Could there be anything better than coming home from a long day’s work, grabbing a few packets of crisps, plopping down on the couch, and watching a good movie? We think not, and that is probably the reason why the television remains to be the favourite home entertainment device for many.
Yes, we could go to the cinemas, but given the hectic work schedules many of us have these days, the comfort of our own living room is preferred to driving down to the multiplex.
The manufacturers must’ve recognised this need and introduced big screen TVs into our markets. And since the new USP for any entertainment device is interactivity, Smart TVs have been finding spaces in our living rooms of late.
This week, LG’s 55-inch Cinema 3D Smart TV (55LM8600) landed up with Smartbuy, and the need to clear space on the test benches just to accommodate this television was felt. So we plugged our DVD players, hard drives and gaming consoles into the TV and for a change, put our feet up to review a device.
The first thing that we noticed was inevitably the vast expanse of black, which was the screen. A thin 5mm bezel means that you see only the huge screen, and no frame around it. It was not very unexpected though, as the TV is supposed to give cinema-like experience to the user. The higher and bigger variant with an OLED screen sports a 1mm bezel. Only a thin strip of brushed metal and glass runs at the bottom, with the manufacturer’s badge printed on it. The glass panel is only 1.3 inches thick. As we didn’t want the TV to be mounted on the wall, we got a very stylish, chrome plated stand, which LG calls the ‘floating ribbon’ design.
Cinema and 3D experience
Since the USP of this TV is its Cinema quality output, we decided to watch a few movies on it. The first movie that we saw was a 2D HD-DVD print of ‘Terminator Salvation’, through an HDMI supported laptop.
The default picture mode was set as Vivid, which I could easily change to cinema mode. The picture quality was pretty good, but the backlight on the default Cinema mode wasn’t sufficient even when the room had hardly any ambient light. Thankfully, we could easily access and increase the backlight, along with other settings. Upon switching to the Intelligent Sensor mode, the backlight dimmed or pepped up according to the ambient light, which it recognised quite well, making the experience quite headache-free.
Halfway through the movie, we switched on the 2D to 3D conversion mode. The default 3D mode was on Cinema, which didn’t give much depth. Again, we changed the mode first to ‘Sports’ and later to ‘Extreme’. While the Sports 3D mode gave a decent depth to the sci-fi flick, it was the Extreme mode that gave the best output. The TV has options for manual depth control too.
The best part about the 2D to 3D conversion was that the TV rendered the images into 3D with little to no struggle. Even on maximum depth, there were no lags in the 3D conversion. This may be attributed to the 1 GHz dual core onboard CPU and a Mali 400 Quad Core graphic processing unit.
After converting 2D to 3D, we played a full 3D print of ‘Rio’. The difference was evident, as the depth was much better, without any lag . At maximum depth, the screen was on par with the 3D quality we might experience on a bigger screen.
The 55LM8600 TV comes with 4 pairs of 3D glasses, which don’t require any batteries. The glasses too, are quite light and comfortable.
Sadly, as with most flat panel LED/LCD TVs, sound was a bit disappointing. The two 10-watts inbuilt speakers were very clear and had a virtual surround sound output, but couldn’t whet our appetite for a thumping bass experience.
The LG Cinema 3D Smart TV boasts of the Dual-Play gaming, which lets two users use 3D gaming in such a way that each player is capable of viewing only his/her own gaming content without the need for a split screen. This feature, however, requires special glasses which aren’t supplied with the box.
Setting up the TV and connecting it to the local WiFi network was very easy and fast. The browser too was up and running within minutes of setting up the TV. The smartest accessory with this TV is its ‘Magic Remote’. The 3-mode remote supports wand-like motion recognition (which makes on screen typing much easier), voice recognition and a 2-way scroll wheel to navigate while using the browser and other apps too.
One disappointing factor was that the DLNA and WiFi Direct features weren’t user friendly at all. We tried pairing a DLNA certified smartphone to stream videos and photos, but the pairing options didn’t respond properly. To ease things a bit, we also tried to pair it with an LG smartphone as well, which had the Smart Share app installed, but setting up that too led only to troubleshooting.
The LG Cinema 3D Smart TV has just been made Skype-ready, although it isn’t shipped with an inbuilt camera, unlike the Samsung ES8000 which we reviewed some time back.
The LG Cinema 3D Smart TV fulfils the ‘Cinema’ and ‘3D’ part of its name quite well, while we wish the sharing part of its ‘Smart’ factor was a little easier to set up. The 55-inch TV is an extremely good option for bringing the cinema home, but for features like Dual Play gaming and using Skype (and other video chat clients) you will have to invest a little more money into it.