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LG Infinia LW5600 review:

LG Infinia LW5600

Unlike Samsung and Panasonic LG blesses its slim TVs with a set of honest-to-goodness multicolored RCA jacks that don't require breakout cables (although the second component/composite input does). Users of the USB Wi-Fi dongle might want a third USB port, but we doubt it.

No extra breakout cables are required for one component and composite input.

The LG LW5600 is a very good overall performer for an edge-lit LED, matching its Samsung competitor the Samsung UN46D6400 with a "7" in this subcategory--although each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. We were most impressed by the LG's color, and while local dimming causes blooming and artifacts, the deep black levels and better uniformity were worth the tradeoff. 3D picture quality was, as we saw on the other passive TV we reviewed, inferior to active in key ways, but should still be appealing to less discerning eyes (and people who want to save money on a family's worth of glasses).

The LW5600 series' best picture mode prior to calibration was Expert, but it measured worse, (specifically, bluer and with inaccurate secondary colors) than the best default modes on most TVs we've tested recently. Our calibration resulted in nearly perfect color in all but the darkest areas, thanks to LG's excellent grayscale and solid color management controls.

We calibrated both Off and High local dimming settings, but ended up using High in our evaluation because of its black level advantages (in Off we measured 0 percent at an unimpressive 0.0327 fL). We've included the picture settings for Off as well, if you'd like to compare.

For our image quality testing we watched "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1" on Blu-ray and compared the LG to the lineup below.

Comparison models (details)
Samsung UN46D6400 46-inch LED-based LCD
Sony KDL-46EX720 46-inch LED-based LCD
Panasonic TC-P50ST30 50-inch plasma
Sharp LC-60LE830U 60 inch LED-based LED
Vizio XVT553SV 55-inch LED-based LCD
Samsung PN59D8000 (reference) 59-inch plasma

Black level: The LW5600 performed well in this area, outdoing the blackness of the Sharp and Sony, running neck-and-neck with the Samsung UND6400 and falling a bit short of the plasmas and the Vizio. Its 0 percent black measurement was superb comparatively speaking, but doesn't tell the whole story. In dark scenes with some bright content, like the banquet in Chapter 2, areas like the letterbox bars, the black of the extinguished fireplace and Snape's cape (4:22) was a bit brighter than the three best in our lineup.

Despite the deep blacks the LG's contrast or "pop" was also a bit worse than most of the other displays (aside from the Sharp and Sony). The bright areas of dark scenes, like the ice, shiny sword and Harry's skin in Chapter 22, or the snow in Chapter 20, were dimmer on the LG, robbing them of some impact. In brighter scenes the difference was nonexistent.

In most scenes blooming caused by the edge-lit local dimming LEDs wasn't an issue. That said we did notice excessive blooming, which manifests as brightness in areas that should be dark, when viewing bright objects amidst dark backgrounds in some scenes. The "black" areas to either side of the rectangles we measure during calibration, for example, were much brighter than the "black" areas above and below. We noticed similar effects occasionally during program material--the white text of the PS3's information overlay, and the text of the credits, caused the surrounding black areas to brighten. We also occasionally saw strange artifacts like a sort of floating area of brightness along the edge of the letterbox bar in Chapter 22 (1:39:04). They were also relatively rare, however.

Disabling local dimming completely removed blooming and those artifacts, but also caused black levels to worsen significantly and wash out the entire image. The Low and Medium settings also lessened the levels of blooming, but black levels suffered somewhat as well. Of course the UND6400 managed to deliver basically the same black levels as the LG without local dimming or blooming.

The LW5600's shadow detail fell slightly short of the UND6400, with just a bit less detail in areas like the dark jackets of Harry and the old woman (1:29:00), but matched or exceeded the other displays in our lineup. We also appreciated that the screen didn't turn off during brief fades to black, like the UND6400 and the Vizio did.

Color accuracy: As usual for an LG the LW5600 excelled in this category. In both bright and dark scenes it beat all of the other displays except for the reference Samsung D8000 plasma. Skin tones, like the faces of Harry and Hermione in the day lit forest of Chapter 14, looked natural, while the green of the shrubs and the colors in their clothing looked just right.

Colors near black were also more accurate than the rest of the LCDs, although the Vizio was close. We really appreciated that the letterbox bars and shadows didn't look tinges with blue, as they did on the Samsung, Sony and Sharp LEDs.

Video processing: The LW5600 is capable of delivering correct 1080p/24 cadence if you disable dejudder (TruMotion) and engage the Real Cinema setting. Doing so causes the TV's motion resolution measurement to drop significantly (see the Geek Box), but, as usual, regardless of the difference we measured in our test we didn't notice any difference in program material.

We tried using the Custom dejudder mode to achieve full motion resolution without smoothing--setting De-judder to "0" and De-blur to "10"--but we still saw some smoothing effect. For that reason we recommend keeping the LW5600 in TruMotion: Off mode if you don't want to see smoothing.

