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LG Infinia LV5500 review: LG Infinia LV5500

LG Infinia LV5500

Ty_Pendlebury.jpg
Ty Pendlebury
Ty_Pendlebury.jpg
Ty Pendlebury Editor

Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.

6 min read

We tend to give prominence to the "hero" models here at CNET, but there is an expectation that some of the technology found in high-end TVs will appear in some form in middle and lower-end sets as well. The LG LV5500 is a midrange TV that doesn't quite hit its marks. It's just slightly less expensive than the LG LW5600, which we really liked, but falls well short of its picture quality. The LV5500 is one of the least expensive LED-based LCD TVs on the market, and still manages to pack in an excellent Internet suite and a cool motion-control remote, but it's simply decent and not spectacular.

lg-55lv5500-55-class-54-6-viewable-led-backlit-lcd-tv-smart-tv-1080p-fullhd.jpg
6.6

LG Infinia LV5500

The Good

The relatively inexpensive <b>LG LV5500 series</b> evinced accurate colors and solid video processing. Its Smart TV Internet portal is well-designed with a solid selection of streaming services, and LG includes a Wi-Fi dongle. The secondary motion-sensitive remote provides a cool, easy-to-use control option.

The Bad

The LG LV5500 series isn't able to dig as deep into the blacks as some competitors and evinced some blooming and loss of shadow detail. Screen uniformity and off-angle viewing were below par. Its external styling is underwhelming. The LW5500's Smart TV lacks Pandora, and its browser and search is next to useless.

The Bottom Line

The LG 47LV5500 is a decent performer at its price level and features a great Smart TV package, but paying a little more for a different model would reap big rewards.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the LG 47LV5500, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Models in series (details)
LG 42LV5500 42 inches
LG 47LV5500 (reviewed) 47 inches
LG 55LV5500 55 inches

Design


The LG has a strange metallic-edged bezel that looks out of place.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Design highlights
Panel depth 1 inch Bezel width 1.5 inches
Single-plane face No Swivel stand Yes

After making a splash with its striking Scarlet TVs in 2008, LG has arguably struggled to maintain a consistent level of design ever since. The company can deliver a television like the reasonably stylish LW5600 and LW9800, but it made some strange decisions with the LV5500 series.

At a quick glance the LG LV5500 series looks like any other TV with a piano-black coating and rectangular design. But don't look too closely. Both LG and Samsung currently favor transparent edges, but on the samples we received the plastic looks cheap, and fit and finish are a little underwhelming. The unusual "brushed metal" effect along the edge of the black bezel underneath looks like cheap nail glitter up close and simply looks discolored from the couch.


The LV5500 series features a solid swivel stand.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Remote control and menus "="">Other: Includes secondary motion-based RF remote control
Remote size (LxW) 2.5x9 inches QWERTY keyboardNo
Illuminated keys Yes IR device control No
Menu item explanations No Onscreen manual No

A look inside the box reveals two remotes: a "standard" remote and the Magic Motion clicker included with step-up models. The standard remote is similar to most other LG remotes with a centralized directional pad and backlit keys. However, a lack of definition between the buttons on the directional pad makes it easy to press the wrong button, dumping you out of menus.

We liked the Magic Motion remote better, which works like a Nintendo Wii controller to enable you to select menu items and utilize many Smart TV functions. LG's redesigned home menu is also well-thought-out and places proper emphasis on the most-used functions. Check out the LW5600 review for more details on the remote and menu system.

Features

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Key TV features "="">Other: Includes secondary motion-based RF remote control
Display technology LCD LED backlight Edge-lit
3D technology N/A 3D glasses included N/A
Screen finish Matte Internet connection Wireless dongle included
Refresh rate(s) 120Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes
DLNA-compliant Photo/Music/Video USB Photo/Music/Video

This part is confusing, so forgive us in advance. Previously LG's web site claimed that the LV5500 series has the LED Plus technology, the company's name for edge lit with local dimming. We called the company to confirm and they told us that that was a mistake and that the LV5500 doesn't have local dimming (they subsequently removed said reference from the site). Nonetheless we did see some blooming in our tests, indicating that the TV does some kind of local dimming, but regardless, it doesn't seem to help the picture quality (see below).

Aside from the backlight, two notable inclusions are the bundled Wi-Fi adapter and--for the people who like their picture smoother than a silk toboggan luge--dejudder and onboard 120Hz processing. At least the smoothing can be configured and turned off.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Streaming and apps "="">Other: Additional Premium services include CinemaNow, MLB.tv, Napster, vTuner, AccuWeather, AP News, Google Maps, Picasa
Netflix Yes YouTube Yes
Amazon Instant Yes Hulu Plus Yes
Vudu Yes Pandora No
Web browser Yes Skype Yes
Facebook Yes Twitter Yes

The LG LV5500 series is an LG Smart TV, and in conjunction with the Magic Motion remote this is definitely the television's best feature. While the downloadable apps and games aren't that exciting, the content offerings are quite significant, with heavy-hitters Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and Netflix all included--Pandora is the only missing link. The TV also features a (sluggish) Internet browser and DLNA compatibility for streaming your stored digital media.


