LG’s new Infinia 3D plasma sets are the first to be THX certified for both 2D and 3D content, and the first to incorporate THX’s new Bright Room picture mode.
A number of LG’s 2D displays have included THX video certification, but the latest Infinia 3D plasma sets are the first to feature THX certification for both 2D as well as 3D viewing modes. That’s important, as the picture settings that are optimum for 2D aren’t the best for 3D viewing.
They also include built-in infrared 3D eyeglass sync transmitters, and are supplied with a USB Wi-Fi adapter, features that are optional on some other 3D flat panel displays, although the matching LG active shutter eyeglasses are optional at extra cost (none are shipped with the set).
Consider this HDTV if: You’re looking for a top performer that provides an excellent picture with both 2D and 3D content, and intend to place the set in an environment that has a high ambient daytime light level (say near patio doors or large windows).
Look elsewhere if: You’re on a budget, as this Infinia set isn’t currently offered with any sort of 3D Blu-ray player/3D glasses/3D Blu-ray disc bundle promotion (as some competing 3DTV’s are). Thus, you’ll need to shell out an additional $700 or so for an LG 3D Blu-ray player and two pairs of their active shutter 3D eyewear.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced 3D plasma HDTVs):
Overall 2D picture quality: 10
Overall 3D picture quality: 10
User interface: 9
As with some other 3DTVs, the LG features the ability to decode multiple 3D formats, including 3D Blu-ray as well as broadcast formats, and it also includes a 2D-to-3D upconversion feature. In addition to being the first set to be THX certified for both 2D and 3D picture modes, the LG is the first to incorporate a new THX picture mode—called Bright Room mode. As the name suggests, this mode provides a boost in overall picture brightness for daytime viewing in situations where there’s a goodly amount of ambient light that can’t be tamed.
One might think that just boosting brightness and contrast would be all that’s needed to get an overall brighter picture, but THX correctly points out that doing so impacts numerous other picture parameters. The Bright Room mode provides a noticeable boost in picture brightness, but not at the expense of degraded picture quality.
Like most upper-end TVs, the LG is network-capable, and LG includes a wireless Wi-Fi USB adapter, which is usually an option on other network-capable TVs. There’s the usual range of widgets or apps, including YouTube, Picasa, Napster and a smattering of Yahoo functions such as a weather app, although that function is of severely limited value, as there are only five default locations—Sunnyvale and San Francisco in California, New York City, London, England and Paris, France. The inclusion of both Sunnyvale (Yahoo’s home city in Silicon Valley) as well as nearby San Francisco (which is only forty miles away) is just plain dumb. For movie and TV show streaming the LG provides subscription services from Netflix and Vudu.
The optional 3D glasses dispense with the usual non-rechargeable 3V disc battery usually found in 3D specs from other makers, and are rechargeable via USB connection to the set. They’re priced a bit more than the going rate for non-rechargeable 3D glasses ($180 SRP vs. a typical $150 SRP). For such a premium-priced set, LG should have included at least one pair with the TV in my opinion, but that’s marketing for you. On a more positive note, the requisite 3D infrared synchronizing emitter is built-in, so there’s some savings there (some 3D sets require an optional infrared 3D sync blaster add-on).
The trend these days is to trim back the number of analog video inputs in favor of multiple HDMI inputs, but here the LG has enough of both that buyers with numerous legacy video sources should be satisfied. There are four HDMI inputs (with one on the side input jack panel), and two component video inputs, along with two SD composite video inputs (one of those is also on the side panel). There are dual USB ports (also on the side panel), and an RGB PC input (with analog audio input) that can accept up to 1920 x 1080 resolution. An RJ-45 LAN port is provided for those without a Wi-Fi router in the home, or for buyers in an apartment block where there’s wireless congestion from multiple Wi-Fi routers nearby that might cause picture stuttering with streaming video services. A USB Wi-Fi adapter ships with the TV.