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First Take: LG LW5300 series

The LG LW5300 series is a 3D TV bundle that features a passive LCD screen, BD645 Blu-ray player, and four sets of 3D glasses.

When LG representatives showed us around the CES 2011 booth, they told us of their plans to release a smart TV-free 3D television, and here it is: the LW5300.

Rather than a standalone television, it's a bundle that includes the TV, a BD645 Blu-ray player, and four sets of glasses. The TV comes in three sizes: 42 inches, 47 inches, and 55 inches.

The TV part of the bundle, aside from missing LG's Smart TV Internet suite, has identical specs to the LW5600 we reviewed and liked a lot for its 2D picture quality. It features an edge-lit LED backlight with local dimming and 120Hz refresh rate. Based on the contrast ratio listed in the specifications, the LW5300 is a lesser-grade panel than either the LV5500 or the LW5600, which means lower levels of black and reduced picture quality.

The 3D portion is LG's Cinema 3D technology, a passive system that, while blessed with cheaper glasses, performs worse than on the best active models (more info).

The Blu-ray player is a 3D model but also lacks the smart TV suite found on models like the BD640. It can handle media files via a home network (DLNA) or USB however.

There's currently a debate among CNET editors about the benefits of integrated smart TV systems versus an inexpensive box like the $50 Roku. If you'd rather the ability to add a streaming box later and have 3D onboard--something you can't bolt on to an existing TV--then the 5300 may be a good deal.