The LD520 series represents LG's least-expensive LCD TV with 120Hz processing, 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, we've reviewed. Its closest picture quality rival we've tested is the Vizio E0VL series, 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.
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 somewhat bulky appearance.
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 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.
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. (Note: the LD520 lacks LED local dimming. This screenshot was taken from another LG TV.)
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 1080p/24.