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Once your television is set up, the first thing you'll notice is that it's relatively easy to look at as far as TVs go. It doesn't have any obviously ugly features to the front, but it is very standard-looking. It should fit right in with an entertainment center or on a wall.

Front Tour Image
Back Tour Image
Sides Tour Image

Your main means of communicating with the TV, the remote of the LG allows any user to easily navigate the somewhat spartan menus of the television. Though it's a bit long and somewhat awkward to hold, it fits in the hand nicely, and most of the commonly-used buttons are within reach of your thumb when held. It's not as advanced as some of the remotes found with the higher-end LGs, but it does the job admirably.

Remote Control Photo

Along with the screen, the comes packaged with a stand, manual, a remote, batteries, and assorted documentation.

When we look at a television set's black level, we typically see anything under 0.1cd/m2 as good, and anything over as a little on the disappointing side depending upon how high it goes. The definitely did not impress here, as we recorded a deepest black level of 0.28cd/m2. More on how we test black level.

Black Level Chart

When you view your set in a well-lit room, 200cd/m2 is about the minimum necessary brightness required to view your content comfortably. The manages to produce a brilliant screen, with a peak brightness measuring in at 408.2cd/m2. You'll never need to crank it up that high, but it's always a plus knowing that you could theoretically watch your content even with a low-power spotlight pointed at it. More on how we test peak brightness.

Peak Brightness Chart

Despite the 's high black level, the peak brightness does carry the contrast ratio a little bit, giving the set a ratio of 1460:1. It's not the best we've ever seen, but it certainly doesn't come close to how bad some of the bottom-feeders can get. The gets fair marks here. A wide contrast ratio is very important for picture quality, as the wider the contrast ratio is, the more values along the greyscale, and consequently better picture detail. More on how we test contrast.

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Contrast Chart

The had no trouble maintaining a consistent black level in areas of the screen surrounded by white, no matter how much of the screen they occupy. More on how we test tunnel contrast.

Tunnel Contrast Chart

Similarly, the had no trouble maintaining a consistent brightness in white areas of the screen no matter how much black area surrounds it. More on how we test white falloff.

White Falloff Chart

Uniformity on a white screen was excellent, with the brightness being dispersed evenly over the display. There may have been slight dimming at its edges, but this was only noticeable upon a close, prolonged inspection. On a black screen, however, performance was not nearly as good. There was distinct, purplish or bluish flashlighting in its corners, depending on the viewing angle. Additionally, the screen looked somewhat gridded, rather than smooth, over different viewing angles. More on how we test white falloff.

When we test greyscale gamma, we look at two aspects of our charts before scoring a TV’s performance: the smoothness and slope of the line. The smoothness of the line tells us whether or not there were certain values of signal intensity that the TV simply couldn’t produce, or if they were produced incorrectly. Ideally, the slope of the line should lie somewhere between 2.1 and 2.2, but depending on a TV’s performance, this may vary. If it does, that means it doesn’t quite produce the ideal values along the greyscale, which can result in lost detail, especially in shadows.

The has a very smooth and even gamma curve, meaning that it does not display greyscale values incorrectly at any point, but where the lost points is the slope of the line itself. Measuring in at 2.61, the slope of the gamma curve response line is quite a bit steeper than ideal, but could be worse. More on how we test greyscale gamma.

Greyscale Gamma Chart

Throughout the entire range of signal intensity, not once did the 's color error stray into the realm of perceptibility to the human eye. Even if you're looking for it, you will not notice the color error present in the 's picture. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Temperature Chart

When looking at an RGB curve graph, any jumps or jagged lines will indicate a hiccup in performance for the TV in question. While those of the aren't perfect, they are very beautiful; despite a small peaking problem at the brightest end of signal intensity, the manages to display each color value correctly, with only minor error. This is a very good performance. More on how we test RGB curves.

RGB Curves Chart

Below are all the response curves for each comparison TV represented in a linear fashion. Take note of any color banding, as that indicates errors in the color values.

— until we turned on TruMotion. Then it looked great. This feature is comprised of two sliders: de-judder and de-blur. We found it very helpful in reducing both problems, although a slight, horizontal ripple remained visible in a moving photo, particularly at its edges. While this ripple was more apparent in the movement of sharp, hard lines, the image was quite crisp, overall. More on how we test motion performance.

, like modern HDTVs, displays in 60fps. Therefore, it must exert a 3:2 pulldown to play 24fps sources, including Blu-ray. The Real Cinema mode eliminated almost all of the flicker of high-frequency patterns and sharpened footage of panning stadium seats. More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.

was a little tricky due to the oversharpening effect being in direct conflict with pixel-by-pixel accuracy in Moiré (Moire) patterns. Ultimately, the results below are with settings optimized for Moiré (Moire) accuracy, at the expense of oversharpening in other situations. For more information on this, see our Calibration page: TK More on how we test resolution scaling.

