LG 55lw650t

The 55LW650T's headline attraction is its passive 3D playback (or Film-Type Patterned Retarder 3D, to use LG's technical terminology) and the seven polarised 3D glasses it ships with.

While active 3D systems work by combining sequential images with electronic, shuttering glasses, passive sets produce left and right-eye images simultaneously, then use polarised glasses to pull them together in order to create an illusion of depth.

Passive is the technique you'll encounter in most cinemas and has been around far longer than its rival. LG's new FPR approach replaces the glass substrate 3D 'filter' found in previous passive screens with a thin film placed on the front of the screen.

This method is significantly cheaper than the glass substrate approach. So, while the benefit of passive 3D's cheap and cheerful glasses was rather lost with LG's earlier 47LD950 because of the expense of making the panel, the FPR technology in the 55LW650T reinforces the cheapness of the glasses (at just £2 each for extra pairs).

To give this some context, the 55LW650T can be yours for £2,160, whereas Panasonic's active 3D, 55-inch TX-P55VT30B plasma TV, for example, costs at least £3,000 with only two pairs of glasses included and further pairs costing around £100 a pop.

It is also well worth noting that Sky has just revealed a deal whereby subscribers can claim as much as £400 cash back on three of LG's new passive 3D models: the 42-inch 42LW450U (£100), the 47LW550T (£200), and the 55LW650T (£400).

Much is also being made of the fact that you can use the same polarised glasses used by most UK 3D cinemas, not to mention the fact that passive technology is flicker-free and relatively free from the crosstalk or 'double ghosting' that plagues active sets.

Passive glasses, meanwhile, are lighter and less cumbersome than active ones and a recent investigation by the Beijing Ophthalmology Research Institute found that FPR causes less eye fatigue than active-shutter systems.

Not that passive is perfect, with rival brands citing its compromised resolution as a major flaw, but more of that later.

Neither is it the only interesting feature this TV carries. For instance, it's also the proud owner of LG's radically revamped Smart TV system. Press the blue Home button on the 55LW650T's remote and you get a bold new onscreen menu containing a startling amount of information. On the left side you get a decent-sized box showing the TV channel you were watching, beneath which there are smallish boxes for choosing which input you want to watch accessing the TV's main set-up menus and electronic programme guides.

Along the bottom of the screen are a series of large, attractive icons providing access to various multimedia tools. These include the LG Apps store, an open web browser, Media Link for accessing multimedia files stored on any PC or Mac via free multimedia platform PLEX, plus a couple of games.

In a central column of the screen, meanwhile, is a list of the five Premium apps. At the time of writing, the BBC iPlayer sits at the top, with the AceTrax movie purchase/rental service below, followed by YouTube, Picasa and Facebook. Clicking on a '+' icon at the top of this list takes you to the full 'premium' apps list, all beautifully presented with big, colourful icons.

These include the woomiTV video gateway platform, vTuner internet radio service, DailyMotion, Google maps, Twitter, iPlayTV and Funspot game 'channels', the viewster service for renting weird and mostly rubbish films, CineTrailer.tv, iConcerts, Al-jazeera, MLB.tv subscription baseball channel, aupeo personal radio service and Accuweather. Completing the list is a Coming Soon icon reminding you that, as with all modern online TV platforms, LG's is a work in progress.

Back on the main Home screen, the final column of this dense but clearly organised page is another link to the LG Apps store. These applications appear on virtual 'shelves' under sections dubbed Hot, New, Top Paid, Top Free and All. It's all extremely easy on the eye, taking the basic smartphone approach and shifting it up another couple of gears to suit a larger TV screen.

You can also search all the apps by genre and all you have to do to download extra apps into the 323MB of available memory space is choose them and input your LG account details. The full list of non-premium apps is almost endless and frequently bizarre, with some of the more sensible highlights including instruction in first aid, heaps of games and a White House app delivering weekly updates and photos from America's first building.

Perhaps surprisingly, the 55LW650T' lacks LG's radical 'single layer' fascia design and its bezel is rather wide by today's standards, making it look every bit of its 55-inch size.

The connections are extensive and include four HDMIs, two USBs (capable of playing JPEGs, MP3s, and MPEG4/DivX files), and a LAN port for accessing the Smart TV and MediaLink function. So slim is the TV that adaptors are required for some connections, such as the component video input, but all the necessary adaptors are supplied.

As with the vast majority of other slim TVs, the 55LW650T is build around edge LED technology, in this case supported by local dimming, whereby clusters of the backlight diodes can have their luminance controlled individually to boost contrast.

Turning to the set's 3D features, as well as the ability to play both Sky's side-by-side and Blu-ray's alternate-frame 3D sources (the active Blu-ray ones have to be converted into a passive output) there's a 2D to 3D converter and you can adjust the depth and viewpoint of the 3D image to suit your tastes.

The array of picture adjustments LG has included on its Imaging Science Foundation-approved set is impressive. Highlights include adjustments for the strength of LG's TruMotion movement processing, multiple settings for the LED local dimming, all manner of noise reduction settings and types.

Provided you've got one of the ISF modes chosen from the picture preset list, you can also tweak two and 10-point gamma fine-tuning, contrast and brightness adjustments for the red, green and blue colour elements, plus saturation and tint adjustments for the three secondary colours as well as the primaries.