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LG LM7600 review: LG LM7600

Most of the expensive, "Smart," beautiful-looking LED TVs we've reviewed this year were disappointments when we turned them on, but not the LG LM7600 series.

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David Katzmaier
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David Katzmaier

Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

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5 min read

This late in the year it's rare for jaded TV reviewers like me to be surprised one way or the other by the picture quality of a TV, but LG's LM7600 threw me for a loop. I was expecting the same kind of lackluster picture I experienced with the LM6700 series, which seems nearly identical on paper, but the 7600's image was clearly better. It even outperformed the company's significantly more expensive flagship model, the LM9600. Don't ask me why, because I don't know.

lg-55lm7600-55-class-54-6-viewable-lm7600-series-3d-led-tv-smart-tv-1080p-fullhd-edge-lit-local-dimming.jpg
7.1

LG LM7600

The Good

The <b>LG LM7600</b> series has very good overall picture quality, with deep black levels for an LED TV. The semimatte screen worked well in brighter rooms, and the 3D was virtually free of crosstalk. Blessed by a thin, tastefully black bezel, this is one of the most beautiful TV designs of the year. Its clever motion-control remote is used with a highly customizable menu system, and its Smart TV suite offers plenty of content. It ships with six pairs of passive 3D glasses.

The Bad

The relatively expensive LM7600 evinced poor screen uniformity, with an obvious hot spot in the upper corner. Color was less accurate than that of many competitors. Its passive 3D showed occasional artifacts and moving lines.

The Bottom Line

If you've been holding out for an LED TV with picture quality that mostly lives up to its stunning design and cutting-edge features, the LM7600 series deserves a look.

Improved picture quality vaults the LM7600 into the small club of highly recommendable LED TVs this year. It packs in an excellent feature set, including a motion-control remote, extensive Smart doodads, and enough 3D glasses to outfit a large family. It also has one of the most handsome designs I've ever seen in a television. Yes, the LM7600 costs more than many of its competitors, particularly the excellent Vizio M3D0KD, the very good Sharp LC-LE640U, and a few of the best plasmas, but it might be worth the dough to people seeking a cutting-edge LED TV with all the fixins' and a good picture.

Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 47-inch LG 47LM7600, but this review also applies to the other screen size in the series. The two sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Models in series (details)
LG 47LM7600 (reviewed) 47 inches
LG 55LM7600 55 inches

Design

We've lauded the designs of LG's higher-end LED TVs this year and the LM7600 is another beautiful example. The vanishingly thin bezel around the screen makes the TV seem nearly all picture, and the few areas that are visible exude elegance, from the black frame touched with silver edging to the sweeping U-shaped stand. It's tough to distinguish the LM7600 from the equally nice-looking flagship LM9600, and both deserve our highest score in this category.

The winning design also extends to LG's unique motion-sensitive remote -- the only clicker on the market that's actually fun to use. LG doesn't include a normal remote with the LM7600; the little wand replaces a standard multibutton remote's cursor with Nintendo Wii-like motion control. You wave it at the TV and an onscreen cursor follows your movements precisely, allowing quicker selection of menu items and easier navigation in general. Responses were swift and the motion control effortless.

The company's 2012 interface makes compelling use of motion control with multiple "cards" on the home screen: a live TV window and an ad below, a non-customizable Premium card of the best Smart TV apps, a card for 3D World, and another for LG Smart World. You can also create customizable cards with shortcuts to various menu items (but not individual apps). There's also a My Apps bar along the bottom of the screen where you can place shortcuts to menus, functions, and certain apps in any order.

The remote also has a scroll wheel that's a good idea executed poorly. It won't work on the settings menus, and scrolling during live TV while watching an external device caused an annoying message asking whether I wanted to change to the TV/antenna input. People who actually use the antenna might miss having numeric keys on the remote, but I didn't.

Previously I've complained that the motion remote suffered in comparison with a real universal clicker like those from Harmony, but the LM7600 makes it possible to control your other devices using an IR blaster built into the TV and controlled by the little wand. I didn't test this functionality for this review, however.

