LG 47LM760T £1449.99
6th Jun 2012 | 09:00
Improved passive 3D system helps this Edge LED TV grab the all-rounder crown
Stuffed with the third incarnation of LG's XD Engine, this souped-up 47-inch TV uses an Edge LED backlit screen that's not only Full HD and 3D compatible (using LG's own passive Cinema 3D system), but claims a 'borderless' design that it very nearly lives up to.
With the TV switched off it's almost impossible to see any kind of frame aside from the metallic rim around the outside. However, when you turn on the LG 47LM760T a bezel of 11mm appears, although it's behind glass.
The millimetre count isn't much more for the LG 47LM760T's depth, where it measures just 33.4mm. Almost as stunning is its minimalist tabletop stand - a metallic-looking (though actually plastic), almost ski-like swivelling array.
If less is more on that score, it's not the case for 3D glasses, which is where the Cinema 3D format makes its major play. We've become used to LG supplying plenty of cheap cinema-style passive 3D glasses with its 3D TVs, but there's no doubt that the inclusion of a stunning seven pairs here will make this television appeal to families keen to get a TV that's future-proof.
It's actually not quite as simple as that; four standard pairs of 3D glasses are found in the box in the AG-F315 Party Pack, along with a special AG-F320 clip-on pair for regular spectacle wearers and a couple of pairs of AG-F310DP Dual Play games glasses.
The 3D games glasses make use of the polarised 3D panel not for further dimensional trickery, but for dividing the pixels into two separate images that can be decoded for each glasses wearer: cue two-player gaming heaven.
There's also a slight gamey feel to the LG 47LM760T's remote control, which LG calls its Magic Remote. It's similar to the Nintendo Wii's nunchuk, using an on-screen cursor system to select channels and navigate the menus.
That's unlikely to be a major selling point - not yet anyway - but what is bound to have wide appeal is LG's new Smart TV platform. Powered by Wi-Fi connectivity, the LG 47LM760T's Smart TV system proudly boasts links to BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Lovefilm and Acetrax, with various other useful apps such as ITN news, Twitter and daredevil sports channel RedBull TV.
In terms of picture processing, that Triple XD Engine has built-in 800Hz processing and Super Resolution for upscaling, which ought to be handy for making both DVDs and dodgy YouTube videos shine on such a big screen.
Best Freeview HD TV
The LG 47LM760T is priced at £1,449.99 in the UK and $1,949.99 in the US, and is also available as the 42-inch 42LM760T and 55-inch 55LM760T. Where it shows its colours as a mid-range, rather than flagship, TV is initially hard to pinpoint. It's in its power; equipped only with a single core processor, all screens in LG's LM760T Series play third fiddle to both the LG LM860V and LM960V Series of Edge LED-lit LCD TVs.
All sporting LG's Cinema 3D system - of course - the 47-inch LG 47LM960V employs Direct (or Full) LED backlighting in the guise of the brand's much-trumpeted Nano LED tech. Built around a dual-core processor, also available is the 55-inch LG 55LM960V and 84-inch 3840 x 2160-pixel 'ultra definition' 84LM960V.
Just one step above this LG 47LM760T is LG's LM860V Series, which arrives as the 42-inch 42LM860V, 47-inch 47LM860V and 55-inch 55LM860V. The only difference we can find is the use of more advanced upscaling, which carries a premium of around £300 (about $460).
Smart TV is what the LG 47LM760T is all about, although whether it will change our tendency to largely ignore web-enabled features (less than 10% of smart TV owners in Europe connect to the web at least once a week) is debatable.
LG divides its apps into two categories, with its Premium page containing top-line apps such as BBC iPlayer, which is joined by the Lovefilm and Acetrax movie download services, along with Red Bull TV, ITN, Autocar, YouTube, Blinkbox, CineTrailer, Twitter, Cartoon Network, HiT, Picasa, Facebook, iConcerts, AccuWeather and Box Office 365.
Best TV 2012
Absolute Radio has just been added, and we're also promised Netflix, although on our sample it was missing - and alarmingly BBC iPlayer showed us a "Coming soon" message when launched. LG's SmartWorld app store is even patchier, with OK! Magazine and Euronews the highlights... yep, it's that bad.
SmartShare is more impressive, promising to seamlessly link disparate sources to the LG 47LM760T including laptops, netbooks, PCs and Macs on a home network, as well as smartphones and USB flash drives and HDDs. Either of the latter can be used to pause live TV and make recordings from the LG 47LM760T's integrated Freeview HD tuner.
