For connection to an external audio system, the set features an optical digital output, but curiously, there’s no analog stereo output on the 3D plasma models.
On Screen Display
There are no changes to this LG’s on screen display vis-a-vis earlier LG models, which is a good thing, as it’s one of the best designed in the industry. The graphics and text are clear and legible, and there’s a Quick Menu that brings up oft-used adjustments.
There are actually two remotes, with the main remote, which is backlit, sporting large numerical keypad and cursor keypad buttons. There’s a dedicated 3D button to activate 3D or to switch into the 2D-to-3D upconversion mode. As with most remotes, you’ll have to toggle through a list of available inputs, but there’s also a dedicated Energy Saving button, which is a feature usually not directly accessible via the remote, but instead is often buried deep within the Setup menu.
The second remote will surely appeal to the “Wii” generation. It’s a wand-style affair, and functions similarly to a game console’s motion controller. For me, though (and I confess to not having a Wii), the main remote works just fine, and gets me where I need to be quicker. Still, the wand remote will surely appeal to some, if not many, folks.
This 3D LG set carries over the same quirk we’ve observed in a 2D THX-certified LG set we’ve recently tested, where in the THX picture mode certain picture adjustments, such as brightness and contrast, are grayed out in the menu. However, in the THX mode (including the new THX Bright Room mode), the default picture settings are pretty much where they should be. We suggest using the THX mode first as you initially used to the set. Then, once you’re comfortable with making adjustments, consider switching over to the Expert mode where a full suite of controls awaits.
Horizontal Sharpness: 50
Vertical Sharpness: 50
Picture Mode: THX (or THX Bright Room if applicable to your viewing environment)
Color Temp: Warm
HD size (pixel-to-pixel): Just Scan
Gamma: Medium (2.12 result)
Edge Enhancement: Off
Color Gamut: Standard
Black Level: Low
Film Mode: On
Dynamic Contrast: Off
3D Blu-ray Evaluation: Under The Sea (IMAX/Warner Bros.)
In a word, the LG renders the incredible detail of this IMAX documentary in spectacular fashion, with sharpness that isn’t at all softened by the 3D viewing experience. The LG active shutter 3D glasses performed superbly, with no visible ghosting or image smear.
You’ll want to have this 3D Blu-ray in your permanent collection to show off to friends and guests, as the color palette is just outright gorgeous.
Once again, here’s where plasma shines, and this latest LG (which features a glare-reduction panel coating) delivers sumptuous deep blacks.
With numerous shots at depths that require auxiliary lighting, the LG delivers excellent shadow detail with no evidence of black crush that often plagues LCD flat panel displays.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS)
Shot in 1080i HD, the show features crisp detail that the LG renders superbly. With 1080i test patterns, the LG performs excellent interlaced-to-progressive upconversion, smoothing out jaggies to a degree that rivals the performance of expensive outboard HD video processors.
As evidenced by the excellent measured color gamut (all six points are spot-on), the LG displays a first rate, natural-looking color balance. The default color saturation setting is barely a bit above where it should be, so turning it down a few notches (the 45 setting seems to be ideal) has the set putting out realistic flesh tones without the fake tan look.
Mr. Ferguson’s show setting is ideal for evaluating blacks, as his opening monologue has him way out in front of the stage, with the main set behind bathed in dimmed lights, and lots of black detail which the LG delivers in spades.