LG Infinia 8500-Series THX/ISF-Certified LCD HDTV (TPV 91)

Raising the bar for LCD-based flat panel HDTVs

Remote Control

There are two of them—a main remote that’s very well designed, and an “easy” remote that’s half the size. The main remote is backlit (points for that) and the backlighting is soft amber (triple points, as that’s the best backlighting color choice). The much-used buttons are easy to find, with clear button nomenclature. The only downside is a toggling input button, but that’s par for the course these days.

The other remote is intended for daily ease-of-use, but it will only be of interest to a very few, as there’s no way to program channel change functions for use with a cable or satellite box, as the channel up/down and flashback functions only work with the set’s built-in tuner.

           

RECOMMENDED SETTINGS

This time around, we’ll give you two sets of settings choices:

Easy/Lazy—THX Bright Room. Of the out-of-the-box picture setting choices, this one provides the best all around set of picture adjustment defaults. However, and I have a huge problem with this, certain critical picture adjustments, including brightness, contrast, and color saturation are locked out, and the factory/THX values, especially with respect to the critical brightness level, aren’t what I would call reference level. That THX, in their own profession calibration training sessions, admonishes class attendees that the first two picture settings that must be adjusted first are brightness and contrast, is contradictive to the THX video certification as implemented in the LG.

For the mildly adventurous—Try THX Bright Room setting first, get used to it for a day or two, then call up LG’s Picture Wizard, which is perhaps the best in-TV picture adjustment system I’ve yet seen. The Picture Wizard comes complete with proper test patterns to adjust brightness, contrast, color, tint, and sharpness (among others), and once adjusted (it only takes a minute or two), the settings are saved as ISF Expert 1.

Do the same test again, but this time with a brighter backlight setting for daytime viewing in a brightly lit room, and the settings will be saved to ISF Expert 2.

Bingo—now you’ve got evening/cinema and daytime settings that come respectably close in the most important aspects to the results obtained with pro-grade HD monitors.

  • Color: 53
  • Tint: 0
  • Sharpness H: 50
  • Sharpness V: 50
  • Picture Mode: ISF Expert 1 or 2 (depending on backlight settings)
  • Backlight: 40 (measured 47 foot-Lamberts, which is entirely fine for a moderately lit room)
  • Color Temp: Warm
  • Gamma: 2.2 (measures a virtually perfect 2.22)
  • HD size (1:1 pixel-to-pixel): Just Scan
  • Dynamic Contrast: Off
  • NR: Off
  • DNR: Off
  • Black Level: Low
  • Real Cinema: On (5:5, 2:2, 3:2 pulldown processing)
  • Color Gamut: BT709 (the HDTV standard)
  • Edge Enhancement: Off
  • TruMotion: User, with Blur and Judder set to taste

Note that there are many other adjustments in the Expert Control advanced settings menu, but those are best left to a professional calibration expert with the appropriate test and measurement equipment and expertise.

 

PERFORMANCE

Blu-ray Evaluation: 2012

Detail

Wow—with the Just Scan setting (1:1 pixel-for-pixel), the opening menu titles are so sharp and crisp that they look like they’re etched on the screen.

Color

With the default THX modes, and after adjustment with the Picture Wizard, the colors with this movie (and with the numerous movie clips in Sony’s Blu-ray promotional montage before the movie begins) are just a tad on the over-rich side. Crank the color control down a few notches, and everything snaps into place. Colors are suitably rich, but not overly so, and a measurement with a professional color analyzer confirms that the LG’s color gamut (with the BT709 setting) is spot-on with the primary red, green and blue points, and very close to the ideal for the secondaries (cyan, magenta, yellow)—an excellent score.

Blacks

Here’s where LED backlighting and local dimming go hand in hand to provide the blackest blacks you’ll ever see from an LCD flat panel HDTV. LG falls into the same specsmanship trap as other HDTV makers, quoting a ridiculous 9,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Once again, with the Sony promo movie collage, there are numerous jet-black scene portions and scene cuts, where the LG displays the blackest blacks I’ve ever seen from an LCD set.

Comments

rkohler0@cox.net -- Thu, 07/08/2010 - 13:54

I note that Sony, Vizio, and significantly Samsung have all dropped the local dimming feature from their high end sets. The Samsung 8500 (2009 model) was pretty much the highest rated LCD-LED set last year and I was looking forward to the evolution of this technology this year.

Anyone have any idea as to why this feature was dropped by these very significant players? Is there an issue with local dimming and 3D? Reliability problems?

Thanks.

mikejarrett@hot... -- Mon, 07/12/2010 - 14:50

i've been buying sony tv's for a looong time. years ago, they made one model that had a primitive form of 'local dimming'. it didn't work then, probably can't make it work now. vizio and samsung can't.

sony went through at least a decade where their products, including tv's, had lots of quality problems. they're probably still antsy about that.

i'm back on board with sony now with LCD tv's.

speidi1

rkohler0@cox.net -- Wed, 07/14/2010 - 17:18

You missed my point. The Samsung 8500 was _the_ best rated TV out there last year with local dimming. I've seen it and the Sony and Vizio products and they all worked well. Is the issue something tecnical - something to do with the 3D roll out, or what? Local dimming works, but there is some reason it got dropped by these 3 big manufacturers.

IMO Sony products are more expensive than their competitors for no reason other than the name.

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