480p

to overscan. If you encounter 480p sources, you will find that the "Just Scan" aspect ratio is greyed out, resulting in 4% of the screen being clipped off, both horizontally and vertically. Moiré (Moire) and high-frequency patterns were quite blurry, although otherwise-accurate. Fonts were slightly blurrier than they were in 720p mode.

720p

In 720p, Moiré (Moire) patterns were blurry and inaccurate, but not grossly so. The same was true for high-frequency patterns. A 10-point font was legible, but blurry looking. Smaller fonts could be read, but not without effort.

1080p

did an almost perfect job displaying Moiré (Moire) and high-frequency patterns. They were still a little bit blurry, although you couldn't tell without staring at incredibly fine patterning for a long period of time. Additionally, a couple of the Moiré (Moire) patterns had a false yellowish hue. Text was legible down to a very small font size, but letters were a little "wiggly" looking.

It's no secret that we feel like 3D TV technology still has a ways to go before it becomes a reliably worthwhile experience. There have been reports of the 3D effect causing problems ranging from headaches to nausea, and there are a host of other problems with the latest round of 3D TVs that directly stem from the novelty of the active shutter equipment.

LG decided to skirt this issue with some of their TVs by employing a system much like what you'd see at a movie theater: passive 3D. Instead of spending upwards of $70 for each pair of 3D glasses, included with the TV are free pairs that you can use, and if you want more, they are extremely cheap in comparison to active shutter 3D glasses. Because they work by using polarized lenses instead of an active shutter, they can be very light and easy to wear, but the downside is that you lose about half the resolution of your picture when wearing them.

Cost benefit aside, the 3D performance for this TV stands to improve, as the depth of the image just isn't there, and we were absolutely underwhelmed by the 3D experience overall. The loss of resolution is noticeable, and we're not fans. That being said, we are extremely critical of most 3D systems we've come across, and it's not necessarily a bad thing; it may not be a new technology, but it is a new addition to the television market, and it will take time to develop.

3D Menu Photo

Simple tiles, simple menu.

Because polarized lenses are essentially a different form of sunglasses, when you put them on to watch 3D content, you cut the brightness by an extreme margin. Because of this drop, contrast performance takes a huge hit, but it's not as bad as other TVs we've seen. While at first this result may look bad, keep in mind that the is an LCD TV, which is capable of producing a much brighter screen than plasma TVs. It could be worse.

3D Contrast Chart

One of the best 3D results we've seen here, the has no visible color temperature error throughout the entire range of signal intensity. It's not uncommon to see huge shifts here, but LG has managed to keep this one very accurate.

3D Color Temperature Chart

Yet another beautiful result here, as the RGB curves maintained smoothness despite the drop in contrast performance. This usually isn't the case for TVs displaying 3D content due to reduces contrast performance, but the impresses here. Very nice LG!

3D RGB Curves Chart

Despite inherent color value shifts that are possible when you put on polarized lenses, the manages to maintain its impressive color gamut accuracy, even if the white point is shifted towards cyan a little bit. Across the board the does well with 3D content.

3D Color Gamut Chart

Crosstalk is what happens when the image intended for one eye bleeds into the image that reaches the other, often causing ghosting or artifacts. Though the does well in other areas, it did have its fair share of issues with crosstalk. Still, when compared with other competing televisions, the data suggests that this is one of the better TVs on the market in dealing with this.

The 3D glasses of the are passive, meaning they use polarized lenses instead of any active-shutter technology. Because of this, they are extremely affordable to purchase, despite the tradeoff that they reduce screen resolution in half. If you think you might recognize these glasses from somewhere, you're probably right, as this is the system used by most theaters with 3D movies, hence the branding "Cinema 3D." Because they only require the lenses to operate, these glasses are very light and not very cumbersome to wear, even if they do make you look somewhat hipster-esque.

3D Glasses Photo

The has a native resolution of 1080p and can display all standard NTSC formats.

Because of the certain screen technology used by the , the angle at which you can comfortably view your screen without losing 50% of contrast is quite small. With a total viewing angle of 42 degrees (21 from center on either side), you may find that this TV set isn't great for large get-togethers, but this is fairly average for a TFT LCD display.

Viewing Angle Chart

Reflectance was a notable problem on the . We could make out each individual LED of our array in the surface of the screen, and a faint rainbow pattern shining out at diagonals. However, the real offender was the bright swath of light haloing the reflection. While it was both huge and glaring, it could be lessened in size and luminance by angling away the light source.

