PLAYBACK 23: LG 55LH90 LCD HDTV with LED Backlighting

THX Certified & Feature Packed

Detail

An early scene has Jennifer Garner’s character driving her car across a bridge on a sunny day, and the LG puts out a bright, vivid and crisp picture, no doubt aided by the LED dynamic backlighting.

Color

This movie’s color palette is all over the map, vivid in some scenes, muted and pale in others. The LG does a pretty good job of delivering realistic flesh tones in the more naturally lit scenes.

Blacks

As you would expect from a local dimming LED backlit LCD set, the LG delivers great deep blacks. The Blu-ray release is in the movie’s original “scope” widescreen aspect ratio, and the letterbox black bars are just that – totally black.

Shadow Detail

Here’s where LCD often comes up short, but in numerous nighttime scenes shot inside a car, the darkly lit interior is easily discernable.

Artifacts/Noise

The LG looks pretty good on-axis, but once you move off-axis (either vertically or horizontally), there’s noticeable contrast fade and washout on scenes with middle and low average picture level (a scene’s overall brightness). Darkly lit scenes exhibit significant contrast fade when viewed off-axis, exacerbated by the local dimming function, which produces an equally objectionable halo effect.

 

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Detail

On brightly lit scenes, the LG does a good job of delivering white details (LCD sets often “clip” bright whites, which causes a loss of detail). One of the show’s test subjects wears a frilly white blouse, and is shown in front of a bright white wall that features a textured paint effect, and the LG delineates both very well.

Color

Selecting the THX picture mode tones down the LG’s overly vivid default color depiction, which renders unnatural, almost cartoonish flesh tones. With the THX mode, skin tones are much more realistic and natural-looking.

Blacks

That same test subject wears a jet black dress over her white blouse, which the LG presents as suitably deep black.

Shadow Detail

A close-up shot of an aroma therapist’s collection of bottles of various scents housed in a cabinet has the top shelf mostly in the shadows, and the bottles on the back of the top shelf are easily discerned.

Artifacts/Noise

Once again, the off-axis image is noticeably washed out during moderately lit scenes, compared to front-and-center viewing.

 

BOTTOM LINE:

From a feature standpoint, LG’s 55LH90 is pretty much packed, and the local dimming LED backlighting most certainly aids in delivering deep, rich inky blacks. About all that’s missing is LAN connectivity and the ability to connect to one of the streaming video services, but some LG Blu-ray players now offer that functionality (via Roxio’s CinemaNow, Netflix and YouTube). The combination of both THX Video and ISF certification along with LG’s Picture Wizard tuning function assures an overall great picture.

But, the set does suffer from some off-axis contrast fade along with noticeable halo effects associated with the local dimming function with moderate and dimly lit scenes. Choose this set if you are able to sit front-and-center (horizontally as well as vertically) or, if it is to be wall mounted, choose a mount that offers both horizontal and vertical tilt capabilities to get the set properly oriented toward the principal viewing area.

 

SPECS & PRICING

LG 55LH90 LCD HDTV

Comments

Anonymous II (not verified) -- Thu, 08/27/2009 - 16:26

Jennifer Connelly played the character of Helen Benson in "The Day the Earth Stood Still" 2008, not Jennifer Garner.

Rob K (not verified) -- Thu, 10/08/2009 - 12:43

The new Samsung UN55B8500 (local dimming, top of the line) is set at $4500.  It doesn't seem realistic that the LG, which appears to have similar specifications would be $1200 less.  Are you sure the pricing you list isn't for the 46" set?

Simplified (not verified) -- Mon, 10/12/2009 - 13:05

The TV on thew manufacturers site is 2999.99, at best buy it's 1999.99.  The pricing here is correct, and Samsung have always been known to overprice.  Also, the Samsung I believe is 7,000,000:1 contrast, and the LG is only 2,000,000:1.  But since Samsung has been leading the LCD TV market, they've been increasing their pricing.

acai (not verified) -- Fri, 10/23/2009 - 00:07

We replaced a 740P 70" JVC ILA with the LG 55LH90. All I can say is WOW!. Simple to setup, simple to use, outstanding picture. OK, the sound could be better. I don't want to run the surround system for everyday TV programs. Have had lip-sync issues with HDMI hookup to Dish 612 HD box on LA FOX channel 11 HD. Called Dish and it was fine the next day. I think the problem was in their feed.

acai (not verified) -- Fri, 10/23/2009 - 00:08

We replaced a 740P 70" JVC ILA with the LG 55LH90. All I can say is WOW!. Simple to setup, simple to use, outstanding picture. OK, the sound could be better. I don't want to run the surround system for everyday TV programs. Have had lip-sync issues with HDMI hookup to Dish 612 HD box on LA FOX channel 11 HD. Called Dish and it was fine the next day. I think the problem was in their feed.

JohnnyJ (not verified) -- Sat, 10/31/2009 - 06:37

I just bought this tv at BestBuy for $1,999.00. It's an outstanding tv and I love it except for the sound quality. Does anyone have any suggestions for improving the sound quality?

Danesull (not verified) -- Wed, 11/04/2009 - 10:42

I have had my 46" LH90 for about 4 months now and am totally thrilled with all aspects of the unit. My initial plan was to purchase a Panasonic plasma tv, but after seeing the LG in action, the decision favoring the LG became a no-brainer. I purchased the tv at Best Buy for $1,999.00 (US), and since I planned on hooking up my Harmon Kardon 7.1 receiver and an LG Blue Ray DVD player, opted to spend the extra money to have the Geek Squad do the installation for me, which in fact turned out to be a very wise move. The television sits on a chest in my family room, wher 2 of the 4 walls are solid windows. Due to the filter on the screen, the outdoor light coming into the room has virtually no effect on picture quality...no reflections and no wash-out. At the time I purchased the tv, the only LED alternative was a Samsung, and they did not offer the screen filter feature, plus, they were much pricier. For those of you who are dissatisfied  with the quality of the television speaker quality, probably the only solution is to hook up an external home-theatre system. I have noted some lip-sync issues, on a few but not all of the channels I watch, but have noted a comment on another posting here that it may well be a DISH issue, so they are going to hear from me today.  For me the bottom line is that I feel I have made a fortunate purchase. The LG is everything I hoped it would be, and I personally feel that the picture quality is superior to plasma units within the same price range.

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