Fans of the smoothing look might want to choose another TV, because even the Low setting on the LG showed more visible artifacts, for example breakup and halos, than we saw on competing sets like the Samsung and Sony.

Uniformity: Unlike the other edge-lit LEDs the LG had a screen that remained quite uniform across its surface in dark areas. The corners and edges didn't appear noticeably brighter than the middle, and the blotches we noticed on the Sony and Sharp were absent on the LG. When we turned dimming Off slight brightness variations showed up in corners and along the edges, but they still weren't bad on our review sample.

When seen from off-angle to either side, however, the LW5600 was the worst in our lineup. It lost black level fidelity worse than the others and also became significantly dimmer--the latter difference was extreme enough that it might be a side-effect (no pun intended) of the passive 3D screen. It kept color fidelity relatively well, however.

Bright lighting: The matte screen of the LG was a boon under the lights, muting reflections better than the glossy Samsung or the plasmas and preserving black levels quite well.

3D: For our 3D comparison we slipped the passive Vizio XVT3D650SV as well as the Samsung UN55D8000 into our lineup and checked out "Tron: Legacy." As usual we compared all of the displays using their default Movie or Cinema settings in our dark room. The short story is that we liked active better because of its superior picture quality.

The unpowered, passive glasses were certainly easier for everyday use, however. We didn't have to worry about turning them on, they felt lighter and less intrusive than any of the active specs, and we appreciated being able to look at other screens (like our laptop) without seeing flicker. They also darkened regular eyesight less than active lenses; we found ourselves taking breaks without remembering we had them on.

LG's squared-off glasses fit over our prescription lenses better than Vizio's slightly curved version, but as expected both worked interchangeably with either passive TV. A third-party pair of passive glasses from RealD, similar to the ones in most US. 3D theaters, also worked fine with both.

That said we found active glasses comfortable enough over longer periods that we didn't mind wearing them. More importantly, we didn't notice any difference in fatigue or discomfort (unrelated to glasses fit, that is) between the two 3D technologies. Active glasses do technically flicker to achieve 3D, but to our eye the flicker was unnoticeable and didn't feel unnatural or bothersome.

To us the more important factor is active's clear picture quality advantage, which is mostly due to the every-other-line nature LG's polarizing technology (see Key Features above). The 3D image on the LG looked a bit softer in finely detailed areas, but worse by far were artifacts caused by visible line structure.

In nearly every scene we could see jagged edges along the visible lines, for example along the edge of Gem's outfit, the back of the receding girl's suit and the lit circle in the distance (28:11), or the diagonal lines on the floor of the arena (39:04). The effect was worse and more distracting when movement caused the jagged edges to crawl, as they did during a quick pan over the arena (42:04) for example. Moiré artifacts were also relatively common, for example in the crawling lines of Alan's tie in Chapter 3 (16:30) and the patterned floor in Chapter 5 (28:22).

Individual horizontal lines were also visible at our preferred distance from this size TV, between 6-7 feet, especially in faces and brighter, flat fields. In most scenes sitting far enough away made the individual lines disappear--for us it was about 9 feet from the 47-inch screen--although we could still make out jaggies and moiré from that distance.

We also noticed that when seen from extreme off-angle, the LG's 3D effect deteriorated and the formerly fused 3D image separated into its two parts (which looked similar to crosstalk, but was visible everywhere in the image). Normal seating angles, for example from anywhere on our three-seat couch in front of the TV, looked fine however.

In the LG's favor we saw less crosstalk than on the UND6400 and, to a lesser extent, the plasmas. The Samsung UND8000 LED was as good as the LG at shutting out crosstalk in the scenes we compared, such as the edge of the receding girls (28:45) and the pattern on Quorra's uniform (1:04:01).

Black levels were a bit better on the Samsungs, although the LW5600 was much better in this regard than the Vizio and also outdid the ST30's 3D black level performance. The LG's default color in Cinema was accurate-enough-looking, but it's worth noting that you can't activate the extended Expert controls in 3D.

For bright rooms the LG is an excellent 3D choice. Since the passive glasses don't darken the image much, the LG's picture was quite a bit brighter than that of any of the active TVs. The active LEDs are probably still bright enough for most rooms, however, but the LG's advantage over the plasmas in this area was greater.

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0082 Good
Avg. gamma 2.2038 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.3139/0.3336 Good
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3123/0.3294 Good
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3134/0.3294 Good
Before avg. color temp. 7646 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6481 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 0.1439 Good
Green lum. error (de94_L) 0.0664 Good
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 0.3886 Good
Cyan hue x/y 0.2296/0.3296 Good
Magenta hue x/y 0.3211/0.1534 Good
Yellow hue x/y 0.4228/0.5098 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i De-interlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 1200 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 400 Poor
PC input resolution (VGA) 1,920x1,080 Good

Power consumption: We did not test the power consumption of this size in the LG LW5600 series, but we did test the 47-inch model. For more information, refer to the review of the LG 47LW5600.

LG 47LW5600 CNET review calibration results

(Read more about how we test TVs.)

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