- Excellent 1080p and 1080i performance, Integrated HDTV tuner and DVR functionality, Attractive design, Wide array of connection options
- Pixelation and over-sharpening at 720p resolution, Washed out colours, Pixelation and interpolation artefacts in standard definition, Sub-standard PC mode
The LG 47LB2DE is a 1080p TV that performs well in 1080-line resolutions, but struggles with all others. The image quality issues in lower resolutions should be taken into consideration if you're considering purchasing this model.
Price$ 5,999.00 (AUD)
The LG 47LB2DE is a 47in LCD TV with a native resolution of 1920x1080. In addition to having two HDMI ports and support for 1080p content, it also has an integrated HDTV tuner and a 160GB hard drive, which allow you to record TV on-the-fly or to pause a live TV show.
Throughout our lengthy testing procedure, a pattern emerged in the results. The higher the resolution of our source content, the better the TV was able to handle the image. Since this is a 1080p TV, its ability to display content at 1080p and 1080i resolutions was excellent. However, as we did the 720p tests, it got worse. By the time the 576p standard definition tests were complete, the results were downright mediocre.
The 47LB2DE is a brilliant concept; it offers everything you need in one neat and attractive package. Unfortunately, a little work is needed to bolster the image quality so that it can confidently compete in the high-end sector of the market.
To test the TV's ability to display 1080p content, we ran selected scenes from Casino Royale on Blu-ray. The overall image quality was excellent, but it wasn't as good as some other high-end TVs we have tested. There was a little more noise in the image than we would have liked and a minor degree of pixelation on curved surfaces. This isn't a huge problem from a comfortable viewing distance; nonetheless, it's still an issue to consider. The colour and black levels were both accurate and the panel displayed no motion issues to speak of.
We performed 1080i tests using HD DVD versions of The Matrix and King Kong. While both also looked great, there was a little more noise than there was at 1080p. It wasn't excessive by any means, but having seen these HD DVDs on superior units, we instantly identified the shortcomings of this panel. If you're looking to pick up this TV for its 1080p capabilities, you will not be disappointed. It has very minor image quality problems, but for most users, this will not be a concern.
Unfortunately, the 720p gaming tests weren't so kind. Using the Xbox 360 via a component connection, we played levels of Tony Hawk's Project 8 and BioShock. The results deflated our enthusiasm for the panel, especially after its favourable results in the 1080p tests. The image quality dropped noticeably with hard, pixelated edges both on curved surfaces, straight edges and diagonal lines. There was marked over-sharpening, which was made more noticeable when combined with the pixelation issue. We attempted to remove the over-sharpening, using the on-screen tool, but to no avail. These issues don't make the panel unusable, but they are certainly distracting and are not an accurate representation of the source material. If you plan to buy this panel for gaming, stick to 1080i or 1080p resolutions.
At standard definition, the image quality took another step backwards. We viewed the lobby scene from The Matrix on standard definition DVD. The colours looked washed out, with much of the green in the image lost to warmer tones. Details were lost to the pixelation issue which, at this resolution, was quite overt. Again, the image was usable, but the amount of interpolation artefacts, combined with the low-detail images, made it a fairly unpleasant viewing experience for us. This is not an unexpected result. It's very common for 1080p panels to perform poorly in standard definition. To display the 576 lines of a DVD, the panel needs to double the lines of information. In the process, certain details are lost and new information is created that may not be warranted, nor desirable. If you have an extensive DVD collection, you may want to pick up a high definition player that can also upscale DVDs to 1080p. This is the only way we would be satisfied when watching DVDs on the 47LB2DE.
The unit's integrated DVR (digital video recorder) function is implemental well. At any time, you can press the record button on the remote control and whatever is on screen will be recorded to the hard drive. This not only works with TV broadcasts, but with any analogue video signal, as well. If you are watching TV, you can pause and rewind live TV using this function. You can also use the scheduler to record programs at a later time and date. The image quality of recorded programs is split into three groups; the default preset is "Best", but you can lower the quality to preserve hard drive space if you wish. Unfortunately, even at the highest image quality, the recorded images were not as good as they looked when viewed live. This is most likely due to the difficulties of recording high resolution broadcasts on-the-fly, but we have seen it accomplished on similar devices with more success.
For our final tests, we connected the unit to a PC via the D-Sub connector using the maximum supported resolution of 1920x1080. Unfortunately, the results were not inspiring. The desktop exhibited a great deal of over-sharpening, which resulted in a halo effect around all icons. We were able to reduce this using the on-screen calibration tools, but it could not be entirely negated. In addition, the entire desktop was somewhat out of focus, making it look soft.
When we ran DisplayMate Video Edition, we found areas in which the PC mode excels, and others in which it disappoints. The colour and greyscale were both excellent, with no discolouration and a smooth blend from black to white, without stepping. Since we were testing at the native resolution, we found no interpolation banding in the horizontal and vertical resolution tests, but there were some noticeable issues in resolution tests with fine details. The focus matrix and moire tests both exhibited misaligned pixels, making the image look noisy.
In addition, the speed of the panel was strained when connected to a PC. Moving the mouse resulted in a high level of trailing and, as the cursor moved across textures involving fine details, it was met with a cloud of pixel artefacts, which would dance around it. Switching between images during testing also revealed the speed problem; there was a marked delay in one screen being removed and the next being drawn. While it's great that this panel supports a full 1920x1080 desktop resolution (unlike other 1080p TVs we have reviewed), in PC mode, its image quality is sub-standard. Those looking for a TV to connect to a Media Centre PC should look elsewhere.
The design of the unit is quite attractive with a glossy piano-black finish and clean lines. The remote control is a little confusing, but with some old-fashioned trial and error, it shouldn't be too hard to learn. Its speakers produced excellent sound, but tended to exhibit a loss of detail at high volumes, particularly in the high treble registers. They are easily on-par with most TVs on the market though, and aren't a detractor to the overall quality of the unit. The connections at the rear of the panel support a wide array of ports; it features two HDMI, two component, two composite and a D-Sub port for PC connectivity.
Overall, the LG 47LB2DE is a 1080p TV that performs well in 1080-line resolutions, but struggles with all others. With a built-in HDTV tuner and DVR, it's a one-stop home theatre and free-to-air TV solution. However, its image quality issues at lower resolutions, together with the poor PC mode, should be taken into consideration if you're considering purchasing this model.
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