We've already mentioned that the LG 47LM760T comes with a boatload of 3D glasses, although it's worth mentioning that they are 20% lighter in weight than last year, and very comfortable to wear.
The provision of clip-on specs for spectacle wearers is a great idea, although in practice it's a sales trick; the standard 3D glasses can be easily slipped on over the top of most glasses.
We will revisit the Dual Play specs that make use of the normally 3D-centric Film Patterned Retarder tech for full-screen gaming from split screen games, but it's worth mentioning here that for some users it will be so much more attractive a feature than watching 3D movies.
Other hardware is just as impressive. The pleasingly down-facing slots on the LG 47LM760T comprise jacks for hooking up component video and composite video sources via adaptors, a Scart, a D-sub 15-pin VGA port for a PC and wired Ethernet LAN alongside audio jacks for a PC, optical digital audio, and headphones.
Along the side-panel are four HDMI inputs (one of which has an Audio Return Channel), a Common Interface slot and three USB 2.0 slots, one reserved for attaching a HDD.
LG also sells a Skype camera to sit atop the LG 47LM760T - the AN-VC400 - which attaches to the TV via one of these USB slots.
The LG 47LM760T proves a fabulous all-rounder that's as adept with SD pictures as it is HD and 3D. Our first glimpse of 3D comes from a blast of 3D Grand Prix from LG's 3D World service, which features some image lag and visible horizontal lines, the latter the clear hallmark of passive 3D technology.
But while a spin of Piranha 3D displays plenty of jagged edges and some shimmer as actors walk across the camera, it also reveals a touch more detail to the action than on LG's TVs from last year.
We do miss high-definition detail during 3D movies on 3D TVs of this type, and it's worth pointing out that donning the specs does increase perceived black levels a bit while dirtying peak whites, but the depth effects are there for all to see and there's no crosstalk to speak of.
It's also a wonderfully comfortable experience, helped by the featherlight glasses. It's not perfect, but we're beginning to realise that passive 3D tech is probably the future, despite its picture foibles.
That impression is hugely helped by probably our favourite feature on the LG 47LM760T; Dual Play gaming. Using the two pairs of 3D glasses provided in the box - labelled Gamer A and Gamer B - we tried it out with old school title Burnout from an Xbox 360.
It is first necessary to set the 3D mode on the LG 47LM760T to Dual Play, which isn't difficult, though there's also a decision to be made about whether the split screen source is vertical or horizontal. In effect, you're accepting a drop in resolution and visible detail for the chance to play on an entire screen, but it's a gamble that pays off - especially on the screen of this size.
Yes, there are jagged edges, some ghosted images, and an absence of ultimate detail, but there's no worry about motion blur; the pros far outweigh the cons, at least for us.
Has LG come up with a compelling reason for the legions of people wary of buying a 3D TV to invest and upgrade? For casual, competitive gamers who still massively prefer playing against friends in the same room to lonely online gaming, Dual Play is hard to resist.
Finally on 3D-related features, we put the LG 47LM760T into 3D conversion mode while watching The Jeremy Kyle Show. It was initially impressive, with Jeremy visibly in front of the background, but during a crowd shot there only appears to be a 3D effect in the middle of the screen, and either side it's a tad confused.
Graphics also tend to suffer, too, with some lines of words brought forward, and some sent back; it's an algorithm that needs some work, or possibly abandoning.
Back in 2D, the LG 47LM760T - which uses an IPS LCD panel famed for its wide viewing angle - continues its good work with a Blu-ray disc of Grand Canyon Adventure.
Black levels aren't as deep as they could be, and we also noticed some motion blur; a flash flood through the canyon initially reveals a judder-free performance featuring exquisite detail and excellent, bold colour, although as people pass through the shot there is some visible stepping and a loss of resolution.
We tinkered with TruMotion - a system that balances both frame interpolation and the scanning backlight - on both 'Smooth' (both parameters set to 30% power) and 'Clear' (70%), and while neither introduced visible artefacts, we were treated to a slightly artificial-looking image - and weren't able to completely shift motion blur.
That said, it's a hugely enjoyable and excellent value Blu-ray performance, and happily one that extends to both Freeview HD channels and standard definition sources. On BBC One's The One Show we saw no jagged edges, but some mosquito noise around moving objects, while colour lacked gradation and finesse.
Turn to the same broadcast on BBC One HD and all those issues disappear. We'll blame the low bitrate broadcasts, since DVD and digital sources of video look absolutely brilliant; some clever and clean up scaling leaves our ageing DVD of Sophie's Choice looking surprisingly pristine and free of picture noise. We hadn't expected that.
