LG Infinia 47LW6500 LED HDTV Review: Excellent All-Around 3D TV at a Reasonable Price
At a Glance
With a built-in Web browser and a second remote that works like a wireless mouse, the LG Infinia 47LW6500--successor to the Infinia 47LW5600 that we reviewed earlier this year--rates as one today's better Internet-connected, 3d-supperting, LED-backlit LCD TVs. It also offers fine image and audio quality at a moderate price ($1900 list price; street prices in the range of $1400 to $1750 as of September 20), making it a very good deal for a 47-inch 1080p set with state-of-the-art capabilities.
We tested the Infinia 47L6500 in the same group as the Samsung UN46D8000, a 46-inch 1080p set that bundles similar features. In our juried image-quality tests; the Samsung edged out the LG overall, but it costs about $700 more. The 47LW6500 matched the Samsung's high marks for color/skin tones and details/sharpness. But judges found the LG's images on several test clips to be oversaturated; and on our motion benchmarks, it faltered slightly in its handling of a diagonal panning shot and on our “jaggies” test (jagged edges were visible on moving bars).
To help you adjust image quality to your liking, LG provides a very easy-to-use picture wizard--a calibration tool that lets you choose a target image for various qualities (color, tint, sharpness, and the like) and make adjustments to match it. You get a nice collection of presets, too.
Like most other LED-backlit sets, the Infinia 47LW6500 is quite energy-efficient, consuming no visible power when turned off and using 76.8 watts per hour (on average) while turned on. Its green score is 89 out of 100, which we consider to be very good.
The LCD is extremely thin--1.2 inches, not counting the stand. Ports are arranged in a squarish area on the left rear, with two USB and four HDMI ports facing sideways (and therefore readily accessible), and ethernet, PC video (VGA) and audio inputs, optical digital audio output, a cable/antenna coax port, and a jack for either a component video or a composite AV adapter cable all facing downward (making them tricky to access but usable with a wall-mounted set). Facing directly outward are an RS232C service port and one set each of conventional component and composite AV inputs, which you wouldn't be able to use with a wall-mounted set.
The set comes with an 802.11n USB Wi-Fi adapter that operates only in the 2.4GHz band, which isn't ideal for streaming media, especially in cities where your network's signals must compete with those of many other Wi-Fi networks. Support for the 5GHz version of 802.11n would have been nice, since it's less subject to interference.
The LG 47LW6500's long, skinny standard remote has all the controls you'd expect on a current set, including the ability to program controls of other devices and a Quick Menu that lets you easily adjust aspect ratio, audio, video, and AV presets, closed captions, the channel editor, and other key features.
The Home button brings up a handsomely designed screen that gives you access to all connected TV content, including downloadable and some preinstalled apps, the Web browser, and buttons for launching the setup menu, switching inputs, and accessing favorites. The current TV content is displayed in a window in the upper left corner, and a customizable function menu in the center of the screen links to premium services such as streaming media and social networking sites.
LG's Smart TV lineup includes Amazon's on-demand service, Facebook, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Twitter, Vudu, YouTube Leanback (an HDTV optimized version of YouTube), and several other content sites. You can stream your own content from a USB drive or from any DLNA-compatible device on your home network; the set supports a dozen or so video formats, JPEG stills, and MP3 audio (as long as they aren't copy-protected). You can create a slideshow with background music and apply a few effects to images.
If you plan to run the Web browser, however, you'll want to set up and use the Magic Motion remote that comes with the set. This wandlike second remote is smaller than the standard one and uses motion-sensing technology to control the on-screen cursor, reminiscent of a Wii remote. You must pair the remote with the set before you can use it.
The Magic Motion remote lets you access the set's features via a handful of buttons: a power button, a Home screen button, volume- and channel-changing rockers, a mute button, and a select clicker surrounded by a navigation wheel. It's a welcome option for people who don't like sorting through all of the buttons on the standard remote.
That said, using the Magic Motion remote for Web browsing on the Infinia 47LW6500 is an iffy experience. The absence of a hardware keyboard means that you must use the Magic Motion on an onscreen keyboard to enter text (such URLs or login info), which isn't much fun. The browser supports Flash, but only through version 8 (10 is current), and unlike desktop browsers it doesn't support HTML 5.
The TV's audio is pretty good: The two 10-watt speakers achieved decent volume, and the surround-sound simulation worked reasonably well. It's still no comparison to the audio from even a small home-theater setup, but it meets the challenge of providing appropriate accompaniment to 3D content.
LG provides four sets of passive glasses with the set; at this writing, several retailers are offering free additional glasses. These are basically the same glasses that theaters hand out for 3D movies, and the 3D quality is quite good. But the 3D version of Avatar on Blu-ray didn't look as rounded as it did on the Samsung, which uses active-shutter glasses.
In most other respects, the Infinia 47LW6500 is very similar to the Infinia 47LW5600. In fact, LG provides the same manual (printed and online) for both models, along with a couple of dozen other LCD and plasma sets (which this makes pinning down some info on your specific model more difficult).
With the Infinia 47LW6500, LG continues to build on its reputation as a maker of affordable sets that deliver good image quality and technological innovation at a highly competitive price. Samsung and Sony should be watching their backs.