Viewing Review: An underrated full-array LED set - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
An underrated full-array LED set Edit
by thestumper Combined Rating: 4.6
I've had the LG 55LM9600 for about two months now and thought I'd share some of my impressions. This was a 2012 model, but there are a handful of them floating around out there. Internet reviews...
Pros Cons
  • Rich colors, good black levels, sharp, detailed picture, passive 3D, IPS panel
  • Spotty quality control, high price at release
I've had the LG 55LM9600 for about two months now and thought I'd share some of my impressions. This was a 2012 model, but there are a handful of them floating around out there. Internet reviews of this set have been mixed - CNET essentially panned it complaining of multiple issues, not the least of it being the $3300 MSRP price tag that put it near the top of the food chain from a price perspective. However, my research led me to a number of Asian and European reviews in which the set was lauded for it's picture quality and aesthetics. Who to believe? As always, you have to see it for yourself, and after viewing it at BB in person, I took it home for further scrutiny at the bargain price of $1300 - I figured for that money, I might as well give it a shot. So far, I have been pleased with it on almost every front, and below are my extremely non-professional observations during my two months of ownership:

Value: At an MSRP of $3300, I admit that the value might be questionable. Based on the wide scope of reviews, I can surmise that this set suffered from some QC problems. If you got a good one, value was "OK" and if you got a bad one, value was extremely poor. In my case, I paid appx. 1/3 MSRP and got a good one - value for me is off the charts. It really depends on what you paid and your perspective.

Color: Extremely rich and accurate. It took me a LONG time to get the set calibrated to where I wanted it, but I often describe it as the most "plasma-like" LED picture I have seen. Colors are warm, rich, and accurate but you have to put the time in to get it right. I used a combination of trial and error and the Disney WOW disc. The built in THX Cinema presets are quite good for darker rooms, but I found a better balance for every day viewing by sampling some of the settings posted on the internet and then tweaking them to suit my needs. Again, it took a few weeks to get it right where I wanted it, but someone who actually knows what they are doing could probably nail it down within a couple of days. You just have to put the time in.

Brightness: As with any LED, you can configure the 9600 to scorch your retinas, but doing so results in predictably poor results. Unfortunately, I'm guessing this is the fate of many LED sets sold to customers that simply plug it in and turn it on. I was able to configure different presets/modes to suit most viewing needs, but you won't get everything this set is capable of unless you turn it down.

Glare: There is some glare. My viewing room is generally dim, but there is a window directly across from the TV. I need some blackout shades, because the pull downs are translucent and pass enough light for it to be irritating during the day. The panels overall brightness mitigates this to some extent, but it can still get irritating depending on the source material.

Black Levels: It's not plasma; let's get that out of the way up front. A number of reviews complain specifically about clouding and flashlighting; I have neither of those issues save for some extremely minor light bleed in one corner. I don't notice it during 95% of my viewing - even 15:9 with black bars - but it is fair to mention it because this was apparently a big problem with a number of the sets. Aside from that, blacks are rich and almost inky depending on the source material. Shadow detail is excellent for me, and the Star Trek scene mentioned in the CNET review is as close to perfect on my set as I'm likely to find with LED. I've experimented with the local dimming feature and find that it definitely enhances black performance even further. Perhaps this has something to do with the full-array panel?

Motion: I see no blurring or artifacting of any sort, but this might just be my eyes - everyone perceives these things differently and has specific sensitivity to them. There were some complaints about this in some reviews, so it's worth mentioning, but i watch a LOT of sports (baseball, football, racing) and have never once seen a motion-related problem in complicated scenes when things are moving quickly.

3d Performance: The LM9600 leverages passive 3D (as do all LG sets I am aware of) and for me, this is a bonus. I don't watch a lot of 3D content, but when I do, the color and depth seem good and the passive glasses (six sets included) are comfortable and perform well. It's not the best 3D I have seen, but there's enough pop to keep the kids entertained and the glasses are cheap enough that I don't have an aneurism if something gets broken. No batteries to worry about either.

Gaming: I'll admit it - I like to game :-) This set does have some input lag compared to my DLP, but it doesn't hinder my performance. In most games, I don't notice it, the exception being F1 2010; I notice the car felt a little less "sharp". I was able to re-tune my wheel settings and now all is well, and I'm happy to concede that for the incredible color and depth the set lends to the games.

Ergonomics/Aethetics: Pretty standard issue for TV's these days, but everyone raved about the thin bezel and nice stand when it was released. I have it on the stand at the moment, and while I wish it were larger (don't we all....) it looks good sitting there :-) All ports are easily accessible and well marked.

Apps: The LG interface on the LM9600 is good but not great. It is intuitive, and all the standard issues apps are present. That being said, I'm still not sold on the 'magic remote'. It has some accuracy issues and I find myself shaking it at times to get control back. It all works, and generally works well, but it does get frustrating when it takes me longer to select something that I feel it should have. I have apps on my PS3 and I'm considering a stand alone Blu-Ray player tha will probably end up having them as well, so it's not a big deal. Plus, it's nice for my wife and kids to be able to access apps from the set because they don't have to turn on multiple devices and deal with more remotes.

Summary: I really like this set for $2000. For $1300, I LOVE it. It's not without flaws, but my set has performed exceptionally well. I think it's a shame that LG had what appears to be some pretty severe QC issues with this set - it had the potential to be benchmark TV. As it stands - I feel it was a near miss at it's price point on release. It didn't help that some of the more well known US review sites either got bad units or simply didn't take the time to configure the set properly (CNET's posted settings for the LM9600 are a joke...). So what we have here is a diamond in the rough. If you're fortunate enough to get a good panel and a bargain price, you'll be thrilled with it providing you put in the effort to calibrate it correctly. If not, you'll return it within less than a week. There may be a few of these out there, and they are worth considering at the right price, but make sure you have a return window that allows you to spend some time with the set and really learn all the settings.
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