LG LA6200 series review:

Smart, pretty, but lackluster performance

Picture settings: In typical LG fashion the midrange LA6200 has basically the same level of adjustability as the high-end LA8600--and it's as much or more than anybody needs. There are two Expert modes in addition to numerous other adjustable presets. The 20-point grayscale adjustment is overkill in my opinion (I prefer 10 points) and didn't work well in testing. The color management system worked OK, but it's not a big deal since out-of-the-box color was very good. Full control of picture options is available for streaming-video sources.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Connectivity: The ports on the back of the LA6200 are ample, with three each for HDMI and USB devices. There's also a combination composite/component video input (choose just one!) for analog sources. As expected at this level there's no analog VGA-style PC input.

Picture quality
From what we've seen so far of LG's 2013 TVs, the company hasn't made great strides in improving on its poor scores from 2012. The LA6200 suffers some of the lightest black levels I've tested this year, a foible that washes out the image and, as usual, impairs its "pop" and contrast. The set also doesn't match the motion resolution expected of a 120Hz TV, and 3D was surprisingly disappointing. Color accuracy and uniformity are quite good, but in the end the 6200 still falls below most of the pack.

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV’s picture controls worked during calibration.

Comparison models (details)
Toshiba 50L2300U 50-inch LED
Panasonic TC-L50E60 50-inch LED
Vizio M551d-A2R 55-inch LED
LG 55LA8600 55-inch LED
Samsung UN55F6400 55-inch LED
Panasonic TC-P50S60 50-inch plasma

Black level: In my lineup only the Toshiba produced as light a shade of black as the LG LA6200--the rest of the sets appeared to a greater or lesser extent darker in black and near-black areas, and therefore punchier and more realistic. In "Drive" as Driver takes Irene to her evening job (Chapter 6), the 6200's letterbox bars, the shadow-darkened dashboard, and the silhouette of Irene's head all appeared relatively washed out and less lifelike.

As a result shadows also looked unrealistic, but at least they didn't lack for detail. Irene's hair and the folds of her sweater, as well as the couple's faces, appeared as well-detailed as expected despite the lighter blacks, outdoing the more muddied Toshiba and Vizio, for example.

Color accuracy: The LG had few problems in the accuracy department, coming extremely close to reference color in our measurements and confirming its stellar numbers with program material. The pale face of Irene at the party (36:31) looked well-balanced and neutral, without the slight reddish cast of the Samsung and Vizio, or the slight greenish tinge of the Panasonic S60. I did notice what seemed like a slight lean toward blue in bright areas, like the couples' faces in their restaurant conversation (45:58), but it wasn't noticeable outside a side-by-side comparison.

As expected due to its poor black levels, however, saturation is a weak point. Even the Toshiba mustered more pop and impact, and brighter colors like the red of her dress and the brightly colored packaging behind her head looked somewhat muted on the LA6200. All of the other displays' color, with the exception of the E60, appeared more pleasing and rich subjectively than the LGs'.

I also appreciated that shadows and black areas didn't have the bluish tinge I saw on some of the LEDs, the Panasonic E60 in particular.

Video processing: The LG LA6200 earned decent marks here with one blemish. As I expect from a television billed as 120Hz, it successfully delivered the proper 1080p/24 cadence of film. To get it to do so, you'll have to turn the TruMotion setting to Off, and make sure Real Cinema is on. Since TruMotion doesn't affect motion resolution, a watcher who doesn't want to introduce smoothing should probably just leave the LA6200 in this setting. In case you're wondering, the User setting with dejudder turned all the way down doesn't result in correct cadence; instead you get the halting stutter reminiscent of 2:3 pull-down.

Also as expected, the 6200 series is capable of introducing the Soap Opera Effect (smoothing) if you're into that sort of thing. It's most intense in the Clear setting and very slightly less-so in Smooth, and I appreciate that LG lets you dial in as much of the effect as you want this year via a 10-step User option. As I found with the LA8600, there's actually a nice progression from 0 to 10, making this coontrol as effective as Samsung's -- the only other maker to offer user-adjustable smoothing. The smoothing wasn't as good as the Samsung, E60 or LA8600's, all of which showed fewer trails and unnatural ripple effects (the grocery store sequence at 15:29 was a good example), but at least its there if you need it.

