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LG 55LE5500 Review - 55" LCD LED TV

Model: LG 55LE5500
Description: 55" LCD TV with 240Hz Processing
Resolution: 1980 X 1080
Includes: Swivel table top stand
Reviewers: Jack Burden
Date: Summer 2010

LG 55LE5500 Review
This shot from the standard definition DVD of Braveheart shows the LE5500's back light and contrast capabilities

The LE5500 has LG's new LED backlight with local dimming option. There is a control to enable on/off functionality of this option. The unit has the Clear Voice II feature for voice/dialog enhancement and LG's full Internet options. While we were not a fan of the TruMotion 240Hz feature in most circumstances, it will certainly standout for sports programming. The LE5500 does not have the thick single sheet of glass overlay extending from edge to edge that the higher end LED offerings have.

Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 12 feet

Calibration: Follow the following picture settings to calibrate the LE5500 to very near perfect D6500K. For standard definition programming we recommend using the same settings except bump Contrast to 95 and Sharpness to 40.

Post Calibration Settings: Gamut / Color Management System
Energy Saving OFF
Picture Mode ISF Expert 1
Backlight 38
Contrast 85
Brightness 58
H Sharpness 49
V Sharpness 48
Color 56
Tint G7
Black Level LOW
Color Gamut STANDARD
Color Temp WARM
GAMMA 2.2
Method 10 Point IRE
Pattern OUTER
See full LG 55LE5500 Picture Settings and Calibration Results

See our HQV testing results for notes on judder, moire' patterns, and artifacts.

LG 55LE5500 Review
This shot from the Blu Ray of Wyatt Earp shows excellent contrast and good flesh tones

HD Picture Quality: First and foremost with the LE5500 is adjust the TruMotion 240Hz feature or turn it off. We recommend the User setting with Judder reduction at 0 and Motion Blur Reduction at 9. 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. Although the picture did not display as much depth as the LE8500, we enjoyed the realism of the images on screen.

LG 55LE5500 Review
Another standard definition shot from Braveheart shows good detail and depth

Standard Definition Picture Quality: First off, we recommend turning off the TruMotion 240Hz feature completely with standard definition signals. This will of course result in judder and lag 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 LE5500 will product with standard definition signals. Black levels are not the highest we've tested but are very strong, even beating some recent plasma TVs. The color rendition was realistic and vibrant. We measured the viewing angle without contrast degradation at around 40 degrees off center – a good result.

Local Dimming LED Backlighting: 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. Since the LED back lighting is edge lit, we side with leaving this feature off since it could add uneven back lighting information and thus affect the picture negatively.

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 LE5500. This is an improvement over last year's model.

TruMotion 240Hz: Unfortunately there is no discrete remote control button for turning this feature off, however it is much quicker to access through the menu than last year's LG TVs. 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 for HD content except for sports.

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: The LG 55LE5500 is not the fanciest or priciest looking TV we've seen come off the line lately but it's attractive nonetheless. The bezel framing is thin at 1.6 inches. The depth is an incredibly sleek 1.2 inches. And the TV weighs 63 pounds without the stand. The 20 degree swiveling stand is solid and heavy to support the TV.

Remote Control/Menu Functionality: The remote is well laid out and easy to use. The menu has large understandable graphics that make the LE5500 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: 15W X 15W speakers drive the sound from the invisible speaker system. 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.

At $2400 these value oriented LED TVs (LG 55LE5500) have really come down in price to some attractive levels. This is an attractive TV with some nice features such as LED back lighting and LG's full suite of Internet options. Competition is prevalent in this price range such as the Samsung UN55C6500 LED TV, or the Sharp LC-52LE820U.

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.

LG 55LE5500 Specifications

 



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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