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LG LK450 series (photos)

While the picture quality of the LG LK450 has its strengths, they're overcome by its grayish reproduction of black.

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David Katzmaier
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1 of 12 Sarah Tew/CNET

Overview

The LG LK450 is one of the most popular TVs on the market, and by our guess the reason is simple economics: it's cheap, especially for a major-brand model. Like the entry-level non-LED competition from Samsung and Sony, this TV is stripped of most features aside from the screen. Unlike those TVs, however, its picture quality--hampered by poor black-level performance--isn't up to snuff. Since a picture is all you're paying for at this level, we find the LG LK450 tough to recommend.
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Corner detail

While inoffensive enough while turned off, the LK450 isn't a style-first TV. LG spiced up the standard glossy black frame with a strip of sandy-brownish color along the bottom that ends up looking tacked on.
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Stand detail

The stand pedestal takes a squared-off shape that seems clunkier than the rounded Samsung and more prominent than the low-profile Sony, but at least it swivels.
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Profile

At 3 inches, the LK450 is a bit thinner than some other standard LCDs, but it won't be mistaken for an LED model.
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Inputs

The LK450 delivers more connections than just about any other entry-level TV, with a second component-video slot and a headphone jack being the standouts.
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Remote

LG's entry-level clicker lacks the backlighting and meatier size of its step-up cousin, but we appreciated the big cursor and the logical button groups.
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Main menu

A simple tile structure greets users who press the remote's Home key. Unfortunately, the menu response was often poor and fell behind our rapid button presses, an issue that became especially frustrating when dealing with the TV's numerous picture settings.
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Main picture menu

The LK450 is best-of-breed at this price, providing as much (or more) control as on any flagship-priced TV on the market. That includes more picture presets than most other makers, including a pair of Expert modes with advanced options like...
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10-point grayscale calibration

Only LG offers a 10-point control at this price level.
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Color management system

While the LK450 has a CMS, we ended up not having to use it since out-of-the box saturation, hue, and color luminance were all basically perfect.
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Real Cinema control

Surprisingly for a 60Hz TV, the LG actually passed our 1080p/24 test by preserving the cadence of film when we engaged the Real Cinema option.
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Picture quality

The LG LK450 delivered a worse picture than its Sony and Samsung entry-level competitors, a showing that can be blamed squarely on light black levels (which get worse than usual for off-angle viewers). Its exemplary color accuracy, along with video processing and bright room kudos, can't close that gap.

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