CNET First Look
LG 55LW9800The expensive LG 55LW9800's picture quality doesn't live up to the promise of its full-array local-dimming LED backlight.
-Hi, David Katzmaier here with the LG 55LW9800. This is a 55-inch LED based LCD TV. It's actually LGs best television in 2011. It's extremely expensive and there's only one size in the series. The reason why it's so expensive because it has an LED local dimming back light with the full array, so translation, it's got the best LED back light at least in terms of specs available on the market of course that does make it a heck of a lot more expensive than your standard LED TV. It is pretty thin though. When you look at it from the side, LG managed to squeeze all of that technology into a really thin profile here. That's a lot due to new nano back light that LG says is a very thin version of the standard LED back light. This TV also has pretty sleek styling when you look at it from the front. It's got this transparent edge and this kind of sharp edges. Overall, it has a sort of jewel like appearance. There's also a sleek glass top stand. So, overall, this TV looks pretty good in any room. LG went ahead and slapped as many features as possible into its flagship television. There is this passive 3D technology. The cool part about that is that it comes with 4 pairs of 3D glasses and the glass themselves are really inexpensive compared to 3D found on most on 3D TVs in this price range. I will get to how 3D preforms in a little bit, but another big feature on this set is its internet capability. LG smart TV is one of the best we've seen for content selection. It has Amazon Video on Demand, Vudu, and Netflix as well as a host of other smaller services. Pandora is missing, however, so its audio selection is not quite as good as some of the other TVs out there. The set also has very good menu design augmented by the fact that you can drive around the menu using the sleek motion sensitive remote control. The motion controller is similar to controller on the Nintendo Wii and gives you a second way to control the TV that actually works relatively well. The selection of picture tweaks on the LW9800 is extensive. The headline is the THX mode is actually 2 for 2D and 1 for 3D. This is the first passive 3D that received THX's 3D certification. There's a 10-point color temperature control and a full color management system. So, overall, the advance picture controls are as good any TV on the market. Around back, you find plenty of inputs including 4 HDMI and PC input. There's also a pair component video input, but you're gonna need breakout cables to use one of them. We also appreciated the built in Wi-Fi for this TV, which enables you to run the internet services without having to run a wire to your television. Picture quality on the LW9800 in 2D was actually relatively disappointing for flagship TV. This TV is capable of delivering very black levels, but when you select the modes that do so, they sacrifice other areas of picture quality including gamma, which makes the picture too dark and blooming which appears as the sort of halos around objects on screen. This compromises the low local dimming, which unfortunately doesn't have as good to black levels as you expect from the TV in this price range. Color on the LG was excellent and does have very good video processing. On the downside, its 3D does suffer from the same thing we've seen on previous past TVs and that are some jaggies invisible structure. On the flip side, you do get those cheap glasses and the cross talk is minimal. This is TV is also capable of becoming a lot brighter with 3D content than any other TVs on the market, and that's a quick overview of the LG 55LW9800. I'm David Katzmaier for CNET.