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First Look: High-end TV with midrange picture quality

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First Look: High-end TV with midrange picture quality

3:05 /

LG's LA8600 LED LCD delivers one of the best, most innovative Smart TV suites we've tested, but its picture quality isn't up to the level of its competitors.

Hi. David Katzmaier here with CNET and this is the LG LA8600. This is a 55-inch LED LCD TV. There's also a 6o-inch member of the series, which is LG's best for 2013, that's neither 4K nor OLED. It's a standard 1080p LED TV with all the bells and whistles the LG can throw this year. One of the coolest bells and whistles is something to be available on stepdown LG's well, that's the remote control. LG's remote is sort of like a Nintendo Wii controller and that you kinda wave it at the screen and you can have the cursor move around. This year it's been improved and I find it more precise than ever. It's excellent from moving around the menus navigating a whole bunch of the icons, even using the web browser and it works with pretty much everything over to some apps that are not supported but majority of them are. LG's Smart TV Suite has also been approved this year and we include the ability to show you live current television programming. That's right, you put in your zip code and your cable or satellite provider and it will show you upcoming TV shows that will also allow you to sort those shows and show a bunch of different thumbnails at once. You can sort of by genre, as well as whether they're SD or HD and also we found the system worked really well. It's actually a bit better than Samsung's similar system this year. It's called ON TV on the LG and it's available on this 8600, as well as a couple of other stepdown TVs but not every Smart LG TV. TV also builds in cable box controller. So, when you select one of those programs, change the channel on your cable box, you can also call it the virtual remote. Again, it's pretty easy to use that virtual remote when you use the motion control systems. You can reach those buttons on a virtual remote pretty easily compared to a system where I have to drive around like Samsung's and try to activate those buttons using a standard cursor arrangement. I told whoever I did appreciate using a standard universal remote a little bit better than this one especially for heavy DVR users. Other features on this LG include a pop up camera. It's really only use for Skype. However, Skype is included as one of the apps but this TV doesn't support the gesture controller in facial recognition found on Samsung's high-end camera equipped television. One of the real strengths of the LA8600 is its external design. It's one of the nicest looking TVs on the market. The edge around the screen is extremely thin. It's got a little silver trim here. There's also a little thicker area along the bottom. The stand is really slick looking too. It doesn't allow it to swivel but the U-shape is pretty distinctive and it gets the TV nice in high-low. It's not quite as low profile and aggressive looking as some of the other TVs out there. Of course, as an LED TV, it's also really slim or thin when you see it from the side. Around back, there's four HDMI ports, as well as 3 USB ports and a couple of fitness for analog. LG is also known for its passive 3D system. This TV includes 4 pairs of a lighter unpowered glasses that are really comfortable to wear. The main downside on the 8600 is picture quality and 2D. This doesn't measure up to the high price. The TV's black levels are a little bit lighter and less realistic than some of the high-end TVs on the market. There's also a couple of hotspots on the screen, so picture uniformity isn't quite up to snuff. On the other hand, the color accuracy is excellent and video promising is very good. But despite those strengths, the picture quality of 8600 isn't quite than lovely to expect for its high price. That's a quick look at LG's LA8600 series, LED-based LCD. I'm David Katzmaier, CNET.

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