LG’s 42 LW650T looks much like any other extremely thin LED TV. It’s glossy black with a translucent plastic frame which may or may not be in fashion this week. But there’s one aspect of this set that’s unlike any other we’ve tested to date: it features the latest iteration of LG’s Passive 3D technology. And it’s got rival makers of Active Shutter 3D tellies in a tizz.
LG 42LW650T: Build and features
The LW650T may be thin enough to audition for Britain’s Next Top Model, but one unhappy consequence of its slight frame is that there’s no room for side mounted inputs; the nearest are ridged on the back panel. This makes casual USB hook-ups impossible if you wall mount.
Backside connections include four HDMIs, two USBs, a CI card slot, component and Scart via adaptors (supplied), 15-pin PC D-Sub, Ethernet and a digital audio output. There’s also an RS232 control port and some legacy-friendly phonos.
Naturally, the set is DLNA compliant and network video file support is good. The screen identified all the NAS boxes on our test network, playing back an assortment of AVI, MKV, AVCHD and H.264 files. Music playback is restricted to MP3s.
This is also the first TV we’ve seen with LG’s new Smart TV portal. It’s well stocked at launch, with YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Facebook apps the tip of an iceberg of functionality. It’s also from here that you can access Media Link, LG’s new Media Server client.
LG 42LW650T: 3D picture quality
This Passive 3D TV doesn’t require expensive Active Shutter 3D glasses to work. A striped filter on the panel itself splits left/right images. It’s a simple and effective system that doesn’t impose penalties on image brightness or colour fidelity.
The catch is that all 3D images are displayed at half the horizontal resolution of the incoming signal. That means is any diagonal or curved objects exhibit pronounced jaggies, because there’s not enough horizontal resolution to smooth the image. Look into a white object and you can clearly see the striped line structure. On the plus side, traditional double imaging effects are negligible, as long as you don’t deviate from a square-on sweet spot.
LG’s Passive glasses are light and easy to wear. If you do sit on a pair accidentally it’s not the end of the world. Seven pairs are supplied in the box.
LG 42LW650T: 2D picture quality and audio
Out of the box, our review set delivered a highly processed and unnatural looking picture. However, some judicious tweaking quickly improves things. Make sure you turn off the set’s Eco setting, it kills dynamics.
Duly tweaked, the TV delivers an acceptable if unremarkable HD picture which is at its best with Blu-ray sources and HD broadcasts. Motion resolution is average, at around 900 lines, and the LED back light is predictably uneven.
The two channel 10w speakers system is enthusiastic, but lacks a subwoofer. There’s a faux surround mode that adds little to the listening experience.
Overall, the 42 LW650T is an intriguing proposition. The brand’s new Smart TV portal offers a tempting range of functionality and stylistically the set looks the part. There’s no doubt that ‘Cinema 3D’ suffers in comparison to Active Shutter when it comes to absolute clarity, but that may not matter when you factor in the huge cost savings you’ll make on 3D glasses. Those looking for a fun, inexpensive 3D experience should give it a whirl.
LG 42WL650T price: £1000, link LG