I’ll say this for LG: It certainly doesn’t want to limit your choices of control. The 50-inch PZ950 comes with both a standard and a Magic Motion remote. The former sports an amber backlight and is laid out well enough to be one of the better TV remotes I’ve used recently. The Magic Motion remote is the real innovation here, though. It’s a Wii Remote for the TV, letting you wave it around to control an onscreen cursor. I wouldn’t say it’s a better way to interact with the TV, but the action is fluid enough for it not to be worse. That in itself is a laudable accomplishment.
If two remotes weren’t enough, there’s also a free LG Remote app you can install on your smartphone or tablet. The app has playback controls, a cursor, and a touchpad like one you’d find on a laptop. It’s cool, assuming your phone/tablet is on the same Wi-Fi network as the TV. Once you tell the TV you’re using it at home (a brilliant Energy Star requirement), you can dive into some of the most extensive settings menus I’ve ever seen on a TV.
Your starting point should be the easy-to-use Picture Wizard, a multi-step guide with built-in test patterns (!) that let you dial in just about perfect performance. When you’re done, it saves these new settings to one of a pair of “Expert” custom presets. Elapsed time from plug-in to perfect picture? Maybe 5 minutes. Being a THX Certified display, there are also THX picture modes, but as with most new THX Certified displays, these settings can’t be adjusted. That includes color temperature, which isn’t too accurate out of the box. I stuck with the Expert1 settings, which were largely the ones I got after going through the Picture Wizard. (Checked against a real setup disc, they were pretty close.)
Like many modern home theater devices, the PZ950 is Internet-connectable. In addition to the standard bevy of streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, et al), it’s got a full Web browser. Allowing Web surfing is a new feature for TVs (WebTV notwithstanding). The browser, especially when used with the Magic Motion remote, works well enough. If you really need to know who that actor is, or check out the latest blog post on soundandvisionmag.com, it’s fine.
The DLNA functionality also works well enough, though extra large icons and text on the DLNA interface make reading any picture or music titles nearly impossible. And the novelty of looking at your photos in 3D using the TV’s 2D-to-3D conversion wears off quickly as you have to enable the 3D mode with each picture individually.
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