Pros + Great picture, Really outstanding. Crisp, deep blacks, bright
+ Okay for TV speakers
+ Built-in APPS for Netflix, Hulu+, You-Tube, Pandora, and more...
+ WIDI display features
Cons - Only 3 HDMI ports
- No Amazon app at present
Summary PICTURE: Really outstanding. Crisp, deep blacks, bright, with lots of pre-sets depending on your tastes. We use this TV in our bedroom, and it's much better than our prior TV (a Vizio VT420M, which was no slouch).Edit:
SOUND: Okay for TV speakers. It's not as good as the setup in our living room, where we have five channel sound through an amplifier, but, really, it's fine for our bedroom.
NETWORK CONNECTIVITY: This TV is wired directly to our router, but I tested the wireless just to see how it worked and it was trivial to set up and connect.
OTHER PORTS: It has only 3 HDMI ports and they are located on the side of the TV rather than the back. This is both good--it's easier to connect the blasted things up--and bad--you've got visible cables dangling from the side of the TV. Personally, I'd prefer the ports on the back, but this is a minor thing. Also, I could have used another HDMI port or two. We've got FOUR devices to connect--cable box, Roku, blue-ray player, DVD changer--and only three ports, so we have to use a switch for the blue-ray/DVD changer. Eventually, we'll be able to eliminate the Roku, though, and the switch is an inexpensive model (<$20) from Amazon, so that's not a big deal. I've also split the cable signal, and used coax into the RF port on the back, so I've also got basic cable. This would be useful if the TV supported "picture-in-picture," but it doesn't appear to do so.
The TV also has component video, digital audio out, and USB ports, none of which I've used.
APPS. This was one of the main attractions of this TV. It has built-in APPS for Netflix, Hulu+, You-Tube, Pandora, and a number of other online services. The Netflix interface is clean and easy to use. The Hulu interface is similar to the one on Roku, with all the usual flaws that implies: it's hard to navigate, difficult to search, and regularly freezes and has to be restarted. I like the programming on Hulu, but their interfaces need serious work on all platforms, including the PC.
Other than the buggy Hulu app, we've found no latency or other problems with Netflix or the Pandora app.
There are games on this machine. I haven't tried them and don't expect I will. Indeed, with the WIDI display, other apps seem frivolous.
WIDI Display: This is one of the coolest features of this device. If your PC supports "WIDI display," you can redirect your PC's video and sound to your TV. I've tested this, and it works great. It's particularly great for HULU, where some of the content is restricted to "web only." The limited functionality of web browsers on smart TVs generally won't play this restricted content. However, it plays on my PC and--when I redirect my PC to the TV--it plays there as well! This feature works great, although there is some modest degradation of the display quality as compared with viewing HULU using the app on the TV.
One comment on my prior, a Vizio VT420M. This is a fine TV and worked well, but for two things. First, the sound from my Roku player would start to gargle after about 20 minutes. Turning the TV on and off would fix this, which strongly suggests a "handshake" problem between the ROKU box and the HDMI chip on the TV, and research on the web confirmed this suspicion. I could fix this by snaking RCA sound and component video to my TV, but that brings up another challenge with the Vizio. The design for changing inputs requires two choices, one of which scrolls through video inputs. There's no single IR signal to the TV to say "change to component video" or "change to HDMI port 2." That means that Harmony remotes--or other universal remotes--need to know the current "state" of the video input in order to scroll to the correct new input. Of course, there's no way for the remote to "know" that, and hence the TV is constantly on the wrong input and has to be manually switched. If you go back and forth between online and cable content, this is truly annoying, especially if your partner is tech-challenged and can never figure out how to "fix" the inputs. Thus, I gave away my old Vizio to a co-worker and purchased the new LG device. I did this for the above two reasons, but the improvement in picture quality alone made the purchase worthwhile.
CONFIGURATION: a snap. I think my tech-phobic partner could have done it.
INTERFACE: more or less intuitive.
REMOTE: The enclosed remote works fine and has all the required buttons. I have another LG TV with the "magic" remote, which uses an RF interface instead of IR. I HATE the magic remote and infinitely prefer the conventional IR interface. An RF "magic remote" is available for this TV, but you don't need it. I know some people like it, but I'm not one of them. The "mouse" is difficult to control, and it relies on pop-up menus on-screen. Since the mouse is difficult to control, the pop-up menus are frustrating. I'd rather use buttons on a remote.
As an aside, I use a programmable Harmony remote (the 520) to control my devices. It works fine, but I had to teach the remote the "back" button that's essential for navigating the on-screen menus on the smart TV applications. That's not a problem with LG, of course, but it is something missing from the otherwise impressive Harmony database.
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So...overall, we really like this TV. The picture is awesome, the apps are satisfactory, and it's easy to control.
Updated on Dec 19, 2013
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