LG 55LV5500 Review
Model: LG 55LV5500
Description: 55" LED Edge Lit LCD TV with 120Hz Processing 1080p resolution
Includes: Swivel table top stand, Wifi Dongle, Breakout cables for 2nd Component and Composite inputs, 2 Remote Controls including the LG Magic Wand
Reviewers: Robert Wiley
Date: Summer 2011
This shot from the Blu Ray of The Transporter shows good detail and flesh tone rendition despite the slight glare from the screen.
Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 13 feet
Picture Quality Rating (HD): 8/10
As reported in past models, first turn off the TruMotion 120Hz feature when viewing film based material (or follow our recommendation below). It's easy enough to find and turn off. Just go to the picture menu and scroll down to the bottom of the menu. For HD broadcast programming especially sports you might choose to leave it on as it does eliminate some judder and motion blur. The HD picture on the LV5500 LED-LCD is very good with deep blacks, decent dark shadow detail, and excellent color production. We found it difficult to take out the blue push in the TV and ended up with a shove in the reds and greens instead, but we found a solution we liked and very near D6500K. The picture is a little soft around the edges and we left the Sharpness settings higher than normal to compensate for this. The screen is not a clear coat screen like some of the top models and it reflects ambient room light pretty severely especially from side angles. The picture also lacks the depth of TVs with clear coat screens. Side viewing angles are probably the best we've seen in an LED backlit LCD TV this year or in the past. If there is no room light reflection to detract from it, the side viewing contrast and black levels remain very good all the way to 35 degrees off center axis.
Another good shot from The Transporter shows how the LV5500 excels in side angle viewing quality compared to other LED backlit LCD TVs
TruMotion Adjustment: 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.
Picture Quality Rating (SD): 7.5/10
Even more important than with the HD picture quality is adjusting or turning off the TruMotion feature for standard definition programs. Many streaming programs from Netflix and the like are in standard def, so this resolution is still an important test in today's TVs. The picture presentation with our calibrated picture settings seems to stifle clarity and color. In a first ever recommendation, we advocate using the Standard picture settings in the LV5500 series (with TruMotion off) with standard definition programming. Once that is accomplished the SD picture quality is acceptable, though a bit soft and with a blue push.
A standard definition shot from the DVD of Alive shows a bit less contrast but still a good picture from 480 resolution.
False Contouring/ Mapping: There was some slight mapping and grouping of color information in scenes and during our HD background testing.
Features Rating: 8/10
Picture Mode Options: We recommend our ISF calibrated picture settings on the next page especially for HD programming. However, the LV5500 several preset picture mode options worth noting - Intelligent Sensor, Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Game, and Expert 1&2 ISF.
The LG 55LV5500 carries Wifi Connectivity and includes the Wifi Dongle (pictured) which plugs into one of the USB inputs.
A colorful lively shot from this years NBA finals accessed through the Internet suite options on the LV5500.
Internet Options: LG NetCast Internet Connected Internet Feature Options: There are a few Internet options that appear to have been dropped from last years offering including Yahoo! Widgets and Skype. But other options have been expanded from the premium services Netflix, Youtube, VUDU, AP, Google Maps, Cinema Now, NBA, Facebook, and Twitter. There are currently 49 Apps in the LG Internet Apps store – not nearly as many as some competitors but the list is growing. A few we noticed include Yoga trainer, Horoscope, H&M Fashion, Color Blind, and a Paint App. It appears LG is concertedly playing catchup in this area and doing a reasonably good job at it. We are happy to report that the TruMotion feature and Picture Menu options can be accessed on the LV5500 with Internet options.
The Internet TV lineup (Netcast SmartTV) for LG's LV5500.
The LV5500 includes the 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.0854: A colorful shot from a You Tube video with the keyboard overlay from the LV5500
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. I'm a fan of the Set By Program setting as many DVD watchers will find this feature especially useful (aspect ratios on DVDs can be confusing). With the Set by Program setting, the TV automatically adjusts to the proper setting.
Inputs: 4 HDMI inputs and USB 2.0 access, 2 component, 2 Composite, Ethernet, and a 15 pin D-sub computer input rounds out an ample offering. There are included breakout cables for one set of component and composite inputs.
Included breakout cable connections for Composite and Component Video
Aesthetic Considerations: In the appearance category, the LV5500 holds it's own and has an expensive enough looking finish of black gloss with sloped clear acrylic edges on the sides of the 1.5" wide framing bezel. Most impressively the depth of the TV is a razor sharp one inch. While this TV will not win awards from us for best looking of the year, it's a nice enough design at this price point. The included table top stand swivels up to 20 degrees and is well constructed.
Remote Control/Menu Functionality: First off, we love the new LG Magic Wand remote control. I'm always skeptical when these new inventions hit the shelves but this remote really delivers and I find myself preferring it to the normal remote control. It's cool, accurate, and fun to use. The styling is slim and minimalistic. It makes browsing the Internet tons faster than a conventional "arrows and enter button" control system. It's main function will be helping navigate the various Internet Suite options available on the LV5500. Thumbs up to this remote.
The LV5500 comes with two remotes – one being the excellent and fun Magic Wand Remote Controller
The "normal" remote control that comes with the LV5500 series is black gloss and has a very nice design with a slight bubble slope to allow for one handed use of many functions. It is well laid out and easy to use. The menu has large understandable graphics that make the LV5500 enjoyable and easy to navigate. There are special keys on the remote control for Internet Widgets, and Premium Internet Services. The Q. menu key helps with quick toggling for major controls such as picture modes. There is also a new Energy Saving button on the remote in the event you would like the TV to go to an auto dimming mode. It would be nice to include a discrete button option for tuning the TruMotion feature, for which we find it necessary to turn off and on often. The menu provides extremely friendly calibration 10 point white balance settings, so as a result we (and now you) can dial the set in perfectly for optimum viewing. One other notable and unusual feature with regard to the menu is an option that allows the TV to copy your 10 point white balance settings to all the other inputs. Though normal picture settings are still discrete and will need to be changed for each, being able to transfer the 10 point settings to each input saves tons of time (30 adjustments for each input).
Audio Output: The LV5500 series LCD uses 10W X 10W speakers and LG's audio system from 2010 which eliminates traditional speaker drivers and contains speaker actuators around the perimeter of the entire bezel. Though the technical terminology sounds impressive we wish it translated into better practical performance as the sound quality is dim and shallow and sometimes lacks volume especially with film based programming. The Clear Voice feature usually helps and we recommend turning it on.see Value Rating and Overall Score on Page 2