When watching a darker scene from a movie, the reflection was not too bothersome, provided the light was not shining directly on the TV's surface. However, if it's shining on objects in front of the TV, they might also be reflected onto the screen.

The also has a few advanced video processing features, some more helpful than others.

The is relatively straightforward and easy to calibrate outside of sharpness, but there are a few settings you may want to change before viewing. Before we test any of the TVs that enter our labs, we calibrate them to make sure we get results that are more indicative of their best performance possible.

Sharpness provided a real challenge for calibrating the . We ultimately decided to keep it at 42 to keep Moiré (Moire) patterns crisp, but this did lead to some oversharpening ghosting around the border between 2 flat colors. To reduce this effect, lower the sharpness settings to about 29, or 32 for a somewhat-sweet spot: this reduced pixel by pixel blur, but retained some evidence of oversharpening.

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DisplayMate_Logo.jpg

All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.

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The has several available video modes, each suited for a different viewing environment.

If you're someone who loves having a mix of older and newer external media sources, the is a great TV for you to consider, as it has a refreshingly good array of options for you on the back of the TV set. With multiple component and composite video inputs, owners of older video game consoles will not be left in the cold by this set. On the back of the TV is where most of these ports reside, along with 2 HDMI ports, cable/ANT in, along with several audio input and output options.

Connectivity Tour Image 1

On the side panel, you will find a USB port, another HDMI port for easy access, and a headphone jack, should you decide to ever use a pair.

Though the ports are very well labeled and logically placed, this television's design makes connecting anything other than one HDMI cable difficult if you decide to mount this thing on the wall. If you do elect to keep the stand, the placement of the ports are just fine, and the swiveling base allows easier access to said ports.

The had solidly mediocre audio results. Bass sounds were very weak, which is typical for a device without a subwoofer. Mid tones sounded a little raspy, and high frequency sounds were heard clipping. The Clear Voice II feature seemed to increase the volume and clarity of voices somewhat, but not to excellence. The Infinite Surround setting was similarly only moderately effective in boosting clarity and emulating a surround sound system. Unfortunately, these two features could not be enabled at the same time.

Beyond these settings, the also had basic adjustments for treble, bass, and balance, as well as a few preset configurations. There was also an Auto Volume limiter to prevent commercials from blowing out your eardrums, despite the fact that volume shifts like this are now regulated against in the United States.

Using the menus of the is very much like the higher-end LG televisions of this year, minus the home screen reserved for models that have extensive internet content. Each menu section is represented by an icon on the left of the main screen, with the list of menu options and items in the largest box. Advanced menus typically have menu interfaces that do not follow this nesting scheme. Overall, the menus are debatably attractive, but they do tend to get in the way by being somewhat large and opaque.

Menu Main Photo

Advanced menus typically have menu interfaces that do not follow this nesting scheme. Overall, the menus are debatably attractive, but they do tend to get in the way by being somewhat large and opaque.

Menu 2 Photo

It may not look like much, but everything you need is here.

If you are looking for a precise and informative manual, abandon all hope, ye who buy the . While in the past LG has been fairly informative with their manuals, this particular one was watered down to accommodate 55 different televisions, not just the other two in the series. As you can imagine, that does mean that it lacks quite a bit of information, floods you with items that don't apply to this TV, and generally covers setup information and only some of the most basic functions. This manual isn't worthless, but it's very close.

Instruction Manual Photo

Jack of 55 trades, master of none. Absolutely none.

Using the USB port of the side of the TV set, you can play back photo, music, or video files using the somewhat rudimentary interface included with the set. After you select your parent folder from the main screen, you can view files individually, or in a predetermined order using the directional keys on your remote. Beware, though, that many files that are claimed to be supported sometimes run into scaling or other compatibility issues, so read up on it in the manual provided.

Local Media Playback 1 Photo

As far as televisions typically consume power, LCD screens usually don't draw a lot of power to operate. Comparatively speaking, the has an average power draw for its type of screen, but compared to say, a plasma screen, it draws a very low amount of power to run annually. If you set the backlight to run at about 200cd/m2, you can expect to pay about $14.39 a year with typical usage.

Power Consumption Chart

Though at first glance it may seem like the $500 extra you'd pay to get the 47LW5600 is a bit steep for 5 extra inches on the screen, but there is so much more that comes with the 47LW5600. Namely, you get access to LG's expansive internet media platform, which is one of the best you can buy on the market currently. If you don't care too much about online content, or if you have another device that handles all this, you may elect to save yourself some money and spring for the .

