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LG 55LM6700 LED/LCD HDTV Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
3 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
3.5 Stars

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LG_55LM6700_3D_LED_HDTV_review_front.jpgIn addition to my usual arsenal of DVD/BD demo scenes, I watched the 2D version of Hugo on Blu-ray; and, although the black level wasn't quite as deep as the best panels I've tested, the 55LM6700 did a nice job rendering the film's complexities. I felt that the 55LM6700's default gamma setting of 2.2 was too dark for my tastes, obscuring some of the finest black details and flattening out the brighter portions of dark scenes. LG only provides three gamma choices (1.9, 2.2, 2.4), and the lighter 1.9 setting produced better results, both in black detail and brightness. Because LED Plus isn't overly aggressive, the glowing effect wasn't a big concern, even at the High LED setting. I occasionally saw a hint of glow around white text against a black background, but it was not a significant issue. Screen uniformity was average; with an all-black screen, I noticed a few spots that were brighter than the rest, but they weren't blatant enough to interfere with the viewing of real-world content (although the higher you push the backlight, the more obvious they will become). When I moved to daytime viewing of HDTV sources, I set the backlight a lot higher, up around 85 percent. At this level, the TV was amply bright to deliver a vibrant image with HDTV and sports content in a medium to dark room.

The 55LM6700 offers natural, pleasing color. The Warm color temperature is perhaps a tad cooler than reference, and the image has a slightly reddish hue--more so with darker signals. That said, there don't appear to be any excessive deviations in color temperature, and skin tones looked generally neutral. The color points also look close to accurate, with the exception that red has a bit too much orange in it. If you find these traits objectionable, the advanced white balance and color management tools can help to dial in a more accurate picture, or you can have an ISF-certified technician calibrate it for you.

The 55LM6700 performs admirably in the upconversion department, rendering a nice amount of detail with 480i sources (even without Super Resolution engaged) and passing most of my 480i/1080i deinterlacing/processing tests. It stumbled a bit with the two real-world demo scenes from the Bourne Identity DVD (the dock arrival in chapter two and the blinds in chapter four), producing some moiré; but, for the most part, jaggies and other artifacts were kept to a minimum. The 55LM6700 serves up a clean image, with very little digital noise and smooth transitions from light to ark (especially compared with the Panasonic ST50 plasma I just reviewed). I did not see any unwanted color shifting in the mid-grays of my demo scenes from Ladder 49 and Flags of Our Fathers. The 55LM6700's viewing angle holds up fairly well for an LCD; the picture does lose brightness when you move off-axis, but image saturation (even with darker sources) holds up better than many LCDs I've tested.

Finally, I switched over to 3D content and donned a pair of the lightweight, comfortable 3D glasses (did I mention that six pairs are included!). Because this is a passive 3D display, the 3D picture doesn't lose as much brightness as an active-shutter system, and flicker was not a concern. Both with DirecTV 3D and Blu-ray 3D, the image was very bright--notably brighter than that of the active Panasonic 3D plasma I had in-house. Color was natural albeit a bit muted, and image depth was good after I tweaked the Depth Adjustment to suit my taste (3D adjustments are tricky because the GUI stays on top of the screen). When sitting directly in front of the TV, I didn't see any crosstalk, even in chapter 13 of Monsters vs. Aliens where I almost always see some. When I moved about 45 degrees off-axis, ghosting did become more apparent, although still not excessive. Regarding detail, the debate continues as to whether or not the passive approach is full HD, since your eyes stitch together the two 540-line images to create 1080. All I can tell you is what I've observed in my direct comparisons between active and passive models: The better active 3DTVs produce a crisper, sharper picture, especially with DirecTV 3D content. I can see the horizontal line structure created by the passive polarization process, especially in large patches of solid color (like the white snow of Ice Age 3), and diagonals simply aren't as clean and smooth. On the flip side, the passive 3D experience is more relaxed and comfortable, which is important when you're talking about watching a two-hour-plus movie.

Low Points
I had the opportunity to compare the 55LM6700 with two other new 55-inch panels: the more expensive Samsung UN55ES8000 LED/LCD and the less expensive Panasonic TC-P55ST50 plasma. The LG wasn't as successful as either of those models in producing deep blacks and bright objects simultaneously within the same scene. In other words, its contrast wasn't as good, so the image looked a bit flatter. Even when the LG was set at a high backlight level to produce a bright image, the small elements within a scene were usually dimmer on this TV than on the other two models, and HD images weren't quite as crisp and detailed. Not surprisingly, the plasma had better screen uniformity and viewing angles than both LCDs.

As I said above, the 55LM6700 was amply bright for a medium to dark room, but this TV doesn't have the extremely high light output I've seen from other LCDs. Also, the screen is quite reflective and doesn't do a great job of rejecting ambient light to improve contrast in a bright room. When I placed the TV beside a window in my family room, the incoming sunlight washed out the picture, and room reflections were very obvious and distracting, even with brighter HDTV content. As a result, this LCD isn't the best fit for a really bright room, and you should be mindful of where you place it in relation to light sources.

The lack of TruMotion adjustments was a surprise, given my experience with previous LG models that included high, low, and off modes and sometimes a User mode in which you could independently adjust the judder and blur functions. According to LG, the 55LM6700 uses only black-frame insertion to go from 60Hz to 120Hz. It lacks the ability to interpolate frames, which is why you can't engage any type of de-judder technology--this isn't a huge loss for me since I'm not a fan of the smoothing effect. However, some people really like it. The bigger concern for me is that, despite the use of black-frame insertion, the 55LM6700 still did a poor job with all of the motion-blur tests on the FPD Benchmark Software BD. So, if you're sensitive to motion blur, then this is not the TV for you.

LG_55LM6700_3D_LED_HDTV_review_angled.jpgFinally, I'm not fond of the Magic Remote. Even the slightest movement of the remote makes the pointer appear on the screen, and I often had trouble landing the pointer on its mark, even when I slowed down the speed in the setup menu. I'm left-handed, and the motion control was less precise in my left hand than my right. I also found the onscreen menus to be a bit laborious to navigate. For both of these reasons, I preferred using LG's new 2012 iPhone control app, "LG Magic." The app provides a virtual keyboard for quicker text input, and it provides more direct access to the various tools, be they apps, audio/video setup options, the Web browser, etc. With the iPhone app, I was still able to use the onscreen pointer; however, instead of motion control, I could control it using the iPhone's touchpad, which was more precise and efficient.

Competition and Comparison
You can compare the LG 55LM6700 to its competition by reading our reviews of the Panasonic TC-P55ST50, the Toshiba 47TL515U, and the Sony KDL-46EX720. Check out the write-ups on all of our 3D HDTVs here.

Conclusion
For a mid-level model in LG's TV line, the 55LM6700 offers solid performance and an excellent assortment of features. Its picture quality doesn't have that extra level of richness, detail, and depth that characterize the best displays, but this is a good fit for someone who's looking for an all-purpose display for everyday TV, movie, and game content, in the 2D and 3D realms. With a street price around $1,700, the 55LM6700 represents a good value in the LED/LCD camp for this screen size and features package; a similarly equipped plasma can cost less, but then you have to factor in the cost of all those active-shutter 3D glasses...if you plan to use the 3D function, that is.

Additional Resources
• Read more 3D HDTV reviews by HometTheaterReview.com's staff.
• See similar products in our LED HDTV Review section.
• Explore AV Receivers and Blu-ray Players to pair with the LG 55LM6700.

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