LG LX9500 series (photos)

Loads of features, a nearly frameless design and excellent overall 2D performance increase the appeal of the LG LX9500 series LED-based LCD TV, but its 3D picture needs work.

CNET Reviews staff

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We really liked the LG LE8500 series, so it's little surprise we also like the company's LX9500, reviewed here, which is basically the same TV plus 3D compatibility. Unless you really want 3D or love the LX9500's thin frame, however, the less-expensive LE8500 is the better choice. Both offer nearly identical 2D picture quality--with a couple of caveats, it's among the best you can get this year from an LCD--that benefits from deep black levels, highly accurate color and better-than-expected off-angle fidelity. Unfortunately LG seems to have rushed with the 3D portion of the LX9500, saddling it with a washed-out picture that's as lackluster as the 2D one is punchy, and no way to adjust it. With two-dimensional material, on the other hand, the stylish, well-featured LG LX9500 series is one of the most impressive LED-based LCDs we've tested this year.

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Corner detail

The sides and top of the LX9500's frame measure less than an inch wide.
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Side view

Seen from the side the 1.3-inch depth becomes obvious.
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Plenty of connectivity is onboard, including four total HDMI, to component video and a PC input. A wireless HDMI module is a $350 option.
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Optional 3D glasses

The proprietary 3D glasses cost $169 (list) per pair, and none are included with the LX9500.
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3D warning #1

Like most 3D TV makers, LG wants to be covered in case somebody sues over 3D.
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3D warning #2

Really, really covered.
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3D mode selection

You can choose from the standard array of 3D modes.
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The standard remote works fine...
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Magic wand remote

...but LG also included a Magic Wand remote, which works like the controller on a Nintendo Wii.
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Wand remote main menu

Hitting the Home key on the wand calls up a simplified menu system and a big cursor control, and moving the remote itself to point the cursor activates menu items.
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Wand menu home

The home menu has larger icons but leaves out more-advanced controls. You can adjust pointer settings, although we found accuracy at the default settings was excellent and needed no adjustment.
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Wand menu keypad and extra controls

If you're feeling really magical, you can use the wand to enter numbers.
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Big options wheel

LG's options wheel of TV shortcuts is supersized in Wand mode.
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NetCast streaming media

LG's 2009 models were among the first to include Netflix, but since that service is now available on most Internet TVs, the company's Netcast array of streaming partners is now pretty pedestrian. However, there are no major missing links aside from any kind of audio service like Pandora or Slacker radio.
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Yahoo widgets

Most of the nonstreaming apps--with the exception of Picasa, a clock for time zones around the world, an onscreen calendar and a few games--come courtesy of Yahoo Widgets.
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10-point IRE adjustment

We liked the LX9500's picture adjustment selection in 2D, but 3D was a disappointment.
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Picture quality

Overall the LX9500 is an excellent performer with 2D material, and extremely similar, as expected, to the LE8500. Both deliver some of the deepest black levels and most accurate color available today, and off-angle viewing was better than that of any LED we've tested. On the other hand we saw the same uniformity and bright lighting issues on both sets, and unlike the LE8500 the LX9500 couldn't handle 1080p/24 content properly.

The LG LX9500 delivered worse 3D picture quality than any of the other 3D-compatible comparison models. The main culprit was light black levels in 3D mode.

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