Tuning into a Universal HD channel showing of Dante's Peak, I was struck by the LG's lifelike picture. The set reproduced highlights in a way that gave well-transferred movies - even on regular DVD - a you-are-there look reminiscent of crisply shot video, but without the usual tell-tale busyness or noise. In a scene where Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton are up in the Rockies, I noticed how convincingly the halo of sunlight around their heads looked. And the green pines, the blue sky, and the denim hue of Brosnan's well-worn shirt were all displayed accurately. Black levels, while not as deep as on our reference plasma or the LED-driven LCDs I've looked at, were in line with what I've seen on most LCDs. Shadow rendition, meanwhile, was very good. In a scene where Brosnan and Hamilton sit at night on her dimly lit porch, I could see details in Brosnan's shock of dark black hair and the fine texture in the wood siding behind him.
I next moved on to the Blu-ray Disc of High School Musical 2, a movie that just hemorrhages bright color. The reds of the banners, gymnasium markings, and cafeteria tables during the title sequence looked punchy and clean. The colors and details of the costumes exploded off the screen during the opening dance number, from Zac Efron's striped blue polo to Corbin Bleu's lime-green T-shirt to the bejeweled gold neck strap on Ashley Tisdale's red blouse. Even the bus was a perfect school-bus yellow. And the LG easily laid bare the difference between Tisdale's pinkish complexion and Vanessa Hudgens's olive skin tone.
Standard-def programs looked exceptionally clean with only modest application of the Noise Reduction control, which did its job without causing notable loss of detail. Good DVD transfers, like The Fast and the Furious Collector's Edition, retained the realistic highlights I saw on HD material with virtually no evidence of mosquito noise or jaggies.
Meanwhile, clips from various test discs proved that the set's TruMotion processing was highly effective at smoothing judder on slow camera pans and retaining detail in fast-moving objects. But it could also introduce artifacts under some conditions, such as the unnaturally jerky head movements of an FBI agent in a scene from Furious and obvious moiré distortion in some car parts in another scene. (Both of these effects disappeared when TruMotion was turned off.) Though these incidents were few and far between, I mostly kept TruMotion off and engaged only its Low setting when the program material seemed to call for it.
At around $2,600 on the street, the 47LG60 is among the pricier 47-inch LCDs out there. But this is a fine TV that offers unique styling, outstanding color, and superior video processing that was deft at handling day-to-day standard-def material - something critically important yet overlooked in many TVs. And while there might be other sets that deliver deeper blacks, I found the picture punchy, dynamic, and engaging. Now, what else has the inheritor of the great Zenith tradition got up its sleeve?
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