Whilst the LG 47LM860V is not quite their top-tier product for 2012 it does have somewhat lofty aspirations and a price-tag to match. If you can think of a feature the LM860 probably has it; from Cinema 3D to an Internet Browser through motion control and Smart TV features, it really is chock full of diversions. Of course all those bells and whistles aren’t worth a jot if the LM860V can’t deliver on its primary purpose in producing fine pictures. So have LG gone back to the drawing board with any success? Let’s get stuck in and find out!
Design and Connections
If you don’t like the standard remote control – although we think you will – you can always try the Magic Motion Remote control that ships with the LM860V. It’s very simply laid out with just 9 buttons on the face, including vol/channel up and down, Standby, 3D, Home and Back but the best thing about it is the scroll wheel that makes using the Smart TV features and Web Browser a much more rewarding and speediey process than using the conventional controller. It’s not perfect and you might find that clicking the wheel to select a highlighted item causes the cursor to jump off it but it’s certainly forgiveable and the accuracy is much improved over last year’s effort, which liked to wander on its own. There’s even voice recognition technology built-in but as the only success we had was with the command ‘Back’, it was not something we used greatly. Perhaps it’s not keen on northern accents.
The LG LM860 features the near standard set of connections with 4 HDMI side-facing along with 3 USB ports and a CAM slot. The HDMI ports are just over 10cm from the edge of the bezel so it will be touch and go for those with chunkier cables as to whether they’ll be hidden when inserted. Running across the downward facing connections panel there is a LAN port; D-SUB PC in with audio jack; the satellite and aerial connections; a headphone jack; connections for the supplied adapters for Scart, Component and Composite sources and an S/PDIF digital audio out
Menus and Setup
The Picture Menu also contains all the more mundane controls of course, including Backlight, Contrast, Brightness and Colour and there are both vertical and horizontal Sharpness controls that we left at default in the isf mode.
Cottoning on to the fact that most owners won’t have access to a great deal of 3D content, LG have upgraded their previous 3D Zone Smart TV app to 3D World which now commands its own card on the Home page. At present there are around 70 things to watch encompassing entertainment, sports, documentary, kids, and lifestyle and we particularly enjoyed the 3D Dive documentary but there’s plenty of other good stuff in there too, and it’s free! There’s most of the usual 2D video on demand suspects in there too with BBC iPlayer (coming soon), YouTube and Lovefilm all featuring although the sooner they get Netflix on there, the better. If you’re of that persuasion you can chat to friends or share what you had for lunch on Facebook and Twitter and with the purchase of a separate camera/mic attachment, AN-VC400, you can take it one stage further and chat to people face to face through Skype.
The included web browser looks very similar to Panasonic’s new effort and offers a tabbed browsing experience and the option to create favourites that can appear on your homepage. It is a touch on the slow side and the LM860 certainly seems to lack the speed of the Panasonic’s (not just the dual core models) but the real plus is that the Magic Motion controller’s scroll wheel makes page navigation and absolute breeze and is superior to the VIERA’s Touch Pad controller in that respect. The down side is that clicking the wheel in as the OK/Enter button can cause the cursor to jump off the target, which can be frustrating. There’s still a long way to go before we’d consider going to the TV as our first port of call for internet duties but things are moving in the right direction and further refinements and innovations in the control technology will only help take up.
We’ll preface this section by saying that LG have been made fully aware of the issues we encountered during the calibration process and are investigating, which probably gives you some indication that what is to follow isn’t going to be in the most positive vain. We know LG are highly responsive in sorting out problems and we would fully expect the issues will be addressed so please bear that in mind.
The greyscale calibration didn’t go well. First of all the 2 point controls were unusable owing to the fact it was near impossible to get the LM860 to remember/store the adjustments made. After half an hour of trying to adjust the red gain to -3 we eventually gave up when it was saved at +3, completely randomly. Clearly there were some gremlins aboard. No matter, we thought, greyscale tracking wasn’t so far out that it shouldn’t be able to be reined in by the 20 point controls so we set about those and got the results shown above.
Whilst the low down greyscale was able to be tuned to perfection, after 50% stimulus the controls proved ineffective. No matter which way we tried, bottom to top, top to bottom, inside out and every which way but loose, we couldn’t tame the higher end. There is an improvement, on paper, but nothing like we were hoping for and certainly not what we’d expect from the usually excellent LG white balance controls. But the graphs don’t always tell the full story and loading up a few test scenes soon revealed a problem. Banding, and lots of it. Take a look at the photo below and regard the ‘grey’ sky. The photo on the left was taken with the 20 point adjustments made and the one on the right is the pre-calibration state. Whilst the photo certainly won’t win any prizes and is not perfectly representative of what was seen by eye - it was actually worse in real life – the coloured bands should be easy to pick out. Note: you can click on the photo to expand.
