Remember that term “xxx is the ‘new’ black?” Well, 55-inch is the new “standard” size for a flat-panel, at least if you want a big screen image that has enough real-estate to show 3D effects well. LG has more than their share of large displays, but the Cinema Screen provides not only a high-definition Full HD (1080p) image in both 2D and 3D, but contains all the bells and whistles that a manufacturer’s ad could print.
The easiest way to start looking at the LG is by noting that you get six (!) pairs of 3D glasses with your purchase. Keep in mind that these polarized glasses don’t have batteries or any electronics because they work on the “passive” principle of a polarized screen being part of the display. But also keep in ind that using this technology for 3D means the 3D glasses are lightweight, inexpensive and also keeps the price of the display you use them with down too.
Now you can wear pretty much any pair of polarized glasses you want, but I’ll be using one of the pair made by EX3D because I trust their lenses more than a cheap pair pulled off the discount rack. Plus they’re clip-ons that I can wear over my prescription glasses.
When you’ve a large display — pretty much anything over 27 inches — expect a certain amount of weight when pulling it out of the box. A 55-inch model, like 55LM6700, will work best if two people work together to lift it up. But you do have to attach the base to locking plate that then connects to the back of the LG first; this requires a few screws placed in position and takes under 10 minutes to do. The base allows the LG to swivel and has a screw hole for securing it into the surface it’s been placed on for added security (something us SoCAL folks should take heed of). The LG can also be mounted to a wall as is commonly done by many to flat-panel displays.
And, as noted earlier, the use of polarization for 3D means there’s no emitter on the LG that must be lined up with those wearing the 3D glasses. That’s not to say that the screen’s placement relative to those viewing shouldn’t be taken into consideration, but certainly there’s not the urgency that an emitter requires.
The back panel sockets are conventional enough: there’s an input for a standalone antenna and 4 HDMI inputs (the first supports ARC – audio return channel – that lets audio pass through into the LG from an ARC-supported model, such as an amplifier). There’s also a HDMI input for computer use (requiring an adaptor if the computer only supports DVI) and an audio input for this use as well. A Component and a Composite input (with dual RCA audio inputs) and optical audio output completes the panel.
Next to the panel are 3 USB ports for use with a storage device, media server or for storing apps stored on a thumb drive or equivalent flash storage. This use has become commonplace enough that discussing it is ho-hum.
I should add that I don’t expect artifact and other 3D-type visual problems to occur because “passive” 3D doesn’t have these issues which are found in “active” 3D, and so the 120 Hz graphic engine should operate the onscreen response time nicely. By using an LED backlight, the LCD panel should also display blacks with more intensity and colors, in general, more vibrantly. Another important factor about LED backlighting is that it enables stronger contrast without “smudging” detail. We’ll see if all of this is true in both the 2D and 3D “worlds” shortly.
I guess I should add that the LG 55LM6700 has a 2D to 3D conversion technology built in for use with 2D content. While you can’t “get” 3D when it’s not there, the algorithm driven software built into the electronics can provide a simulation that many will find 3D-like, at times. It’s important to note the factors that affect whether a 3D like effect is seen or not: being the type of content being altered and the perception of the viewer.
First turning on the LG 55LM6700, you’ll go through a series of startup screens to prepare the TV for use: these allow for customization but can be reconfigured later on as well. About the only one taking some effort is that for your wireless network — as in locating the name/password –should you not be using the Ethernet port on the back for a wired connection. Accessing the built-in user’s guide, by the way, negates the need to go through a manual, should you be one of those who disdain doing that, while still getting a heads-up on the vital features.
A series of controls are locating at the back of the right side — the bezel and thinness of the LG 55LM6700 is pretty astounding for all that’s being contained inside. Forget about them and use the “Magic Remote” instead. This pointer-like device mimics a wireless mouse, only you point it around the set to move the onscreen pointer. Controls on it turn the set on and include functions that most will find familiar: a “Home” button, clickable scroll wheel, an “Apps” button and 3D-activation button among others. The remote links to the LG 55LM6700 through radio-frequency, so distance is not an issue as it could be with an infrared signal.
The menus for this “Smart TV” are straightforward and don’t merit time to talk about them, with the exception of “My Apps.” This is where the Internet access comes into play; LG provides access to a series of “apps” to download and use with the display. This is also where you can access online content from such sites as Netflix and Pandora (the speakers built into the display, by the way, are more than adequate for general use but do lack the bass that adds to a more immersive audio experience — but you can use the optical audio out to go to a more powerful amplifier and speakers).
Access to all of the commands of the LG 55LM6700 can be done through the remote and browsing the menu pages of content available should keep you busy, even as the main image plays in the top left corner of the screen while you’re doing so. “3D” world has many Internet-loaded titles to view that display the 3D effect well (auto 3D enacted) — the magician showing off a floating dollar bill is impressive and lets you see the wider viewing angle for 3D of the screen.
As expected, you should modify the settings differently when playing a compressed video from a broadcast network through a cable box or satellite receiver, versus that of the uncompressed video off a Blu-ray disc. I couldn’t find anything to complain about when doing either: broadcast television off my Dish Network satellite, be it “live” mode or from the DVR, was sharp and clean with only a hint of “noise” that you could barely catch if looking for it — more a function of the video signal than the display. And in all cases when playing 2D Blu-ray discs, the image never faltered. I particularly was impressed with the LG’s display when playing the BD of Madonna’s Truth or Dare, as the concert had scenes where I expected to see some image “smearing.” But no. And if you really want to enjoy the blacks that this display can output, dim the lights so that there are NO reflections on its glossy front and put in Tron: Legacy. Even in 2D, this movie rocks on the LG 55LM6700.
3D I approached with 3D discs — although there are choices you can access through the Internet in “3D World.” I went with my collection of IMAX sea titles and the truly wild Drive Crazy, because it handles 3D like visiting a demented funhouse. As expected, the 3D effect wasn’t as limited as it would be with an “active” 3D system, and in general the 3D effects were spot on. Neither contrast nor brightness issues came up, although in general you should tinker with the settings for a 3D “setting” to use, instead of just leaving the LG set at “2D” because wearing glasses does introduce another element between your eyes and the light. And the video resolution looked fine to me — my eyes not being an electronic measuring device, I can only go with what I can see. Additionally, neither my eyes nor the bridge of my nose were fatigued by the 3D glasses LG provided. Plus my nephew, seated next to me, didn’t once try and push me away to take my place at the “center” of the screen. He’s gotten a lot bigger so that’s real good.
Mirroring a PC on the LG 55LM6700 Cinema 3D LED TV brought up an important lesson — to get the best image you have to make the adjustments at the PC side. Don’t blame the LG, as I did, initially, because it can only display what it’s been given from a computer’s graphic card. Making the PC’s output match that of the LG’s innate abilities will result in an image that you’ll have nothing to complain about (and if you’ve one of those wireless computer video transmitters, like the Warpia StreamHD VE, you can exert even more control over the image being seen). The LG is Windows 7 compatible and so can also use the PC as a media server.
Bottom line: When you take into account the LG 55LM6700’s screen size and all that it can do, the $2299 list price doesn’t seem off-putting. Especially since the “street” price is a good couple of hundred dollars less. And the slimness of the unit will astound you — even in these days where every panel alludes to being svelte. Those looking for a solid performer, with few issues when playing 3D, can get this LG with no buyer’s remorse.
- Full 1080p HD with passive 3D
- Wide assortment of Internet/related content
- Built-in WiFi
- Display can’t tilt
- Magic Remote takes time to get used to
- Remote’s battery compartment tab easily breaks
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.