With the Dynamic Contrast off, darker scenes don’t fade into a gooey mess of blacks that are devoid of shadow detail. The Dynamic Contrast function on today’s sets isn’t there to provide a better picture, just a better (or more accurately, a more bogus) contrast ratio. There were only the faintest traces of local dimming-induced haloing, and that’s only because I was looking for them. The LG does a very good job of balancing very good blacks, but not at the expense of shadow detail.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: Watchmen (HBO via Dish Network)
I thoroughly enjoyed this on Blu-ray when it was first released, and it is no less enjoyable in 1080i on HBO. The TruMotion (240 Hz screen refresh function) provides a User setting with two adjustment choices—one for judder reduction (for film-originated content) and another for blur reduction (to reduce smear with fast motion video). By providing two adjustments, the user can decide if they want their movies smoother (more video-like) or more film-like (but with judder artifacts noticeable during slow pans), and have a different result with video-originated content.
Once the color is turned down, the film’s suitably darker color palette comes through just fine—this is not a movie that needs or wants a color palette more suited to, say, Sex And The City.
The decision to have local dimming function turned on or off is best left up to the viewer with darkly lit movies like this one. I preferred to have it off, as when it was on the picture was, with many scenes, just too damn dark. That could be another memory setting choice with the ISF expert picture modes, maybe have the local dimming on with one setting, and off for the other.
Same caveat as above—if the blacks are too dark overall, then shadow detail goes right out the window (as does The Comedian in the movie’s frantic opening fight scene).
Combining 240 Hz screen refresh along with LED local dimming backlighting, this LG set (which is also available in a 55” version) is pretty much packed with all the latest bells and whistles, save for 3D, which they offer in step-up models in their 9500 series. With both THX and ISF certification, the set will appeal to those that want a one-size-fits-all picture mode (THX) and those who want to be able to fine-tune the set to the nth degree (the ISF adjustments are as complete as you’ll find on any display out there, and are intended for use by a professional calibration expert).
While the claimed 9,000,000:1 contrast ratio must not be taken seriously (really, it’s somewhere between amusing and hilarious how they drum up these wacko specs these days), the LG excels at putting out a superb picture with an accurate color palette as well as providing the best blacks yet seen from an LCD-based flat panel (this has traditionally been the bailiwick of plasma sets). While pricey in today’s terms, it’s still a fraction of what smaller-sized LCD HDTV flat panels cost just a few years ago, and outperforms them in every way.
LG 47LE8500 LED/LCD HDTV
Screen size: 47” diagonal
Pixel resolution: 1920 x 1080
1:1 Mode: Yes
Video inputs: 4 HDMI, 3 component, 2 composite, 1 RGB PC
Other connections: 4 stereo audio inputs, 1 PC audio input, 1 headphone output, 1 optical digital audio output, 1 ATSC/NTSC/ClearQAM RF input, 2 USB ports, 1 Ex-Link control port, 1 LAN port, 1 wireless control for optional LG wireless connection/control center, 1 RS-232C serial port (for service only)
Dimensions (W x H x D): 44.2” x 27.8” x 1.4” (w/o stand)
Weight: 59.4 lb.
Warranty: 1 year parts & labor