The LH50 series is LG’s 200Hz LCD TV range. However, it uses a slightly different method of delivering 200Hz than its competitors. Rather than insert frames to create smoother motion, it uses backlight control to insert black frames instead. The result is great but on-par with its competitors rather than a point to set them apart. At a native resolution of 1920×1080 it handles 1080p images beautifully and without any visual aberrations and the design and sound quality from the speakers is superb.
We found very few flaws when testing this unit. The only major complaint that can be aimed at it would be that its backlights tend to make solid blacks (like letterbox bars) look a little gray. However, when watching a film, the blacks within the image don’t suffer as much. They aren’t as pure black as you would see from an LED TV or Plasma but they are still quite impressive. The other issue we found is really more a nitpick than anything else. In our Spears and Munsil tests on Blu-ray, we found that with 200Hz turned on, it had a little trouble de-interlacing. However, since we found no de-interlacing problems when testing actual film content, this result doesn’t seem to have an impact on image quality from what we can tell.
We tested 1080p content by viewing “Speed Racer” and “The Dark Knight” on Blu-Ray. We also tested with 1080p games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 over HDMI. The result was impressive. Colours were reproduced well and, as mentioned earlier, blacks were great. There were no contrast problems to speak of and the image looked crisp and clear. We didn’t experience any colour shift when viewing the screen off-centre although the backlight does tend to make blacks look greyer the more off-centre you are viewing. It is also able to display 1080p Blu-ray at 24 frames per second.
The 200Hz setting handles motion well when viewing sport or television programs but for movies we preferred to turn it off or set it to its lowest setting. While it did a good job of removing motion blur and eliminating judder, it also made films look too artificial for our taste. This may be different for you though, and tends to be a personal preference for most viewers.
Watching standard definition content was quite good as well. There was a little more noise than we generally see on most televisions but it wasn’t overt and doesn’t detract from the viewing experience. Colour reproduction was also excellent when scaling 576p video and there was no contrast stepping to speak of. On factory default settings there was a little oversharpening resulting in a halo effect on edges but it was easily corrected using the on-screen calibration options. We also recommend you decrease the brightness a little and up the contrast for optimal image quality.
This unit also has power saving options which decrease the intensity of the backlights. There are three options, each of which dims the backlights by a little more. We found that the low and mid level options didn’t decrease the image quality all that much but setting it to the highest option made the picture a little too dark.
The connection options on the LH50 series are fairly standard these days. It has three HDMI ports, two Component, two Composite and a 15pin Dsub port for PC connection. It also has a USB slot which allows video, image and music playback. There is also a optical audio passthrough and a 3.5mm jack for PC audio input.
The speakers produce high fidelity audio and are capable of high volume with very little distortion. At the highest volume, the bass starts to overpower the mid-tones but unless you are hard of hearing, it is highly unlikely you will ever need to listen to it that loud. At mid-volume there is a good level of treble and mid-tones but like any two speaker set up, bass is slightly lacking. Naturally, like any flat panel television, if you are looking for awesome audio you will need a surround sound system but for built in speakers, these do the job nicely.
Even though LED TV and Plasma currently offer the best image quality when it comes to flat panel televisions, regular backlit LCD is still the more affordable option and for the price, this panel is definitely worth considering. You may find the 200Hz a little off putting like we did, so check a movie running on it at the store. If you don’t need the motion control, there are other less expensive options on the market.