The LG LM7600 series' beauty isn't skin-deep [pictures]

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"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight Edge-lit with local dimming
Screen finish Glossy Remote Motion control
Smart TV Yes Internet connection Built-in Wi-Fi
3D technology Passive 3D glasses included 6 pairs
Refresh rate(s) 240Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes
DLNA-compliant Photo/Music/Video USB Photo/Music/Video

Features
The LM7600 comes packed chock-a-block with most of LG's high-end extras. The important one in my book is its LED+ local-dimming scheme, designed to improve black levels by selectively dimming parts of the edge-lit LED backlight. Unlike on the similarly equipped LM6700, this feature actually seems to lend some improvement.

The other difference between this LG and the step-down 6700 series is refresh rate, which is 120Hz on the 6700 and 240Hz on the 7600. According to LG, the LM6700 uses a 60Hz panel with a scanning backlight for what the company calls "Black Dimension Insertion" and claims is a 120Hz effect. The LM7600 has a 120Hz panel, which combined with a scanning backlight equals, per LG, 240Hz. The LM7600 also offers the option to engage smoothing (dejudder) processing.

Meanwhile the step-up LM8600 offers a dual-core processor and the option to use voice commands, as well as what LG says is improved video processing via its "resolution upscaler Plus." I doubt if any of those extras will be worth the difference in price to most buyers.

LG's passive 3D system means the company can afford to include more pairs of 3D glasses than its active-3D competitors, so the LM7600 comes with six, count 'em, six pairs. On the off chance that you need more, most cheap polarized 3D glasses should work.

Smart TV: LG revamped its Smart TV interface again this year, and while we prefer the simplicity of Panasonic's menus, LG's outdo the others in terms of customization and making favorite apps easy to access. I also appreciated that the motion remote worked with Netflix, YouTube, and Vudu (I didn't test other apps).

The company's content selection is solid aside from two missing staples: Amazon Instant for video and Pandora for audio. The major apps I'd characterize as worthwhile are mostly grouped in the Premium section (don't worry, they're free) and include new entrant Rhapsody. The 3D World section has a few demos, clips, and full programs.

The app store, separate from the main Premium section, is now called LG Smart World for some reason, and as usual it holds mostly junk, with a few useful additions like NBA Game Time/Game Center and XOS College Sports. Unfortunately, downloading even free apps from the World requires you to create an ID and password. LG includes a Social Center with Twitter and Facebook feeds placed alongside the live TV image. There's also a search function that checks apps, DLNA sources, and YouTube, but the only Premium service it hits is Vudu (not Netflix or any others).

I consider LG's browser the best TV-based version so far that doesn't involve a keyboard. The combination of motion remote and scroll wheel worked like a charm, and even bulky Web pages like CNET loaded quickly enough to not be completely annoying. It was still slow, though; and using an onscreen keyboard was incredibly annoying despite motion control. As usual, any decent phone, tablet, or PC will provide a better browsing experience.

Picture settings: LG offers its usual scads of picture adjustments, with 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. While the color management system worked OK, it wasn't as accurate as last year's. Full control of picture options is available for streaming-video sources.

Connectivity: The jack pack is standard, with four HDMI and three USB ports. You'll have to choose between a single component or composite video source, available via included breakout cables, and VGA-style PC input (no breakout required) also makes the cut.

Picture quality
It's not every day that we encounter a television that has better picture quality than the more expensive version, but the LM7600 produced better image quality than the flagship LM9600 we reviewed earlier this year. Unfortunately we don't have the 9600 on hand anymore for a direct comparison, but judging from our comparisons with other TVs we do still have, and our measurements, the LM7600 is definitely superior.

This TV's relatively deep black levels are its main strength (twice as dark as the LM9600's). Its main weakness is imperfect screen uniformity, including some of the most noticeable hot spots I can remember seeing. I was also hampered by imperfect picture controls, so color accuracy suffered. Overall the LM7600 is not quite the match of the Vizio M550KD or especially the Sony HX850, but it keeps up with the Sharp LC-LE640U and outperforms most of the other LED TVs we've tested this year, earning 7 out of 10 in this category.