Whether or not we received a rogue sample is unclear at this stage but if it was representative of the LM860’s out in the wild, we’d advise calibrators to approach with caution and, clearly, LG have some work to do in ironing out these issues.
Happily the LG LM860V performed far better in this area of testing and, for the most part, proved an excellent video processing device. Starting with the SMPTE 133 pattern which revealed cleanly scaled 576i and 480i images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. The 47LM860 also scored well when it came to video deinterlacing with jaggies only appearing when the line was at an acute angle in the first test on the HQV disc. In the second test the motion adaptive deinterlacing was also good with slight jaggies only appearing on the bottom bar of the three moving bars.
The LM860 passed the film detail test and correctly locked on to the image resulting with no aliasing. In the cadence tests the 47LM860 excelled, correctly locking on to not only the 2:3 (NTSC - USA/Japan) format and the 2:2 (PAL - European) format but also lots more obscure ones besides. The LG LM860V also correctly displayed film material with both horizontal and vertical scrolling video text, correctly displaying the words without any blurring or shredding.
With our Blu-ray player set to 1080i the display correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests (provided the aspect ratio is set to Just Scan) and showed good scaling and filtering performance as well as good resolution enhancement. The 47LM860 also had no problems in showing video text overlaid on film based material and also handled 24p content without any problems.
Using the Spears and Munsil disc we checked the headroom performance of the LM860 from reference white (video level 235) up to peak white (video level 255) and although it couldn’t quite hit peak white, it nearly got there although it struggled to show white with the darker shades of grey, compromising the dynamic range and potentially shadow detailing.
We have to say we weren’t too keen on LG’s motion interpolating (Tru-Motion) engine. We could never find a compromise between cleaner looking resolution and not introducing the video-like soap 'opera effect', so it was set to off.
Using our new LagTest Device, we measured Game Mode to have a very disappointing latency of 101 milliseconds, even with the input relabelled as PC. To be honest, we didn't really need such a sophisticated device to tell us the LM860 is very sluggish for gaming and it's something we've fed back to LG that they need to work on.
More positive news here as the LG LM860 proved very efficient in consuming an average of just 86W in calibrated 2D mode, with 3D taking 106W. Out of the box, in Standard mode, draw was averaged at 89W which is an indication that manufacturers are being forced to ship TVs with energy efficient settings as the differences between calibrated and non-calibrated numbers used to be far larger.
Picture Quality - 2D
So with only modest dynamic range and uncalibrated greyscale performance we were pretty much relying on the superb video processing and inherent panel luminance to provide excellence in 2D pictures; and the LM860V had no trouble in hitting 200 cd/m2 even in its ‘calibrated’ Expert mode, which means it can certainly pack a punch, even in more challenging rooms where light control isn’t possible. Viewing angles were very, very good too and approaching plasma levels, save for a little contrast wash-out from extreme angles but given the lack of deep blacks, in the first place, even that was hardly noticeable with most real world content.
The excellent scaling meant that it was not only with High Definition content that the LG LM860 looked good but, of course, HD is where it’s at and, at times, the LG looked truly stunning with beautifully realised and detailed pictures filling the screen but if you’re sensing a caveat or two, top marks for perception because there are. First and foremost, array banding and dirty screen effect (DSE) were almost constant, and unwelcome, companions. The array banding – alternating vertical strips down the panel going dark, light, dark, etc - was almost constantly visible and once action on screen started to move, it morphed in to a dirty screen effect as the array blurred behind the images. Not a happy state of affairs and we sincerely hope that mass retail units don’t all show this problem. There were some light pooling issues too although where these are generally most apparent, in the ‘black bars’ of non 16:9 material, was pretty much masked by the fact the LM860V seemed to be able to effectively switch off the pixels in the bars.
Our final issue is perhaps not one that many will pick up on but we have to report everything we observe and that was in a slight judder to fine movements, where the motion processing seemed to be in small state of confusion. It was somewhat similar to what we saw on the Samsung D7000 and D8000 LED TVs we reviewed in 2011, although far less frequent or noticeable but still there.
Update: The replacement sample we received exhibited exactly the same degree of dirty screen effect and juddery movement, a bit more light pooling but slightly less panel banding so the overall observations here remain unchanged.
Picture Quality - 3D
We went on at length as to why we don’t think Passive is the poor relation to Active Shutter systems in the recent Panasonic ET5 Review but to précis that, we didn’t notice any loss of resolution or the - incorrectly termed – ‘scan lines’ when viewing 3D from anything like a comfortable distance. In fact the bright, totally crosstalk free 3D pictures combined with the fact you don’t need to use those blinking glasses makes it a far better experience, at least in this reviewer’s eyes but, as ever, you need to go and see for yourself before parting with your hard earned readies.
