- Review Date: 05/18/11
- Bottom line:
Top-notch 2D- and 3D-image quality, a wealth of features, and a wallet-friendly price make the 47-inch LG Infinia 47LW5600 the 3D HDTV to beat.
Reasonably priced.Very dark blacks. Excellent good 2D and 3D quality. Two bundled remotes, one mimics an on-screen mouse.
Some 3D crosstalk. LG-branded Web apps could use a makeover.
Until recently, the two biggest knocks against 3D HDTVs have been high prices and cumbersome (and expensive) 3D glasses. The LG Infinia 47LW5600 ($1,699.99 list) addresses both of these issues with great success, and throws in a handful of other neat features as well. This 47-inch LED-backlit set employs passive 3D technology to deliver outstanding 3D imagery with the use of lightweight, inexpensive glasses that can be worn comfortably for hours. But that's only part of the story: inky blacks, excellent color quality, low power usage, and a robust feature set all help to make the 47LW5600 our latest Editors' Choice 3D TV.
LG HDTVs have always been high on style and the 47LW5600 follows the trend. The 47-inch, 120Hz panel is housed in a sleek 1.2-inch cabinet with moderately thin (1.2-inch) black bezels framing the top and sides and a slightly wider (2-inch) bezel at the bottom. This model doesn't offer the seamless glass design used on last year's 47LX9500, but it's still a nice-looking set. The requisite LG logo is positioned at the center of the lower bezel, with a set of touch-sensitive buttons, including Volume and Channel controls, Enter, Home, and Input buttons, and a power switch, sitting just to its right. The Home button takes you into the menu system where you can tweak settings, launch Web apps, and set parental controls. The 40-pound cabinet is adequately supported by a glossy black rectangular stand with a free-moving swivel mechanism.
One of the issues we noted with our Editors' Choice LCD TV, the Sony Bravia KDL-46EX720 ($1,599.99, 4 stars), were hard-to-reach HDMI ports on the back of the cabinet. The 47LW5600 doesn't have this problem, because all four HDMI ports, as well as two USB ports, are located on the left side of the cabinet and face outward so they can be easily accessed, even if the TV is mounted on a wall. There are also two sets of component A/V ports, composite jacks, a wireless control connector, and an RS-232 service port, all of which are flush with the rear of the cabinet. Mounted beneath them in a recessed area are LAN, VGA, VGA audio-in, digital audio-out, TV coaxial, and component AV ports.
A pair of 10-watt down-firing speakers provides clean audio output and can be cranked up loud without distorting, but you won't get that full wall of sound that you get with a dedicated sound system.
In the box, you get two remote controls. One is the familiar LG 42-button, 9.2-inch black wand with a four-way rocker. The main buttons can be illuminated by pressing a backlight button, and there are dedicated buttons for accessing premium web apps, widgets, and enabling the set's 3D mode. The second remote is a thin, tapered Magic Motion pointer that measures 7.8-inches, and is curved to fit comfortably in your hand. It has five main buttons (Power, Home, Volume Up/Down, Mute, and Channel Up/Down) and a rocker with an Enter button in the middle. When you press a button on the remote and move the controller around, a cursor appears; the remote tracks your movements regardless of where it's facing, letting you navigate the HDTV's menus as if you had a mouse. I couldn't put it down once I started using it and would love to see this technology make its way into all TV remotes.
As always, LG does a good job of delivering an intuitive, easy-to-navigate menu system. Picture settings include the Picture Wizard calibration tool, five picture presets (Standard, Vivid, Cinema, Sport, and Game), and two Expert modes (for calibrated settings). You can also adjust basic image settings like Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Color, Color Temperature, and Tint. Advanced controls include Dynamic Contrast and Dynamic Color, Skin Color, Noise Reduction, Gamma, Black Level, White Level, and Color Management (used to individually fine-tune red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, and magenta). There's also a 3D mode setting where you can adjust picture size and depth, and use an optimizer to utility adjust 3D settings to match your viewing environment.
In addition to a wired Ethernet connection, the 47LW5600 comes with a USB 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter to hook the set up to the Web. LG bundles a nice catalog of Web apps with this set, including streaming video service from Vudu, Netflix, CinemaNow, and Amazon Instant Video. You also get Twitter and Facebook, YouTube, MLB, and NBA Gametime channels, as well as Google Maps, Picasa Web Albums, and a browser. Web surfing is a good experience with the mouse-like second remote. I was less impressed with the LG-branded apps, which are mostly game-oriented and uninspired.
As with the Vizio XVT3D650SV ($3,699.99, 4 stars), the 47LW5600 uses a 120Hz panel with passive 3D technology, that comes with inexpensive, lightweight polarized glasses, which deliver images to each eye to create depth. HDTVs such as the Bravia KDL-46EX720 and Panasonic's TC-P42GT25 ($1,699.99, 3.5 stars) employ active 3D technology, which requires expensive and somewhat bulky active shutter glasses that have lenses that are electronically manipulated to open and close in sync with the panel's 120Hz frame rate to create depth.
The 47LW5600 does an excellent job of displaying 3D, and the glasses, while not what you would call fashionable, were much more comfortable than any of the active glasses I've tried. I watched the Avatar 3D Blu-ray disc and was blown away by the panel's depth and clarity. One of my gripes with the Vizio set was that background detail could have been sharper, but the 47LW5600 had no such problem. The entire picture was crisp and image detail was exquisite throughout. The picture remained bright and color quality was spot on. I observed instances of minor crosstalk in a couple of scenes, and although it was minimal and not blatant enough to be distracting, it was still noticeable.
LG bundles four pairs of glasses with the 47LW5600 and if you need more, they're just $10 per pair. By way of comparison, the Bravia KDL-46EX720 doesn't include glasses, and you'll have to shell out $150 for each set. If you really want to amp up your 3D experience, consider splurging on a pair of Gunnar's fashionable, upscale glasses for passive 3D HDTVs. This set also does 2D to 3D conversion, turning any 2D video into 3D visible through the classes but don't expect to be dazzled; the faux 3D is not nearly as realistic as true 3D, nor is the picture as sharp.
After a basic darkroom calibration using the DisplayMate diagnostic software, the 47LW5600 delivered a black level reading of 0.01 cd/m2, which is outstanding for any HDTV, and especially so for an edge-lit LED panel. Additionally, LG's local dimming technology did a great job of controlling black and white levels while keeping artifacts like haloing at bay. Color accuracy was excellent.
Standard 2D image quality was also superb. The 47LW5600 aced all of the HQV high-definition and standard-definition video tests and displayed clean video from our test-bed satellite set-top box. One of my favorite test discs, the Blu-ray version of Planet Earth, looked fantastic, thanks in part to the panel's deep, dark blacks.
A power miser, the The 47LW5600 used only 95- watts of power during my testing while running in Cinema mode, which is the best all around preset for watching movies and TV (and that's with power-saving disabled). The Bravia KDL-46EX720 consumed 112 watts, as did the LG Infinia 47LX9500. You'll save even more if you use one of the power saving modes, but the picture won't be as bright. Based on an average of five hours of use per day at cost of 11.55 cents per kWh, the 47LW5600 will cost around $1.75 per month to operate, and thus, it earns our GreenTech stamp of approval.
A well-rounded 3D TV, the LG 47LW5600 delivers excellent 2D and 3D picture quality, and unlike most 3D HDTVs it comes with the glasses to accommodate a family of four. You also get wired and wireless networking, a cool Magic Motion remote, a nice selection of Web apps, and energy-efficient LED backlighting. At just $1,700, this set is one of the best HDTV deals around, so it's our Editors' Choice for 3D sets.