We’ve reached the point where HDTVs just having a high definition picture (1080p) isn’t enough; it now has to be as souped up as any smartphone. But while there’s no denying that “smart TV” features are welcomed, it still always comes down to the “build” of the LCD panel that all of this is going to be displayed on. That’s why the LG LA7400 55” Cinema 3D TV with Smart TV ($2299.00) is a good choice for someone looking to get all of the “bells and whistles”, but not at the expense of a quality picture.
Once having set the LG LA7400 55” Cinema 3D TV with Smart TV on its simple base, I noticed first that the display had a very thin bezel. The next thing noticeable when turned on (and after the Wizard had completed a quick setup) was that the level of brightness was even from edge to edge — even at fairly extreme angles. This boded well for family watching, both 2D and 3D, where there can be more than one person off-center from the display.
The “Magic Remote” is used to navigate through all the LA7400’s functionality. It’s short and stubby but fits quite snugly in the hand. Navigating through menus can be done in a number of ways; the simplest being to bring up a graphical interface of the remote onscreen so as to be able to “see” what you are doing as you do it. These screens allow for accessing apps, premium websites and other content. The Smart TV hub is comprehensive and lets you connect with Internet and gaming content. These graphical page representations are large and well defined and do not require any learning curve in order to understand, as the organization of the content into “worlds” make it easy to jump to the content you really want.
To control different devices such as a cable box or Blu-ray player, pressing the thumbwheel button on the Magic Remote brings up a graphical representation onscreen controlled by the cursor (much like the way the Wii Remote Controller on the Nintendo Wii is used). This scheme would have become a bit tedious if not for the speed of the built-in hardware, which moves the screen imaging along at a good clip. Voice recognition was also available: by slowly speaking questions into the remote, an Avatar on the screen produced an all-encompassing answer. For example, I asked the Magic Remote to find the TV show, The Mindy Project and up came windows to select the next episode of the show [in HD or SD], as well as Mindy Project-related websites. The built-in WiFi is employed here and the speed of the response, while somewhat dependent on the speed of the connection, was quick enough not to try the patience.
The LA7400 has passive 3D and the LG 3D portal aggregates and can stream 3D content from LG’s servers. Also, user-created 3D content can be posted to the LG “cloud” for anyone to watch. There is also the ability to convert 2D content into 3D content using internal software; a feature that worked fairly well, although it occasionally made 3D image errors.
The LA7400’s employment of a dual core processor made for snappy menus and online gaming that didn’t have any lagging or stuttering issues (Angry Bird from the app store displayed this). Menu screens pan across rapidly, scrolling occurs without any visual lags and the whole experience was in the background: that of getting to where you wanted to go without having to constantly wait for a refresh or for the TV to switch “gears.” You might find, as I did, that changing the picture mode works better, depending on the content (example: Cinema is fine with movies but not so much with Internet videos).
I viewed a lot of broadcast television and found the picture at all times bright and cheerful. But to get the most out of the LA7400 I turned to stored content, specifically episodes of Community (season 4) on DVD and the last season of the Office (season 9) on Blu-ray so as to evaluate skin tones. While the characters looked natural in all of the scenes played, the lesser resolution of the DVD was evident in direct comparison to the Blu-ray’s color palette, which gave the sitcom characters a more “healthy” glow to their faces thanks to higher detail and a better transition of one color to the next.
The last test discs were Blu-ray enhanced versions of Bruce Lee’s early movies [Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection – Shout! Factory] and I wanted to see how the display could handle them. I’d say if the LA7400 had been any less sharp, then the grain would have appeared “mushy” and all the detail would have been lost in a miasma of blockiness. The panel also had no trouble with color smearing as Lee went through his amazing physical actions, nor was there any “bleeding” of the colors on these films. I did find that adjustments of both contrast and the color temperature seriously improved on what I was viewing, so I was glad that the menu system via the remote could be accessed, adjusted and changed quickly.
Bottom line: LG’s LA7400 55” Cinema 3D TV with Smart TV is an HDTV containing innovative and competent technologies that provide functionality extending past just a “picture.” But since that “picture” appears on a high resolution and well lit display, it’s worth having as the centerpiece of a home theater.
Gesture controlled channel changing, Dual-play video game support
High-speed Internet connection suggested
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.