LGs 60PM6700 plasma is a beautifully designed, 3D capable, ISF and THX certified mid-line television. The thin, attractive bezel design, along with the mirror like glass screen surface, help it to look stylish in nearly any setting. Cleveland Plasma owner Chris Majoros called to let me know he had LGs latest beauty along with a new model Panasonic on the way, ready for a full calibration and evaluation.
I have had mixed feelings about the last few model lines of LGs plasmas. The PK550 from a couple years ago was a standout value, providing very solid, though not ground breaking, performance at a bargain price. Ironically LGs higher end models and subsequent models tended to not improve real, verifiable performance over the PK550; rather, they added features like 3D or features that supposedly increased performance in one way or another but were found lacking. Surprisingly, measured performance actually diminished in many areas.
Unfortunately, that mirror like screen surface tended to attract my attention in ways that were not always good. In anything but a totally dark room, sharp, distinct reflections distracted me from the 6700s image. Yes, its clean, clear, and 3 dimensional in bright rooms. But thats before the 6700 is turned on. While watching TV, it would be better to have all that crystal clear depth coming from the image, not from reflections. The 6700 is best suited to rooms with good light control.Before calibration:
After loading familiar program material into the Blu Ray player, the 6700s out of the box picture quality was evaluated before making any changes except changing from one picture mode to another.
The 6700 is shipped in a picture mode called APS, which is an energy conscious mode that restricts power usage by limiting light output. While actually not as dark as similar eco modes on some other brands, the image was nonetheless far too dark. Colors seemed naturally toned, though too rich. In other words, red looked a little too red. Dark objects in the image, such as black hair and dark clothing, sunk down into black blobs. Pans and movement had the infamous Soap Opera Effect: they were smoothed to the point of looking fake. The image was bland overall, though there was a decent sense of depth to the image.
Switching to Standard mode, brightness improved tremendously. Pans and motion were also less annoying, and detail in dark shadows was better though it still had a long way to go. However, the picture lacked richness, and flesh tones were pale. Detail looked etched rather than natural, though overall there was decent pop and depth to the image.
THX mode was a disappointment. The image looked washed out, flat, and bland in THX mode. There were signs of good color tone, but flesh tones were somewhat pale. Worst of all, there was a pasty, caked on makeup look in brightly lit lighter skinned faces that I found distracting.
ISF Expert 1 and 2 are capable of being finely tuned by patient and well equipped calibrators, when they can be renamed and locked into ISF Day and Night modes. Even before that calibration, the ISF Expert mode looked less washed out than THX mode, and the colors, while still lacking richness, acquired more depth. The image was fairly natural overall, with a moderate amount of pop and contrast, though some pumping and instability could be seen.Calibration:
The 6700 displays 1080P/24 at 96 Hz, as verified by the sync reading on my Jeti spectroradiometer. It displays other scan rates at 60 Hz, as expected. I was puzzled to find that, in the advanced menu for the ISF Expert mode, the so called 2 point adjustment was actually just 1 point! Thankfully, this bug is not too serious a flaw since there is also a 20 point adjustment, but it still should be addressed. Speaking of 20 point adjustments, I feel that a 20 point is too much of a good thing; 10 points is perfectly adequate and would leave less likelihood of banding and other problems caused by all but the most patient and determined calibrators. LG should eliminate the 20 point adjustments internal test pattern option from their plasmas, since the internal patterns are full screen and are therefore of absolutely no use in adjusting this control.
I was disappointed to find the white balance in 1080P/24 measured significantly different than any other scan rate. The difference was enough to cause a noticeable yellowing to 1080P/24 material when the set was calibrated for 1080i, and conversely there would be visible problems with 1080i (and most others) if the set were calibrated with 1080P/24 input. That can be worked around by calibrating Night mode for 1080P/24 and Day mode for everything else, but who is going to want to give up their separate Day and Night modes to compensate for a design flaw? Are they going to be happy to spend the extra calibration time adjusting the 20 point adjustment twice? Im sure no one
will mind switching back and forth between Day and Night modes depending on the scan rate they are watching.
With 1080P/24 input, black level measured .0228 fL. The 3x3 checkerboard measured .0274 fL black and 17.66 fL white, for a modified ANSI contrast ratio of 645:1.
With 1080i (or any scan rate other than 1080P/24), the black level measured .014 fL and the ANSI checked in at 1067:1, with a black measurement of .018 fL and white at 19.2 fL.
One technique some LG plasma owners have discovered is a hot-rodding procedure to lower the black levels and increase contrast. This procedure is documented on the forums, but its not authorized by LG and will probably void the warranty. Side effects and consequences of taking a new TV apart and adjusting service-only trim pots are a bit of an unknown and should be seriously considered before attempting. Needless to say, this procedure was not attempted on this review sample.
The 6700 showed high susceptibility to image retention with my test patterns, though the set was brand new and break in could alleviate that somewhat.
The screen blanked to a very, very dark black when no picture content was displayed. However, as soon as any content at all was displayed, the entire screens black level rose immediately. I had to trick the 6700 to get the pre-blanked black level measurement.
With familiar Blu Ray program material, the 6700 showed excellent shadow detail. Dark objects in the picture had visible texture and looked very well balanced. The image had an excellent sense of depth and dimensionality; the flat, bland images I saw before calibration were totally gone and replaced with a lifelike envelopment. Skin tones looked natural despite a lingering politeness to the color. Dark scenes in movies are not this TVs strong point, but bright scenes had good pop thanks to the healthy light output.
The 6700 offers a good value, with impressive features and size for the money and very extensive calibration adjustments. The image is quite good overall, especially with sports or bright programming.
Soft drink manufacturers have the right idea when it comes to bringing back old classics; I like the throwback Pepsi that has real sugar like they used to use. The 6700 impressed me as a throwback in its own right: to a solid performer of 2 years ago, LGs own PK550. However, the question must be asked: should two years of technology bring more than 3D and smart features?
LG 60PM6700 2.zip 407.26171875k . file
LG 60PM6700 ISF Day 60_24 Hz input difference.pdf 264.541015625k . file
LG 60PM6700 ISF Day.pdf 264.4423828125k . file