Usability, sound and value
The LG 47LM760T is a hugely likeable television to live with, thanks to one of the best operating systems around. The main dashboard is excellent, with a live TV thumbnail presented alongside a grid of premium apps and some links to 3D clips via LG's 3D World app.
Flip sideways and grids appear that are dedicated to LG Smart World (various paid-for or free, but generally pointless, apps) and SmartShare, which cleverly presents thumbnails - complete with images - of digital media found on any connected device, be it a laptop, smartphone or USB flash drive.
Flick downwards to a clickable link to My Apps, and down again to reach app-like links to the input changer (itself a thing of wonder that puts all live inputs, including networked computers, within a full screen carousel), the user guide, digital media, the DVR functionality (if you've attached an HDD or USB sick), a web browser (usable if you rely on the Magic Remote, but otherwise not), and the Dual Play mode.
From higher up on that home page, apps load in an acceptably short time, with pages displaying the high-rise, nuanced graphics that we've come to love on LG TVs over the past few years. It's a well thought through platform that integrates with the TV as a whole rather nicely, although it can be a tad repetitive, with some apps really just basic TV features that crop up again and again on various pages.
SmartShare is LG's refreshed take on media file browsing and streaming, and in our test it worked well. We managed to play the likes of AVI, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPEG, WMV and WMV HD video files, JPEG photos and MP3, M4A and WMA music tracks from a USB flash drive without any problems.
From a netbook PC the list extended to AVC HD too, but from a connected Mac we couldn't see any thumbnail images for videos. As a piece of integrated tech, SmartShare is awesome - it's just so easy to use, and good looking.
Although it's reasonably nicely designed, the electronic program guide for Freeview HD programmes makes the same fatal slip-up as other manufacturers - notably Toshiba - by completely divorcing it from live TV. While almost all screens in the TV's internal menus system include a thumbnail of the current live TV channel with sound, starting up the EPG completely cuts out any 'distractions'.
It may be a tad over three centimetres in depth, but the LG 47LM760T sensibly includes underslung speakers that jut out of its rear. That proves crucial, since it enables the 10W stereo speakers to deliver enough depth and vigour to waylay having to invest in a separate sound system.
The TV makes a decent stab at versatility by providing seven different presets (including Music, Cinema, Sport and Game) and a different set up option if the screen is wall-mounted. But in terms of special features, the LG 47LM760T boasts Clear Voice II and Infinite Surround. The former impresses more than the latter, although on the whole the problem is a lack of bass - no surprises there.
Any TV with a price tag approaching £1,500/$1,950 must impress across the board, and the LG 47LM760T just about fulfils its brief in this regard. The loading of seven pairs of 3D glasses in the box helps to contribute to a feeling of good value, but for us it's the well thought out, dynamic and totally integrated user interface that makes this television a standout option.
Television makers are fond of telling us how 42-inch TVs are now just the entry level for flatscreen buyers, and how the bigger screens are fast becoming the norm, so by that thinking, the 47-inch LG 47LM760T is a mainstream set.
You could have fooled us; it's packed to the gunnels and highly priced, and proves an incredibly impressive all-rounder ripe for the age of both 3D and smart TV.
A fully integrated user interface that makes the smart TV and SmartShare streaming/connected device options part of normal TV operation is hugely welcome, as is an incredibly classy design.
We were also impressed by how cleanly presented DVDs were, how the LG 47LM760T handles 2D Blu-ray discs, and how an extra dollop of detail has been added to 3D - complete with loads of free 3D glasses. Best of all, Dual Play brings a great gaming dimension to 3D that's arguably more impressive that the depth effects.
The Freeview HD electronic programme guide is poor indeed, and nor are we convinced by LG's selection on its app store. Picture-wise our only major concern is a little motion blur, but it's not serious enough to get in the way of an enjoyable image. Although upscaling is good, not much is done to improve the low bitrate channels on Freeview. But then, 47-inch screens rarely excel at that.
Improved passive 3D, seven pairs of 3D specs and a tempting Dual Play feature that banishes split-screen gaming are the highlights on this versatile and incredibly user-friendly Edge LED telly that puts smart TV services and streaming at its core.
Among the other brands, the Sony KDL-46HX853 takes LCD picture quality to a whole new level in terms of contrast and motion handling, while the super-slim Samsung UE46ES8000 is an option for those after the pinnacle of Active Shutter 3D performance on an Edge LED TV.