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

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Comparison models (details)
Vizio M3D550KD 55-inch edge-lit LED
Sony KDL-46EX640 46-inch edge-lit LED
Samsung UN60ES6500 60-inch edge-lit LED
Samsung UN55ES8000 46-inch full-array LED
Sharp LC-60LE640U 60-inch edge-lit LED
Panasonic TC-P55ST50 55-inch plasma

Black level: The LM7600 fared well in this category for an LED-based LCD. Watching the very dark scenes from the "creation" sequence of "Tree of Life" (chapter 4), it outdid the depth of black produced by the Sony KDL-EX640 and the Samsung ES6500 in every scene, and fell short of the inky depth created by the Panasonic TC-P55ST50. Compared against the other sets, the variable black levels of the LG's local dimming, while not as aggressive as those used by Vizio, still fluctuated enough to change how it compared from scene to scene.

The Vizio usually looked darker than the LG, although in some mixed scenes in "Tree of Life" like the side-on view of the galaxy at 22:11 and the cloud at 22:26 the LG had the advantage. The LG outperformed the black levels of the Samsung UNES8000 in most scenes, but occasionally (the nebula at 21:04) the ES8000 looked a bit darker. The Sharp and the LG were closest of all, with the nod going to the Sharp more often than not.

With its less-aggressive dimming the LG didn't show the kinds of blooming and flashes we saw from the Vizio, for example in the flickering proto-sun at 21:30 and the lava at 24:24. Blooming was negligible-to-nonexistent on the LM7600.

Details in shadows, such as the face of Mrs. O'Brien kissing young Jack in bed (48:23), were rendered well enough, and while they did appear a bit more obscured than on the Samsungs, they weren't too dark as I saw on the Sharp. The LG and Vizio were similar in this area and again the Panasonic looked best.

Color accuracy: The myriad picture controls didn't work well enough for me to achieve an ideal calibration on the LM7600, so its resulting accuracy, while good, couldn't match that of most of the other sets in the lineup. I noticed a slight bluish, pale cast in some areas, like the face of Mrs. O'Brien in Jack's room (55:48), but more obvious was the greenish/reddish tinge to brighter areas and whites. There was also a slight lack of punch in greens, for example the grass under the swing in the front yard (54:32), and an impression of worse saturation overall. Colors on the other sets, in particular the Vizio, the Samsung ES8000, and the Panasonic plasma had a richer, more pleasing look in my side-by-side comparison.

That said, the LM7600 was still solid overall, and its color flaws are subtle. It also showed one advantage over the other LEDs: the cast of black and near-black areas was more neutral than the others, coming closer to the excellent Panasonic's picture in that way than any of them.

Video processing: Fed a 1080p/24 source with the Real Cinema mode engaged and TruMotion set to Off, the LM7600 behaved properly, preserving the cadence of the pan over the Intrepid in "I Am Legend," for example. Videophiles who prize proper cadence might be disappointed to learn that Off, with its poor motion resolution score, is the only acceptable 1080p/24 mode.

The LM7600's TruMotion setting, which controls dejudder, does introduce that distasteful (to me) smoothing effect in every mode -- namely Smooth, Clear, and Clear Plus -- except for Off and User. Two settings in latter, De-Judder and De-Blur, can be adjusted anywhere from 1-to 10. At 0 and 10, respectively, there was no visible smoothing effect and near-maximum motion resolution (about 1,100 lines of the TV's 1,200 max, if you're counting). Unfortunately, the judder was of the halting, stuttery variety, reminiscent of 2:3 pull-down, regardless of whether I engaged Real Cinema or not. That's why I left this setting Off for film-based movies. Note that Samsung can achieve maximum motion resolution and correct cadence.

LG's smoothing, if you don't hate the effect, generally introduced more-obvious artifacts than similar modes in Samsung and Sony sets, for what it's worth.

Uniformity: One of my pet peeves is watching a dark scene (or a letterboxed movie) on an LED or LCD TV and having a large, noticeable blob of brighter area interrupt it. The LM7600 sample I reviewed was plagued by such a "flashlight" in its upper-left corner, which was joined by other bright spots along the top edge. All of the other edge-lit LEDs, except the Vizio, also suffered from this kind of uniformity issue, but it looked worst on the LG.

From off-angle the LM7600 wasn't too bad, which was a surprise for me considering past LGs' poor performance in this area (maybe the more effective dimming helps). It maintained its black levels a bit better than the Sony and Samsung sets as well as the Vizio, although not as well as the Sharp. Color fidelity from off-angle was also good, right up there with the Vizio and better than the rest.

