I started my critical viewing on the LG with some cable TV and liked what I saw. A CBS rebroadcast of a tennis match from last year's U.S. Open was striking in terms of both the smooth, noise-free quality of the image and the natural rendition of color qualities I'm accustomed to seeing from good plasma displays. Roger Federer's pastel pink shirt stood out as it might in real life but didn't look excessively loud or hyped. It was easy to delineate the difference in skin tone between Federer and his more tanned opponent, Mardy Fish, and Fish's white shirt and headband exhibited good neutrality, with no obvious color tint. This was a good start.
Of course, Blu-ray Discs provided the best fodder for evaluating this set. Thanks to the local-dimming feature, allblack test patterns were undetectable, as if the TV were turned off. But I was also surprised at how well the LG could pull out detail in shadows while still maintaining pure black at the extremes of its contrast range. A viewing of Pirate Radio, a movie about the seafaring radio DJs who gave Great Britain’s youth their only daily dose of rock & roll during the mid-1960s, gave me plenty to look at, including an opening nighttime shot of a row of suburban Tudor homes. In this shot, moonlight illuminates the front of the houses and their white window frames, while their black slanted roofs cascade into the darkness. Details such as the shingles of even the darkest roof were visible against the even blacker night sky behind it, and highlights in the brick facades, the orange interior lights, and the strip of green grass that lined the street revealed rich color and fine detail. The film’s period wardrobe, worn by a large ensemble cast, also provided a great visual treat. These outfits ran the gamut: white shirts with lavender flowers, bright orange paisleys, a fuzzy olive-green shirt with a brown leather vest stitched into the front panels, a minidress with red flowers on a black-and-white checkered background that was mated with oceangreen tights and white ballet slippers. Every scene was a trip down retro lane, and it was all beautifully rendered by the LG.
DVDs sent to the set in 480i-format via the component-video input looked very good thanks to the LG’s excellent deinterlacing, upconversion, and noise reduction. A few scenes I viewed from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone displayed good color and were largely free of any background noise or halos around the edges of objects. Contrast and shadow details were well rendered, and, as with Blu-rays, the black letterbox bars virtually disappeared into the set’s black frame.
If there was one notable flaw in the LG’s otherwise stellar performance, it lied in the set’s high-gloss screen. It was so reflective that glare was noticeable with any light directly hitting the screen from windows or overhead. You’ll need to think twice before putting this set in a bright room.