With most streaming services covered except for Pandora, the LG LV5500 series offers a broad suite of entertainment options.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Picture settings "="">Other: No local-dimming control
Adjustable picture modes 6 Fine dejudder control Yes
Color temperature presets 3 Fine color temperature control 10 points
Gamma presets 3 Color management system Yes

Like many LG TVs the LV5500 comes with a wealth of setup options including the picture tweaker's favourite, the 10-point calibration menu. For the less technically minded, the TV also includes a Picture Wizard that will give a much better picture than Vivid and Standard mode do, though not as good as you'd get from an inexpensive calibration DVD.


The included picture setup routine is easy, but doesn't lead to a very accurate picture.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Connectivity
HDMI inputs 4 Component video inputs 1
Composite video input(s) 2 VGA-style PC input(s) 1
USB port 2 Ethernet (LAN) port Yes

The selection of connections leaves nothing to be desired, although the second component/composite jack requires a breakout cable.


The included Wi-Fi dongle occupies one of the USB slots.

Performance
The LG LV5500's picture quality was decent for the price, mainly due to color accuracy and video processing, but its black levels were lighter than those of the competition. Models like the LG LW5600 and Samsung UND6400 both offer much better picture quality as well as the option of 3D.

The LG's Cinema mode was best out of the box although still too bluish. Setup is one of LG's main strengths, and using the TV's advanced settings we were able to get extremely accurate color and gamma.

It's worth mentioning here that we received two LG LV5500 TVs but the first was faulty with a broken backlight and a woefully inaccurate 10-point system. The second TV worked fine.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Comparison models (details)
Samsung UN46D6400 46-inch edge-lit LED
LG Infinia 47LW5600 47-inch edge-lit local dimming LED
Sony Bravia KDL-46EX720 46-inch edge-lit LED
Panasonic TC-P50ST30 50-inch plasma
Pioneer PRO-111FD (reference) 50-inch plasma

Black level: The LV5500 showed the lightest shade of black among the models in our lineup, coming up a hair short of the Sony and looking quite a bit more washed-out than the others. Dark scenes, such as the 'solitary' sequence in "Batman Begins" appeared less realistic and punchy as a result. We also noticed that bright areas appeared a dimmer than on the Samsung and the Sony (an issue we also noticed on the LW5600), robbing more contrast from the scene.

The LV5500 exhibited the same tendency as its bigger brother LW5600 to crush shadow detail: the dark exteriors of the rebel Romulan ship in the "Star Trek" reboot looked crisp and dynamic on the competing Samsung, but washed-out on the LGs.

Despite LG's claim that the TV doesn't do local dimming we noticed signs of blooming, where stray light from bright areas illuminated darker ones. It wasn't visible in most scenes however; we only really noticed it in areas like white-on-black credits and the icons of our PS3 in the letterbox vars, for example.

Color accuracy: After calibration the TV was among the most accurate in our lineup, delivering spot-on color with natural-looking skin tones. On the flipside the LW5600 and especially the Samsung looked a good deal richer and more saturated thanks to their deeper black levels.

Video processing: The TV employs a 24p mode called Real Cinema, and we found it worked quite well, preserving the correct cadence of film in tracking shots. In addition, we found that employing the TruMotion setting's User mode--maxing out antiblur while simultaneously turning off antijudder--gave us the TV's full motion resolution without the extra smoothing or haloing artifacts associated with dejudder. That's one improvement over the LW5600, which introduced smoothing in the same User settings.

Uniformity: In addition to the minor blooming, we noticed that the left side of our LV5500's screen showed stray illumination that spilled out into darker areas. It wasn't bad enough to spoil our viewing, but it was more noticeable than any of the uniformity issues on the Samsung or especially the LW5600--albeit not as annoying as the bright spots on the Sony.

Off-axis viewing is not especially good, and it's even worse than on the Samsung UND6400, which we criticized for poor off-axis performance at the time of our review.

Bright lighting: The LG has a matte screen and we didn't experience any problems with reflections in a well-lit environment.

Power consumption: The LV5500 is a miserly consumer, using fewer watts per square inch than just about any TV we've tested this year.

Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.004 Good
Avg. gamma 2.2465 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.3132/0.3378 Good
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3142/0.3324 Good
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3127/0.3283 Good
Before avg. color temp. 6944 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6480 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 0.947 Good
Green lum. error (de94_L) 1.4461 Good
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 1.0347 Good
Cyan hue x/y 0.2312/0.3353 Good
Magenta hue x/y 0.3307/0.1595 Good
Yellow hue x/y 0.4262/0.5096 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 900 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 400 Poor
PC input resolution (VGA) 1,920x1,080 Pass

Power consumption:

Power consumption:The 47-inch 47LV5500 we tested is a miserly consumer, using fewer watts per square inch than just about any TV we've tested this year.

LG 47LV5500 CNET review calibration results

(Read more about how we test TVs.)

lg-55lv5500-55-class-54-6-viewable-led-backlit-lcd-tv-smart-tv-1080p-fullhd.jpg
6.6

LG Infinia LV5500

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6
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