Bright lighting: The screen finish of the LM7600 is similar to that of the Vizio M3D0KD: it appears glossy at first glance, but reflections still have the chief characteristic of a matte screen, that is, fuzzy edges instead of the sharp, mirrorlike look of most glossy displays. It didn't dim or disperse reflections as well as the true matte sets in the lineup -- the Sharp and the Sony -- but it did a better job of handling them than either of the Samsung ES8000 or the Panasonic, and pretty much tied the less-mirrorlike ES6500. It also preserved black levels relatively well (not as well as the ES8000 however), making it one of the better screens for bright rooms we've tested.

3D: The LM7600's 3D was the best I've seen this year from an LG passive model, but that may have more to do with its size than any other factor. The others we reviewed were 55-inch models, whereas the LM7600 I tested was a 47-inch, and the artifacts associated with passive 3D are more obvious at larger screen sizes.

When watching "Hugo," my favorite 3D reference material, I saw the same jagged edges and moving lines as on the 55-inch Vizio placed next to this LG, although I'd say they were slightly less obvious on the smaller LG in comparison (my seating distance was about 7 feet from both). Line structure in the most noticeable areas -- the edge of Hugo's face (13:33) and that of Isabel's (17:06) -- was visible but difficult to discern. More noticeable were the rare instances of moving lines, typically when the camera moved over a scene that contained a horizontal edge at a shallow angle, like the bowler hat of Uncle Claude (22:41) and the edge of a low wall outside the station (22:05). I found these artifacts less distracting than I remember from previous LG reviews.

As usual with passive 3D, the LM7600's 3D strength was lack of crosstalk. Those ghostly double images, my least favorite artifact of 3D, were less obvious than on any of the active 3D sets in my comparison, including the Samsung UNES8000. Hugo's hand as it reached for the mouse (5:01) and the tuning pegs on the guitar (7:49) provided the best examples early in the movie; the LM7600's 3D image was clean and crosstalk was basically invisible, whereas the active sets all showed some level of ghosting. I did see faint crosstalk on the LG in the most challenging of scenes, like the word "Films" in the GK Films logo before the movie starts, and Hugo's face at 13:16 and 21:32, but again it wasn't distracting or nearly as bad as on the active sets.

In other areas the LG's 3D image was a mixed bag. Its black levels appeared about equal to those of the Vizio and better than the UNES8000's. That's no small feat since active sets have a large advantage in apparent black level because you're basically wearing sunglasses. The UNES8000 and the Vizio were markedly brighter, however, which made their 3D images overall punchier and higher-contrast -- 3D on the LM7600 was dimmer than on the other LEDs. As usual the plasma was dim still in comparison, but its black-level advantage meant that 3D contrast and "pop" was a wash between it and the 7600.

Color on the LM7600 was poor in 3D however, with reddish skin tones and an off cast to many areas in comparison with the other sets, especially the Vizio and UNES8000. Note that all of these sets can be calibrated for 3D (an effort I don't make in my TV reviews) so color and perhaps other characteristics can be improved.

Among all of the 3D glasses I've tried I liked the LG's best overall. They fit my face well, even over my prescription lenses, and most importantly were exceedingly light, especially compared with active-3D models. Yeah, they seem flimsy, but that's much less of an issue when they can be inexpensively replaced.

Geek Box: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0135 Average
Avg. gamma 2.2009 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.316/0.3361 Good
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3142/0.3279 Good
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.316/0.3353 Poor
Before avg. color temp. 6038 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6436 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 1.0388 Good
Green lum. error (de94_L) 4.5508 Poor
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 0.2741 Good
Cyan hue x/y 0.2256/0.3285 Good
Magenta hue x/y 0.3198/0.1538 Good
Yellow hue x/y 0.4164/0.5102 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 1200 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 400 Poor

LG 47LM7600 CNET review calibration results

Read more about how we test TVs.

lg-55lm7600-55-class-54-6-viewable-lm7600-series-3d-led-tv-smart-tv-1080p-fullhd-edge-lit-local-dimming.jpg
7.1

LG LM7600

Score Breakdown

Design 10Features 8Performance 7Value 6
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