LG 47LD950 review

LG takes an old-fashioned approach to 3D - with some surprising results

LG 47LD950
The 47LD950 is designed for those wanting to get a taste of 3D without the limitations on glasses

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LG 47ld950

It's nice to find all the 47LD950's 3D tech all built into the TV and included within its (rather hefty) £2,500 asking price, rather than requiring any optional extra kit. And it's also nice to find LG ramming home the point about the cheapness of its glasses by including four with the TV – all of which come in cute little leather-like cases that feel more expensive than the green-framed glasses themselves.

However, before we go much further we need to get into the 'catch' hinted at earlier. For there's actually a very good reason why most of the AV world is pushing the less cost-effective active shutter 3D technology: resolution.

You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that if you adopt LG's approach, of effectively having two images slightly offset from each other on the screen at the same time, then clearly you have to share the screen's available pixels out between these two images.

So inevitably the resulting pictures aren't going to contain the same pixel resolution as active shutter images, where single, full HD frames are cycled alternately for each eye so fast that your brain runs them together to produce the illusion of three dimensions.

On the upside, LG's passive approach lends itself on paper quite nicely to the 'side by side' broadcast format delivered by Sky's 3D channel.

Turning to other features of the 47LD950, it's a 'traditional' liquid crystal screen in that it uses CCFL backlighting rather than the edge or direct LED systems favoured by all the other LCD-based 3D TVs we've seen to date.

It's also distinguished by 200Hz processing – actually 100Hz plus a scanning backlight – included to boost motion resolution and fluidity. This should hopefully prove helpful in keeping motion clear in a 3D environment.

Plenty of tweaks

In common with nearly every current LG TV, the 47LD950 is prodigiously stocked with picture fine-tuning options. These include a solid degree of colour management, as well as gamma settings, various noise reduction systems, contrast and black level boosters, the ability to adjust the potency of the motion processing and a processor for enhancing the edges of objects in low contrast images.

We'd suggest you handle some of these features – especially the edge enhancing and noise reducing systems – with kid gloves, as they can make pictures look worse, rather than better, if clumsily applied, especially where HD is concerned.

But overall the 47LD950's set up flexibility is commendable, to the extent that the TV has been endorsed by the independent Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) as a set that could be calibrated by one of its engineers.

Not that the 47LD950 has forgotten that most people aren't professional TV engineers; the set also includes a helpful picture wizard tool that guides you through the picture calibration process with a few basic, but useful, test signals.

The 47LD950's feature count is mostly impressive, though there are a couple of notable disappointments. The conspicuous absence of an Ethernet port immediately alerts you to the fact that it doesn't have a built-in Freeview HD tuner.

Instead you get just standard-definition Freeview – a surprising oversight on such an otherwise forward-thinking TV. We can only imagine it has something to do with the set's relatively long evolution from the passive sets LG used for Sky's 3D events in pubs and clubs back in April 2010.

The lack of an Ethernet port also means there's no DLNA PC connectivity, nor any means of jacking into LG's new NetCast online service – all things you might reasonably have expected to find on a 47in set costing £2,500.

The screen doesn't completely ignore multimedia, though, for it provides a D-Sub PC input, and a USB port capable of playing DivX HD video as well as the usual JPEG and MP3 suspects. Joining the USB and PC port are four v1.4 HDMI inputs, as well as an RS-232 port that will help you integrate the TV into a wider home AV network.

One final 'feature' of the 47LD950 we should comment on is its design. Its CCFL backlight means it's not as slim round the back as many of the current 3D generation, and its bezel is pretty chunky too by today's standards. Though the rich, polished finish of this bezel, together with a centimetre or so of transparency at the TV's outer 'wings', ensures that it's still a very attractive bit of kit.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.