Finding a TV with many of the features we want, or may want for years to come, is hard. They’re available, but expensive. The LG 47LW5600 comes with all of the latest bells and whistles, including 3D, built-in apps and wireless connectivity, all for a decent price of $1,100. But at this price point, for a 47″ TV, does the quality suffer? Read on to find out.
Picture and Sound Quality
The 47LW5600 provides a sharp, clear image, and has good contrast, even at extreme angles. There is minimal blur that is sometimes found on lower quality televisions. Overall, the contrast was better than expected but blacks were not as deep as I’d have liked. See the image below.
The 47LW5600 features local dimming, which enables and disables the backlight for certain segments of the display to provide a darker black. A common issue with local dimming is the potential for light bleed between different segments of the screen, and the 47LW5600 has that exact problem. It isn’t obvious in most cases, but it is very noticeable when the image is very dark, such as the above image.
I tested a variety of different movies and television shows, including Blu-ray discs, DVDs, digital content streamed from my computer to my Apple TV and over-the-air television shows. When I watched Jurassic Park on Blu-ray, it looked excellent. The color was accurate and the sound was rich and full. The speakers produced loud, clear audio with little distortion.
One of my biggest complaints about modern televisions is that they come with all sorts of bells and whistles turned on. Usually they make a product stand out, but in the case of most televisions, it’s marketing and, unfortunately, doesn’t actually improve video quality whatsoever.
The LG 47LW5600 has a default set for TruMotion, which is LG’s proprietary image smoothing technology, which was very popular at last year’s CES and, I believe, makes the picture too fluid. There is no reason for this feature to be enabled by default, and I don’t doubt for a second that potential customers will find the picture quality weird and uncomfortable. Adjusting the setting itself was a chore because the menu system is very poor and cumbersome. It took me, a fairly technical person, a few minutes of patient searching to find and disable TruMotion.
Connectivity & LG Apps
As expected at this price range, the 47LW5600 has a ton of inputs. It has 4 HDMI inputs, a VGA input, a pair of USB ports, a coaxial input, a component input and a composite input. It also has an ethernet port if you don’t have a wireless network to connect to (although a wireless adapter is included with the television). However, wireless will prove much better for most people who don’t need cables stretching across their media centers.
The television also offers a decent selection of apps, including some rudimentary games and a quite a few video and music streaming apps, including Netflix and Hulu Plus. Once up and running, both were easy to use and responded quickly to commands issued via the remote control. The picture quality of Hulu Plus content is as good as broadcast television, but the content on Netflix is hit and miss. Video through Netflix was always good enough, but their video compression has seen better days, especially on this set.
I invited a friend over and we tested out the 3D by watching a Blu-ray copy of Piranha 3D (side note: There are two versions of the Blu-ray, a 2D and 3D version. We watched the 3D version). 3D quality was good, with a good amount of depth and minimal pop-out. It was almost on par with seeing the movie in the theater. My friend concurred with my assessment, saying that it was much better than she was expecting and that she would definitely watch more movies in 3D on the television.
This is partially because LG uses passive 3D glasses, which are similar to the glasses worn in movie theaters, as opposed to active shutter glasses which are bulkier and must be charged. The only real problem with watching 3D is that the picture quality changes drastically if you move. The picture isn’t static based on your location, so if you move right or left the image will do the same. This also means that everyone watching sees a slightly different image, which is not good for picture accuracy.
While the black levels aren’t as good as I’d like, watching picture quality was very good for such an inexpensive display. The few available apps are good enough to start, and 3D is very watchable. However, TV prices have been dropping in the last few months and while the 47LW5600 is at a great price point for its size, the overall quality of the TV is just good. It doesn’t have any stand-out features, but you will certainly get a decent TV experience out of this LG. After, of course, adjusting the settings to your liking.
The Bottom Line: A solid TV with good color quality but less than average black and white contrast. 3D picture quality is good but the 3D itself is wobbly. Settings are a mess. Enough ports for a full media center and a number of worthwhile apps freely available.
- Good color reproduction
- Large assortment of input options
- Decent selection of apps
- Black levels could be better
- Comes with too many features turned on
Edited by James Pikover
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.