In 2010 you can prepare to be confused by two familiar, yet relatively complex, TV technologies: 3D
and LED backlights
. Before you ask, no, 3D is not available on the LG LE8500 series reviewed here--that perk is reserved for the more-expensive 9500 models
--but an LED backlight is. More importantly, the LE8500 has a full-array backlight with local dimming, meaning hundreds of independent cells behind the screen can brighten or dim independently, which can really help improve picture quality. In contrast, most of other LED-backlit TVs available today have either no local-dimming capability or attempt to mimic the dimming of a full array by creating zones from an edge-lit configuration. We know the former has little impact on picture quality, and we haven't tested the latter (which we're calling "edge with local dimming" for now), but we can tell you after reviewing the LE8500 that full-array local dimming still works great.
Yes, this high-end TV falls short of the best sets available today in a couple of areas, and strict videophiles might notice some stray illumination. But if you go by the most important ingredients of good picture quality--black levels and color accuracy--the LG LE8500 is the new ruler of the LCD roost, and it sets a high bar for other 2010 TVs. If you don't give a hoot about 3D and are willing to pay more for an excellent-performing LCD, it belongs near the top of your wish list.