So far so good, so what's the blemish? Despite behaving like a 120Hz TV in the above tests, the LG LA6200 has the motion resolution of a 60Hz television. In our test, all of the TruMotion settings delivered the same poor result of around 300 lines. That's quite a bit worse than Samsung's UN6400 and Panasonic's E60, both 120Hz televisions as well. If you're sensitive to blurring -- which in my experience is quite difficult to discern in most program material -- you may want to avoid this LG.

The LA6200's input lag in game mode was a very respectable 44.2ms. Renaming an input "PC," a trick that works on some LG TVs to reduce input lag, had no positive effect on the LA6200.

Uniformity: Thanks no doubt in part to its direct LED backlight, the 6200 suffered no obvious hot spots in dark program material. The extreme edge of the letterbox bars along the top and bottom did appear very slightly brighter, but it wasn't really noticeable unless you looked for it. Even during the all-black credits the screen showed none of the minor clouding seen on the Samsung, nor the blooming effects of the Vizio. Bright fields were similarly uniform.

Off-angle viewing washed out black areas worse than on the Samsung and the E60, but it maintained color fidelity somewhat better, equalling the Vizio, Toshiba and LA8600 in that area.

Bright lighting: The 6200 was mediocre under the lights, and its biggest weakness again had to do with black level. Dark images looked more even more washed out than on any of the others (with the exception of the Panasonic S60), robbing the picture of impact. Reflections weren't terrible, and better than on many of the lineup, but the 6200's semi-glossy screen failed to dim them as much as a true matte TV would.

Sound quality: With music the LG wasn't the worst in the lineup, but it was pretty terrible. Both the LA8600 and the UN6400 trounced it, and the S60 was clearly (pun intended) better. On "Red Right Hand" the 6200 sounded muddy yet somehow thin as well, individual instruments like the cymbals almost disappeared, and Nick Cave's voice lacked even the intelligibility of the ugly-sounding Toshiba. Only the E60 sounded worse, although the Toshiba was right there at the bottom too. Dialog on "Mission: Impossible 3" was better, but once the explody bits started there was no feeling of dynamics -- the onrushing truck, the horns, and the exploding glass were quieter and muddier than on the others.

3D: The LA6200 evinced the worst 3D picture quality I've seen any TV. As a passive model, I expected the sime kind of performance seen on other passive-equipped LG's and Vizios: a relatively bright image almost completely free of crosstalk -- that doubled image, sometimes called "ghosting," that appears as an outline on many on-screen objects. Crosstalk is a major issue with many active 3D TVs, but this is the first passive model I've seen that shows the issue to any large extent.

And crosstalk on the LA6200 is pretty bad. During "Hugo" I saw the doubled image not just in my favorite torture-test scenes -- Hugo's hand as it reached for the mouse (5:01), the tuning pegs on the guitar (7:49), and the face of the dog as it watches the inspector slide by (9:24) -- but pretty much everywhere else too. It was significantly worse than on either of the two active 3D TVs in my lineup, the Samsung UNF6400 and Panasonic TC-PST60, and neither of those is particularly good. Of course, compared with the essentially crosstalk-free Vizio and LG LA8600, the LA6200 looked even worse. No adjustment I tried fixed the issue or even reduced it enough to be worthwhile.

The cheaper LG also suffered from the artifacts typical of other passive sets like the Vizio and LA8600, namely line structure and occasionally moving jagged edges. The former was particularly visible in bright faces against dark backgrounds, for example on Hugo himself at 6:11, 11:06, and 13:33, and the face of Isabelle at 17:06. It was also visible along other edges, such as the sleeve of Méliès at 4:58. Moving lines were rarer than in some other films, on the other hand; the first example I saw was the bright edge of Uncle Claude's bowler (22:41) as he spoke to Hugo. I also saw an instance of jagged lines a bit later along the diagonal edge of the tombstone next to Hugo's father's (23:16).

Yes, the image was plenty bright, colors looked fine, and while black levels were worse than on the other TVs, all other issues pale in comparison to the crosstalk. LG's glasses, for what it's worth, fit well and I liked them better than Vizio's.

GEEK BOX: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.037 Poor
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.16 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 2.261 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 1.555 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 2.142 Good
Avg. color error 0.945 Good
Red error 1.86 Good
Green error 0.092 Good
Blue error 1.17 Good
Cyan error 1.05 Good
Magenta error 1.12 Good
Yellow error 0.38 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 300 Poor
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 300 Poor
Input lag (Game mode) 44.2 Average

LG 47LA6200 CNET review calibration results

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