LG 47LM670T £1350
30th Mar 2012 | 09:14
Passive 3D, striking design and polished networking? Must be an LG Cinema Screen TV
The 47-inch 47LM670T is the first of LG's eagerly awaited new Cinema Screen connected TVs to land in the UK. Available also as the 42-inch 42LM670T and the 55-inch 55LM670T, it's the entry level set in arguably the brand's most attractive range yet.
Positioned above it are the similarly attired LM860V and LM960V models. While all share the same core feature set, significant differences apply to their picture processing and panel technology.
But just how much image quality are you sacrificing when you buy at the cheaper end of the spectrum, and will you really notice the difference when you're vegging out in front of The One Show? (The answer to these questions is: 'Quite a lot' and 'Probably not.')
The TV utilises a standard Freeview HD DVB tuner, and has a generic EPG. It's also fully 3D compatible, courtesy of the brand's Passive 3D technology. A 'party pack' of five multi-coloured polarising 3D goggles are included with the set - perfect for when the kids want to invite their chums around to watch a 3D 'toon on Blu-ray or Sky 3D.
While the set's slim at just 33.4mm, the rear jack pack doesn't skimp. It sports four side-facing HDMIs, one of which is ARC (Audio Return Channel) compliant, plus component and Scart via adaptors, a PC VGA input, no-fewer than three USBs, Ethernet, a digital optical audio out, plus a CI Slot if you're one of the few people left using top-up TV services. The screen has Wi-Fi built in.
The fact that all the inputs are accessible from the side of the jack pack, makes the screen perfectly suitable for wall mounting. It's compatible with the VESA standard, size 400 x 400.
The trio of USB ports allow for an external hard drive to be left attached for simple timeshifting. Of course, as there's only one TV tuner on board, this system has its limitations, but as a supplemental recording option it's more than welcome.
The second USB can be reserved for Skype. LG sells its own Skype-cam, the AN-VC400, to do the job.
While the TV lacks a card reader, the USB media player is well equipped and will read most popular file formats and containers. If there's album art to accompany your music collection, the TV will also render that. Images appear in a faux CD sleeve frame, which is rather nice. This compliance extends across a network, with the same files playing over a LAN from a variety of our test NAS boxes.
The choice in IPTV catch-up services and VoD is considerable. There's access to the BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Lovefilm, Blinkbox, Acetrax, Box Office 365, Dailymotion and more. At the time of writing there's no Netflix, although we are led to believe that negotiations are ongoing and that the service will be joining the LG portfolio soon enough.
One final feature of note is Dual Play. This takes advantage of the set's inherent 3D tech, and allows two separate 2D images to be viewed simultaneously via two pairs of appropriately polarised Dual Play spectacles (sold separately). It's designed to be used with two-player games. The set takes the split-screen image, be it divided horizontally or vertically, and creates two individual screens.
Unfortunately, you can't use Dual Play to view different inputs (although this would be the logical conclusion of the feature), not even a Freeview feed and HDMI. Still, gamers will doubtless have a lot of fun with this.
This 47-incher is the entry-level screen for LG's Cinema Screen range, a fact that becomes evident when you scrutinise its picture performance. With the brand's graduate picture processing reserved for LG's elite crew, what we have here is a mainstream 100/120Hz panel free of excessive tech-trimmings.
Contrast is good, but only because blacks have been crushed for better dynamics. It's impossible to extract shadow detail without washing blacks out into mid-gray.
And while static images sport 1080-line crispness, the set's motion resolution is poor. We recorded a drop to around 800 lines when test charts travel at 6.5ppf (pixels per frame). TVs which offer higher refresh rates and use advanced frame interpolation techniques can retain detail up to 1080 lines, resulting in a higher definition viewing experience. Consequently, we don't rate this particular screen for sports or gaming.
The 47LM670T is, however, fine for general TV and movies. The lack of aggressive picture processing means that there are no additional motion artefacts introduced by the interpolation process (it's always difficult to balance the two), and colours are vibrant.
There are seven visual presets (Intelligent sensor, Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Game, ISF Expert 1 & 2) and a Picture Wizard calibration mode. You also get eight aspect ratio options: 16:9, Just Scan, Original, Full Wide, 4:3, 14:9, Zoom and Cinema Zoom1. For Blu-ray and HD broadcast content we recommend using Just Scan.
The set employs LED edge-lighting coupled to a local dimming system, which LG dubs LED Plus. The result is much like any other edge-lit LED screen, with pools of light noticeable close to the bezel and a general un-uniformity across the panel. During most content this isn't noticeable, but The Dark Knight could be a bit of a giveaway.
The set's 3D performance delivers as expected. We've grown to rather like the Passive gizmology that LG has pioneered, principally because the 3D glasses are comfortable to wear (no flicker) and there's no punishing financial overhead. This has to be balanced with the impact it has on image quality, though.