There are some caveats with the passive technology, one of which is that it doesn’t really work off the vertical axis so it wouldn’t suit an above fireplace mount or those people who like to watch standing up or lying on the floor. Not that we’d imagine there are many of those. As a 3D display, the LG LM860 delivers in spades; but the uniformity issues are still there, even with the shades on.
- 3D is wonderful - bright and flicker free
- Layout of Home Page is superb
- Video processing is excellent
- View angles are almost plasma like
- Effective filter keeps contrast in bright environments
- We actually like the Magic Motion Remote Control!
- Black levels and contrast are mediocre
- Very noticeable array banding and dirty screen effect
- Some judder to motion at times
- Lack of dimming zones means using the feature will cause highly apparent haloing
- Input lag is again a major problem
LG LM860 (47LGLM860V) 3D LED LCD TV Review
With its stunning 3D picures and excellent video processing it’s a shame that the LG LM860V is so undone by the unwelcome bedfellows of array banding and dirty screen effect. For a television in this tier of pricing we find it particularly unacceptable when we know that whilst it is often a problem we see with the LED technology, it doesn’t need to be as evident as it was on the sample supplied for review. Black levels and dynamic range performance were also disappointing although far more forgivable given the generous viewing angles and the fact the LM860 is capable of producing bright images with a decent degree of accuracy, making it a decent choice for a room with bright lighting. It was possible to slightly improve on the native black level by utilising the local dimming algorithms but since this LG seems to be only equipped with only 12 vertical dimming zones, the accuracy wasn’t good, leading to some very noticeable haloing around objects that could sometimes be seen from top to bottom of the screen. LG has got some work to do, especially with the engineering challenges, before the LM860 reaches the standards required for an AVForums
recommendation but at least we know they’re a company that does listen and is proactive in addressing problems; so there is hope.
We were impressed by the sleek, almost borderless design of the LM860 that was underscored by the titanium bezel running across the bottom. The remote control was a pleasure to use, being light in the hand and now that there’s a dedicated settings button, we no longer have to work our way through the Home Page to get at the picture controls. The newly refined Magic Motion Remote Control also proved a surprise hit with us, in particular the scroll wheel makes navigation around the Smart features and Web Browser a far more rewarding experience than that with the conventional handset, even if it had the tendency to jump off your selection at the last moment. Around the back of the stylish fascia we were presented with all the usual connections you would expect including 4 HDMI inputs, 3 USB ports, a LAN connection and D-SUB PC in.
The layout of LG’s new Home Page is excellent and makes navigation of the Smart features a breeze with its card style design. Once in the centre of operations, users can easily access lots of video on demand content from the likes of the BBC iPlayer and LoveFilm and there’s even a dedicated card for action in the third dimension in LG’s 3D World. Owners are also able to Twitter or Facebook their time away and, with the purchase of an optional camera/mic attachment can engage in Skype video calling from the comfort of their sofas. Couch potatoes might also welcome the tabbed web browser that works relatively well, if a bit slowly, and the Magic Motion controller really comes in to its own there. The ability to hook up external storage for PVR duties is also a nice option and USB hard drives can also be used to playback a fairly generous selection of media files with the promise of the same support through DLNA streaming.
Out of the box picture accuracy was quite good, if a little on the rosy side, and with the second sample we were able to calibrate a reference greyscale. With the new CMS we were also able to achieve virtual reference colour reproduction and the video processing was not far behind in performance with top notch scaling, deinterlacing and cadence detection on-board. It’s a shame we couldn’t find a setting of the Tru-Motion motion interpolating engine we liked, particularly as we could detect a slight judder to fine movements.
Where the 2D performance was a bit of a let-down owing to the poor uniformity and disappointing contrast, the LG LM860V almost redeemed itself with its excellent 3D delivering the bright, crosstalk and flicker free images we’ve come to expect from them. It’s a pity the input lag really hampers the pleasure derived from video gaming as, otherwise, it might have been an excellent choice for 3D gaming pursuits. The energy consumption figures were far more impressive, however, with the LM860 drawing just 86W, in calibrated 2D mode, and 106W in 3D.
Frankly we expected more from the LG 47LM860V and until they can sort out the engineering challenges in producing more uniform panels, it goes down as a missed opportunity.
Note: In view of the fact the initial review sample had a fault whereby it wouldn't store white balance calibration settings we asked for another, as we like to review everything on a level playing field. As it transpires the second sample exhibited almost identical issues with perhaps a slight reduction in array banding but the calibration controls did work and we were able to achieve much better results there.
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Our Review Ethos
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