menu.
As with last year all of the adjustable picture modes can be separate for each input. We also liked the improvements made to the Picture Wizard, which consists of a series of test patterns that can help nonexperts adjust basic controls and get the gist of what picture setup is all about.
|Power saver mode||Yes||Ambient light sensor||Yes|
|Picture-in-picture||No||Onscreen user manual||Yes|
The ambient light sensor can be engaged by choosing the Intelligent Sensor picture mode, and you can choose a "screen off" option in the TV's energy saver menu to just get sound, reducing consumption to 20.4 watts. LG calls its onscreen manual "simple" and that's definitely the case--it's more like a rundown of features than a usable manual.
|HDMI inputs||2 back, 1 side||Component video inputs||1 back|
|Composite video input(s)||1 back, 1 side||S-video input(s)||0|
|VGA-style PC input(s)||1||RF input(s)||1|
|AV output(s)||0||Digital audio output||1 optical|
|USB port||1 side||Ethernet (LAN) port||No|
|Other: Side headphone jack, rear RS-232 port|
Nothing much goes missing from the LD520's input bay, although LG offers one fewer HDMI than the aforementioned Sony and Samsung competitors. There's a second composite jack, however, and uncommon extras like headphone and RS-232 ports (the latter for custom installations and probably not much use to people who aren't hotel owners).
The picture quality of the LD520 series fell short of competing LCDs like the Samsung LNC630 and, although it wasn't directly compared in our lineup, the Sony KDL-EX500. Weaknesses included subpar uniformity and black levels, along with artifact-prone dejudder processing. We did appreciate the calibration controls' ability to dial in accurate color, as well as the matte screen and proper handling of .