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LG's edge-lit local dimming LED goes astray

Some buyers might appreciate its design and features, but the picture quality of the LG LE5500 lags behind other local-dimming LED-based LCDs.

LG's LE5500 series proves not all local-dimming LED-based LCDs are created equal. Sarah Tew/CNET

In the last few years, the most-compelling LCD challengers to the picture quality reign of plasma were equipped with multizone LED backlights that could dim or brighten in different areas of the screen independently. Broadly known as local-dimming technology, in the best cases it delivered superb black-level performance and manageable tradeoffs in the form of stray illumination or "blooming." In the worse cases, such as the LG LE5500 series, that stray illumination is not managed well.

Unfortunately, we suspect that many buyers lured by the LG's claims of dimming won't understand the differences--among them the fact that this TV uses LEDs that illuminate the screen from the edge, rather than from behind. The LE5500 does offer plenty of perks, including accurate color, decent bright-room performance, a stylishly thin frame, and numerous Internet features, but seekers of LED-based LCDs who place a premium on image quality should look elsewhere.

Read the full review of the LG LH5500 series.