LG 47LE8500 Review - 47" LCD LED TV
Model: LG 47LE8500
Description: 47" LCD TV with 240Hz Processing
Resolution: 1980 X 1080
Includes: Swivel table top stand
Reviewers: Robert Wiley and Jack Burden
Date: Summer 2010
The LE8500 is loaded with extra features (some good, some not) and striking good looks. It is the next to highest end TV produced by LG for 2010 falling just below the LE9500 which has the simulated 480Hz rate that I cant imagine makes much difference. We enjoyed testing this high end offering and comment on Picture quality characteristics and almost all of the various features below. We finish with a value comparison rating with the 3 categories combining for the Overall rating.
Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 12 feet
Calibration: The 47LE8500 calibrated excellently to D6500 due to expansive and easy to access white balance controls. To dial the TV in perfectly follow the following settings:
|Post Calibration Settings: Gamut / Color Management System|
|See full LG 47LE8500 Picture Settings and Calibration Results|
A good crisp high def shot from the Blu Ray version of Blood Diamond showing excellent dark shadow detail
HD Picture Quality: First and foremost with the LE8500 is adjust the dominant, radioactive TruMotion 240Hz feature. I wish that we could report a big improvement over this feature from last year's models, but it's not to be. With the feature on either high or low setting you will notice soap opera type cardboard cutout figures as the TV's processing works to take out the natural background blur of scenes. The feature's settings are much easier to change this year (see below in features section for instructions). After much testing, we preferred the User setting with Judder Reduction completely off at 0, and Motion Blur at level 9 with the exception of sports programming for which the features actually adds quality. With that done we will report up front that judder is noticeable and persistent especially in scenes with side to side panning. But it's worth the tradoff as the judder reduction option is just too distracting even at level 1.
This is one of the only and major drawbacks to the picture (though a big one). Color rendition from HD signals is superb and black levels excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the real glass facing of this TV as it helps the picture presentation depth and realism. It does add some glare, but better to have glare and depth as far as we're concerned. Dark shadow detail was good and plenty of light came through during darker scenes.
From the same movie showing the excellent depth capabilities of the clear glass front screen on the 47LE8500
Up conversion from 480i: We recommend using a 95 contrast setting with a 40 Sharpness setting along with our other recommended picture settings to provide a good picture. This is important due to provide for enough brightness and improved black levels. Tuning the Sharpness control below 40 produced edges that were too soft. Once calibrated, we felt the picture was very colorful and with good contrast. The THX Cinema and Bright Room settings were dim with cloudy black levels. Adjusting the TruMotion feature is very important with standard definition. We recommend just turning it off completely with standard def signals as it added too much artificial information to the picture. This will of course result in judder being introduced in scenes with side to side panning, but it's a better result. We were impressed by the range of color and light that the LE8500 will product with standard definition signals.
This scene from Friday Night Lights standard definition DVD shows some good contrast and color
Black Level: Black Level/Contrast: Black levels are not the highest we've tested but are very strong, even beating some recent plasma TVs.
Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: The color information from an HD signal is just gorgeous, the rendition superb. There was plenty of light and good color also from standard def.
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: Just as with our HQV processor testing, there was notable judder and jerky motion in the picture in scenes with side to side panning with the TruMotion feature turned off. With the feature turned on the high or low setting, motion lag, judder and blur virtually disappeared, however with the added distraction of the soap opera-like appearance.
We noted Judder jerky effects when turning off the TruMotion 240Hz feature in action scenes such as this one from Friday Night Lights, but we still recommend this course to gain realism and non-distortion
False Contouring/ Mapping: There was some slight mapping and countouring present in a few scenes viewed and with our stadium seating moire' test patterns.
Local Dimming: This feature may oddly turned on or off. This feature is designed to improve the contrast in areas of the screen by adjusting the backlight. This is not true full local dimming. In our viewing we did not notice a discernible difference between the picture with local dimming and without.
Picture Mode Options: We recommend our ISF calibrated picture settings above. However, the LE8500 has lots of interesting and some useful picture mode options including: Intelligent Sensor, Vivid, Standard, THX Cinema, THX Bright Room, Sport, Game Expert 1&2 ISF. We found the THX Cinema and THX Bright Room too dark and muddy to watch most programming especially from standard definition. This was disappointing since we were hoping for a quick solution without having to calibrate each discrete input setting.
NetCast Internet Feature Options: Netflix, Youtube, VUDU, Napster, Skype, and Yahoo! Widgets. Certainly the Netflix and VUDU services are worthy. We also like the Youtube connectivity for up the minute news and sports. It takes less than a minute to get Netflix activated on the TV. We are happy to report that the TruMotion 240Hz feature and Picture Menu options can be accesse on the LE8500. This is an improvement over last year's model.
The Netcast Internet Selection
Youtube shot: Lindsay Lohan in court
TruMotion 240Hz: Unfortunately there is no discrete remote control button for turning this feature off, however it is much easier to access than last year's LG TVs. We do not notice a difference Follow these instructions:
- Press the Menu Key
- Then scroll to Picture and press Enter
- Scroll down to TruMotion and press Enter
- The unit may be adjusted from there to Low, High, or User. We prefer User mode with Judder Reduction at 0 and Blur Reduction at 9.
On to other features.
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 elsewhere.
Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: The new ratio button on the remote controls aspect ratio options which are: 16:9, Just Scan, 4:3, Zoom, Cinema Zoom and Set By Program. The Just Scan option 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).
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: Lately, TVs just keep getting better looking. This LG 47LE8500 is HOT! It has it all in the looks department with a 1 and half inch bezel framing and slim 1" depth. Cool looking lights scroll on across the bottom right when turning on the TV. A prismatic rotating box appears onscreen with the LG logo inside appearing and disappearing. The 20 degree swiveling stand is solid and heavy to support this heavy 59 pound LED/LCD TV. The weight is there due to the solid and attractive front overlay of real glass which extends all the way to the edge. The TV is gorgeous and super expensive looking – like something from a futuristic scifi thriller. Most LCD/LED TVs have a plexiglass overlay and plastic bezel. Not so with the LE8500.
Remote Control/Menu Functionality: The remote is ergonomic and beautiful with a slight bubble slope to allow for one handed use of some functions. It is well laid out and easy to use. The menu has large understandable graphics that make the LE8500 enjoyable and easy to navigate. We do wish the the remote control had a discrete button option for tuning the TruMotion feature, but at least it is easy to access through the menu now. 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. One new feature we also appreciated is that the menu and remembers where you were the last time you accessed it and takes you right to that spot. It makes toggling a picture mode or the TruMotion feature that much easier.
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, though voice/dialog quality and volume were improved by the Clear Voice feature. There is interestingly an level adjustment for the Clear Voice feature. Volume levels continue to seem inadequate and the sound experience can be muddy.
As much heavy, beautiful material goes into making the 47LE8500 I was a little surprised it is only $2100 at some authorized online dealers. It's loaded with features; some just bells and whistles and some very useful. It lacks only 3D compatibility when you think about it. Competition is from Samsung with the UN46C7000, Sharp's LC-46LE820UN and Sony with the KDL-46NX800.
Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). 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 Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator.
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