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LG 47LH55 Review

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LG 47LH55 Review

Model: LG 47LH55
Description: 42" LCD TV with 120Hz Processing
Resolution: 1980 X 1080
Includes: Swivel table top stand
Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Date: Summer 2009

Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 12 feet

Calibration: The 47LH55 calibrated excellently to D6500 due to expansive and easy to access white balance controls. To dial the TV in perfectly follow the following settings:

Picture Settings:
Picture Mode: Expert 1
White Balance: Warm
Brightness: 65
Contrast: 85
Color: 48
Tint: G1
Sharpness: H:52 V:52
Backlight: 50
Other Settings:
Dynamic Contrast: Off
NR: Off
Gamma: High
Black Level: Low
Real Cinema: On
For complete picture setting including White Balance settings please see the 47LH55 Calibration page

HQV Benchmark: Processor testing with the LH55 showed excellent results.

Up conversion from 480i and 480p: One of the foremost lessons to learn with this TV is to turn the 120Hz/240Hz TruMotion processing off when watching any film based content. Leaving it on even on low will present you with unwelcome added effects in motion scenes in particular. Strange "canned" background set visual information will appear and disappear depending on whether there is motion. With that out of the way, to the picture quality with up conversion from 480i. The TV did a remarkable job with this process and displayed a beautiful picture with natural colors, good black levels and lots of detail. I was especially impressed by one scene in Risky Business showing plenty of dark shadow detail and definition throughout the dark scene. Some of the tougher color information in this movie also looked spot on on the new LG.

LG 47LH55 Review
This picture shows an example of why I loved this TV. The shot of Chevy Chase in The Three Amigos looks like it was taken from an HD signal, but it is actually from a 480i signal source through composite video input.

720p/1080i/1080p Picture Quality: A couple of differences we noticed right away with the 47LH55 was the improved anti glare screen which doesn't have such a detrimental effect on the black levels or viewing angle of the screen. Black levels remained acceptable and even somewhat saturated with HD material and the viewing angle problem is gone. There was excellent dark shadow detail when viewing the new Blu Ray release of Rocky.

LG 47LH55 Review
Check out the excellent color and and black levels in this scene from the new Blu Ray release of Rocky.

Black Level: Black Level/Contrast: Though certainly not the richest and deepest we've experienced, black levels on the 47LH55 are adequate and the excellent dark shadow gray scaling helps to make up for any deficiency in this area. LG lists a dynamic (read dubiously tested) contrast ratio of 80,000:1. Our post calibration ANSI contrast measured modest but respectable 167:1. This TV has great balance and during viewing we did not sense a lack of deep blacks or of bright whites during sunlit scenes.

LG 47LH55 Review
Check out the excellent contrast created by the LG with this 480i signal source image from The Three Amigoes.

Dark Shadow Detail: With the new LH55 series, LG has managed to provide a TV with an anti glare matte finish and still provide plenty of dark shadow detail. I was happy with shadow detail in scenes from all our input sources. The hazy appearance of some past screens was not present.

LG 47LH55 Review
The 47LH55 did an excellent job with dark shadow detail in this scene from Rocky.

Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: Rocky looks amazing on the LCD. Not too over saturated but just right. Where there is gray in a scene the TV is satisfied with letting the scene be gray. Colors that are meant to be subdued are displayed that way.

LG 47LH55 Review
A scene from Rocky displays excellent color reproduction.

Viewing Angle/Off Axis Viewing: Much, much improved in this area, we measured viewing angle to about 110 degrees without significant contrast degradation.

Motion Lag: There is still some jerkiness present but it's slight compared to past models. With the TruMotion feature turned on there is very little motion lag so this is ideal to use for sports programming and games.

False Contouring/ Mapping: With film based content there is lots of false contouring present when the TruMotion feature is on. So turn it off and there is little to complain of then.

Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: There are several aspect ratio adjustments in the menu system. There is no discrete button for these on the remote control, which is a shame. It's such a convenient feature to include. 16:9, Just Scan, 4:3, Zoom, Cinema Zoom 1 through 16. The Cinema Zoom feature did a nice job of scaling and includes algorithmic sizing. The viewer can "zoom out" the top and bottom black bars on 16:9 content if desired (while losing some of the sides). There was some stretching evident with 2:35 DVD programming.

LG 47LH55 Review
Find the correct video aspect sizing or you will end up with a stretched image such as this one from The Three Amigos.

Inputs: 4 HDMI inputs and USB 2.0 access, 2 component, and a 15 pin D-sub computer input rounds out an ample offering.

Aesthetic Considerations: LG has improved the looks of their TV offerings considerably with the LH55 series. The bezel is gloss black with a clear glass edge around the perimeter to give the impression of depth. The frame is not too wide and the screen has a matte finish. The TV comes with a lightweight semi circle gloss black stand that conveniently swivels side to side. When the TV is turned on there is a small red light that flashes then turns blue in the bottom right section of the frame, which can help locate the power switch in a dark room. The bezel is 3.4" deep providing a good depth for wall mount applications.

LG 47LH55 Review

Remote Control/Menu Functionality: The remote is simple and well designed, easy to use. The menu has graphics that make it enjoyable and easy to navigate. I do wish the the remote control had a discrete button option for tuning the TruMotion feature. This would make turning this feature off and on much easier. As well I like to see a discrete aspect ratio button on the remote for changing aspect ratios during DVD programming. The menu provides extremely friendly calibration white balance settings, so as a result we (and now you) can dial the set in perfectly for optimum viewing.

Audio Output: 10W X 10W speakers drive the sound from the invisible speaker system. This new audio system eliminates traditional speaker drivers and contains speaker actuators around the perimeter of the entire bezel. We found the sound a little tinny and hollow. Special effects were more dynamic and voluminous than voice. Overall there was some improvement in sound from prior models but still more room for improvement here.

Features: The LH55 is not LED backlit and thus uses less power and is Energy Star 3.0 rates. As mentioned above, the TruMotion (120hz/240hz) feature is a key element of this TV. The feature performs well for sure, but should be turned off for film based and TV content. It will provide many unwelcome picture oddities with film based content. Sports programming and gaming are awesomely enhanced by the TruMotion feature. There is a keen Picture Wizard feature which gives some basic calibration tools to allow users to adjust the 5 basic settings depending upon ambient room light. It's an interesting and somewhat useful feature that we have not encountered before.

It looks like this TV may be purchased from an assortment of online retailers for around $1700. This TV is hitting a major sweet spot in price/value offering with its many excellent features and picture quality. It's my favorite TV at the moment for an LCD in this price range. The Samsung UN46B7000 sells for $2300 by comparison.

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Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). A rating in the 60s for any particular category of a product review indicates a serious defect which causes the product not to operate properly. Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.

Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1 High Definition DVD player, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore AutoCal Pro ACP6500, Sencore signal generator.

This review format and all of the headings, sub headings and paragraph titles are part of a copyrighted process. Any unauthorized reproduction or use, either in full or in part, of this product review format is expressly prohibited.

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