Unfortunately, the LB6000 does not make a strong case for itself in that department. Overwhelmingly shallow black levels rob the TV of the ability to display valuable details or an immersive image. While this series is available in 50-, 55-, and 60-inch varieties, I cannot recommend any of them over LG’s superb LB5900 series, which comes in all of the same sizes and packs a much better picture.
We test TVs before and after calibrating them in order to best understand their out-of-the-box performance. The LB6000 is equipped with a full arsenal of picture customization options, including both 2- and 20-point white balance controls as well as an extensive color management system. In most cases, we start the testing process in a TV’s “Movie” or “Cinema” mode. However, LG outfits most of their mid- and high-range TVs with a mode called “ISF Expert,” and this is usually the best out-of-the-box option in terms of performance.
I switched the picture to “Expert1” and the color temperature to “Warm2.” I adjusted the gamma setting for a darkened room, dropped the backlight from 100 to 45, and made various adjustments to both the 2-point and 20-point white balance controls.
Finally, I made finer corrections to the saturation, tint, and luminance of the LB6000’s primary and secondary color points.
Sleek & Simple
Much like the LB5900, the LB6000 is cut from a slightly different cloth than most modern HDTVs. Its composition favors grays and silvers rather than the black-colored plastic typically found on the market today. Two wide-set, angular feet support the panel from below, but they're subtle enough that the screen still receives all the attention.
On the back of the panel is a modest collection of connection ports, including two HDMI inputs, a USB 2.0 port, composite and component video inputs, a digital audio output, and a coaxial jack.
Being a mid-tier HDTV, the LB6000 does not come with LG’s Magic Remote, the company's new motion-controlled remote. Nor does it feature webOS, LG’s exciting new smart platform for 2014. Still, there are a proportionate amount of connection options for a TV of this class, and navigating the menu software is a breeze.
A grayscale describes a television’s production of black, gray, and white. TV’s utilize red, green, and blue sub-pixels in order to create these neutral shades, so by measuring the grayscale, we peek behind the curtain and determine how evenly these sub-pixels are being utilized. If the TV favors one sub-pixel over the others, neutral shades will likely appear shifted towards that color.
To visualize the amount of grayscale error present in a TV’s picture, we arrange ten shades of gray from dark-to-light (0 IRE being black and 100 IRE being reference white). The amount of error is represented by DeltaE, with a DeltaE of 3 or less being the ideal.
The LB6000 packs an impressive out-of-the-box DeltaE of 2.64, but I managed to pull this down even further via the 2- and 20-point white balance controls and ended up with a 1.75 DeltaE reading.
Further examination reveals the culprit: a minor over-emphasis of the red sub-pixel throughout most of the grayscale.
The devil's in the (lack) of details.
We frequently stress the importance of black level production when it comes to overall picture quality, and the LB6000 is the perfect case study for this principle. Behind every great element of the LB600's picture, there is a thick veneer of murkiness obscuring detail, and it's all caused by a shallow black level.
First, the good stuff: The LB6000 produces mostly accurate colors out-of-the-box. I watched The Dark Knight side-by-side on our calibrated reference TV and didn’t notice any major discrepancies between the color output of the two pictures. In fact, the only noticeable difference in color is a slight blue haze produced by the LB6000, but this is most likely a byproduct of the TV’s contrast problems.
The LB6000 handles motion well, too. Action sequences, quick camera pans, and tracking shots are swift and mostly judder-free, making the LB6000 an attractive suitor for those planning on watching a healthy amount of sports and action flicks.
Due to the numerous scenes that take place at night against a detailed skyline, The Dark Knight is a great film for demonstrating the importance of preserving shadow details. The LB6000 stumbled its way through The Batman's finest hour, obscuring much of the rich shadow detail that makes the movie look so attractive in theaters (more on that on the Science page.) Characters' faces seemed to meld into the city backdrops behind them, and even the gruesome details of Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face had less of an impact.
This loss of detail is compounded by the fact that this LG's black levels are also quite poor to begin with, making dark or dim-room viewing quite unpleasant without a complicated calibration process. With problems like this, it unfortunately doesn't matter how accurate the colors are, or how smoothly motion is rendered: You're probably not going to notice.
Finally, we arrive at the LB6000’s Achilles’ heel: shallow black level production. Not only is this weakness plainly obvious in our test results, but it’s obvious when watching content, too.
A contrast ratio is a television’s reference white divided by its black level. For the LB6000, I measured a black level of 0.200 cd/m2 and a reference white of 215.7 cd/m2 for a total contrast ratio of around 1078:1. Compared to its peers, this just isn’t up to par.
Lose the 6000, get with the 5900
The LB6000 sits right between the LB5900 series, which is more affordable and a better performer, and the LB6300 series, which packs a ton of extra features including the webOS smart platform. Unfortunately, testing has revealed that consumers are probably much better off spending a little less for the LB5900 if they're looking for a mid-range LG, especially while you can find it online for as low as $579.99.
For budget buyers, there are much more palatable options available. In fact, the stiffest competition is from LG itself. The LB6000 simply does not perform as well.
If you’re hoping to entertain a crowd with your new TV, it helps to know a thing or two about its viewing angle. Our viewing angle test determines how off-center someone can be from a TV screen while still observing an untainted picture.
This is one of the areas where the LB6000 excels compared to comparable TVs in its class. I measured a total viewing angle of 83°, or ±42°.
Accurate color production begins and ends with Rec. 709, the international standard for HDTVs. This document provides reference points for three primary colors (red, green, and blue), three secondary colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow), as well as a white point for neutral shades.
The LB6000's out-of-the box color production is stellar. The few hiccups that exist (an undersaturated green point, for example) are hardly affected by the TV's color management controls. I was, however, able to tighten up the television's white point.
Gamma is a way to measure how fast a TV leaps from black, to gray, and then white at various intervals. If there is an uneven distribution of luminance, shadows that should appear smooth will appear messy and lack detail. We calibrate our TVs for a gamma sum of 2.4, which is the ideal for a home theater setup in a dark room. Calibration helps the LB6000 sport a gamma sum of 2.37, which is just about perfect for such an environment. The pre-calibration reading of 2.22 is better suited for a dimly lit room.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@Reviewed
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
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