On a screen this size, you can clearly see the drop in resolution as the visible line structure bites. Diagonals have jaggies and whites tend to turn a little grey. On the plus side, the screen's sense of depth is undeniable and overall brightness is high when compared to rival Active Shutter solutions.
Ease of use, sound, value
Not only has LG revamped the physical look of its 2012 TVs, it's also gone back to the drawing board when it comes to the user interface.
Out goes the curious 'fork in the road' graphic which denoted the brand's previous online Smart TV portal. Now connected sources are much more closely integrated with local functionality. Everything is neatly organised into horizontal scrolling boxes, some of which pop open when you navigate over them. It's a more mature look and easier to browse.
Those without a wired network connection to their viewing room will appreciate the fact the screen has integrated Wi-Fi. But there's more, the 47LM670T also supports Intel WiDi for direct connection between compatible devices. There's not too much WiDi hardware available at present, but it does mean that at some point you'll be able to wirelessly mate kit without using (and burdening) your main Wi-Fi network.
For solutions to any operational confusion, an onscreen user guide can be found on the dashboard. This saves having to remember where you 'filed' the paper version when you first unboxed the set.
The TV ships with two remote controls. The standard LG zapper is perfectly adequate and it's the handset most will turn to for everyday operation. Also included though is an update on the brand's Magic Remote (the AN-MR300), which now sports a thumb wheel to help you scroll up and down through menus. The main point of this is to direct an onscreen cursor, making it good for both causal games (available to download from LG's Smart portal) and scooting around the embedded web browser.
The set also supports CEC interoperability as standard, here called Simplink, ensuring some level of group control for HDMI connected devices.
Given the extreme thinness of this set it would be reasonably to assume that the onboard sound system is somewhat anaemic - but it actually works well. Driven by a 2x10w amp module, the set offers a variety of modes and options.
There are three basic options, depending on whether you have wall or stand-mounted the set, plus seven presets (Standard/Music/Cinema/Sport/Game/ Vivid/User) and LG's proprietary Infinite Sound mode. All of which conspire to deliver perfectly acceptable audio for casual use.
Natch, we recommend upgrading to a separate system or soundbar when possible though.
There are plenty of cut-price 3D TVs available at the moment, but this Cinema Screen model isn't one of them. Still for a launch price of £1,350, you get an enviably well-made Freeview HDTV with an aspiration design and a feature roster that's hard to beat. Whether you're after a smart set with copious catch-up TV or a sports and kid friendly 3D model, it fits the bill.
From a picture quality point of view though, it has obvious limitations. With compromised motion resolution and crushed blacks, it's not a set for enthusiasts. They'll need to look further up the Cinema Screen range to be sated.
In terms of design, the fashion-forward 47LM670 is a clear winner. Indeed, this line could be the best looking range the brand has delivered yet. The minimized bezel and stylish stand make quite the statement. And when it comes to features, there's not much missing either.
By revamping the user interface, LG has made it much easier to integrate catch-up TV and streaming services as part of the everyday viewing experience. We also appreciate the set's broad compatibility with multimedia files as well. Good news if you've a growing collection of MKVs.
That said we have reservations over the picture quality. If you need a higher level of performance, LG offers better equipped models higher up the range.
As a stereoscopic set, the 47LM670T offers the requisite levels of fun. With a growing shift away from active Shutter toward Passive, it seems LG got this part of its display strategy absolutely right. It's definitely the way to go if you have kids or want to watch 3D sport with some mates.
The 47LM670T's minimal bezel, floating ribbon stand TV design. The easy to use new dashboard interface and the wide range of IPTV on tap and the oh-so comfortable Passive 3D.
Limited motion resolution, making this set a bit hopeless with fast moving sport and gaming. An uneven LED backlight leaves some pools of light around the screen edges and it suffers from an Unimpressive black level.
The 47LM670T is (literally) a great looking flatscreen. With no apparent bezel when it's turned off, and only a token one when it's on, the screen is a poser of the highest order. And with a glossy new user interface to match, beauty isn't just skin deep.
Visually, the set is all about shop-floor pizzazz and doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. Still, we don't hold that against it - it just makes us eager to explore further up the range.
The LG 47LM670 is pitched directly at Panasonic's similarly specified TX-L47ET50, which lists for £1,673 on Panasonic's e-shop, but should be available elsewhere for considerably less. It's 3D compatible but uses Active Shutter glasses, and has a well-stocked smart TV portal that offers many of the same catch-up and streaming services.
Buyers should also consider Toshiba's 46YL863. This telly is no slouch either, combing a high-quality picture with a smart Jacob Jensen cabinet design and the brand's high-performance CEVO Engine processor.