Though neither TV is too great in terms of black and white performance, the edges out the more expensive 47LW5600 by a noticeable margin by having a higher peak brightness and deeper black level.

Contrast Chart

Here too, the beats the 47LW5600 across the board in terms of color performance.

Continuing its good performance , the handles motion well. On the other hand, the 47LW5600 does a mediocre job, by definition worse than the .

Neither TV set impresses here, but the 47LW5600 has a wider viewing angle by 4 degrees.

Here is where the gets left in the dust, as the larger 47LW5600 has LG's premium internet media platform. Though the is a good option for those who do not need their TV to have this sort of interface, the 47LW5600 has a litany of media streaming options if connected to the internet.

Both TV sets use LG's "Cinema 3D" system of displaying 3D content, which relies on polarized glasses to operate, much like what you'd find at a theater (hence the name). While the two sets are very similar in 3D experience, the brighter screen of the will afford you slightly better ability to see the screen in a darker room.

For $1200 extra (MSRP), the Sony offers a decent amount of streaming internet media, and much-improved performance in most areas. If you're more of a casual viewer that cinephile, this may not be an issue to you, but for those demanding perfection in their TVs, the Sony warrants a look.

The Sony absolutely blows the out of the water here in every measurable area for black and white performance.

Contrast Chart

While the edges out the Sony in every measure of color performance, the difference is really not all that significant.

The two TV sets are extremely close in motion performance, so there are no real gripes to focus on here.

Both TVs have a roughly identical viewing angle, so you can't go wrong with either here.

If you're a person that loves streaming content, you're probably going to want to pick up the Sony over the , as the LG has very little int he way of local media support. While it does have a good range of analog ports for your use, the Sony outclasses the smaller LG in just about every way here.

Both sets have 3D capability, but the Sony uses active-shutter 3D glasses, and the LG uses polarized lens glasses. Though active-shutter systems offer better resolution, they often cost upwards of $70 per pair to purchase, and the Sony only comes with one pair. On the other hand, the Polarized lens approach is extremely cheap to buy new glasses, though it cuts resolution in half.

If you're on a budget, the isn't a bad bet, but the Samsung offers users quite a bit more for their pricetag that's $600 higher. In addition to one of the best streaming media platforms on the market, you also get picture performance that's leagues ahead of that of the .

Imagine in your head a giant foot crushing the . The Samsung scores better marks across the board, and absolutely outclasses the LG in every measurable way in this area.

Contrast Chart

While the the Samsung does have a strange color temperature error problem, it stays close to the in RGB curve response and even edges it out in terms of having an accurate color gamut.

While both are great at handling motion performance, the Samsung has the better score here, though it should be mentioned that users will hardly notice the difference when the scores are this close.

Despite the trend of the Samsung having universally better performance, the actually has the better viewing angle, for what it's worth.

The does not have a streaming media platform, but it does have a good range of ports to connect to external media devices. The Samsung, on the other hand, has one of the best streaming media platforms on the market, and a somewhat more anemic range of ports. Neither is inherently better in terms of connectivity, but the should be better suited to those who do not need the TV to handle streaming content by itself, or if you have a lot of old media sources.

While the Samsung uses an active-shutter 3D system, the uses a polarized lens approach, which cuts the resolution in half, but allows for a far more affordable experience, and cheap glasses (we've seen 4 pairs for $10 on sale in some places online). On the other hand, active-shutter glasses can cost over $100 a pair in some instances, though you may be able to snag some for cheaper now that they've been on the market for a while.

All things considered, for the price the is not a bad entry-level TV. With good color performance, and among the best 3D color performance we've ever seen, you could do a lot worse than bringing this LCD TV home. It may not be the best choice for cinephiles, but a bright screen and the novelty of 3D may be enough for newer consumers to get access to some of the fancier bells and whistles of modern TVs.

Using a polarized-lens approach to 3D content, the makes some significant tradeoffs to reduce the cost on the consumer, but like most other 3D TVs, we feel like this may not be ready for the big leagues quite yet. Without streaming content or a better-supported local media playback system, this is not exactly a TV built towards satisfying the 'net addict, but it is certainly more than capable of this with the correct external equipment.

At its price point, this is a top contender, but it in no way can compete with many models in the high-end by virtue of it's lackluster contrast performance and lack of premium features. Still, if you're fine with not having the best super-high performance screen, and instead are willing to settle for a bargain, the is a great TV to look at.

The LG xxLW5300 series has three LCD televisions, the 42LW5300, the 47LW5300, and the 55LW5300. Each television shares similar software, connectivity options, performance, and 3D capability.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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