Given the potential extent of this compromise in today’s HD-obsessed age, the 47LD950’s £2k price perhaps looks a little high too. But then you do have to set against this the fact that you’re not spending extra on 3D glasses, and the fact that actually, making the necessary screen technology to deliver a passive 3D picture isn’t as straightforward or affordable as you might think.
Looking beyond the 47LD950’s 3D intrigues, we’re slightly disappointed for two grand to find that it uses just standard CCFL backlighting rather than some form of LED. Another surprising disappointment is that there’s no Freeview HD tuner - just a standard definition Freeview one. Plus there’s no LAN jack, which in turn means no DLNA PC compatibility, and no means of accessing the LG NetCast online service available through all of LG’s other, similarly priced TVs.
The set is thankfully not a total multimedia numpty, though. In fact, it can play DivX HD video, JPEG photos and MP3 audio files direct from USB storage devices should you wish it too.
The 47LD950 also benefits from a 200Hz engine (or a scanning backlight plus 100Hz, to be more precise!), and it’s good to see the set adopting the same inspired, near foolproof onscreen menu system found elsewhere in LG’s range.
Even better, the 47LD950 comes with the support of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF). This means it has enough calibration tools - colour management, processing adjustments, brightness and contrast controls - to be professionally calibrated by a trained ISF engineer should you wish to invest extra money to ensure you’re getting the very best out your 47LD950.
As hoped, the 47LD950’s passive approach really does chime rather nicely with Sky’s 3D broadcast. For the first time with any 3D TV to date, in fact, we were troubled by practically no crosstalk noise at all when watching Sky, a fact that is enough in itself to make Sky’s broadcasts immediately look more engaging, immersive and crisp than usual. Especially as the lack of any shuttering in the LG’s glasses helps its 3D pictures look impressively bright, colourful and stable.
For a minute we really found ourselves thinking that the 47LD950’s passive technology was going to make a mockery of the whole active shutter system. But then we tried watching a full HD 3D Blu-ray, and the 47LD950’s passive 3D bandwagon shuddered to a crunching halt.
Basically, it just doesn’t work, for two pretty serious reasons. First and worst, the passive system – at least as employed by the 47LD950 – seems to lose something substantial in depth terms during the translation from alternating 1,920 x 1,080 frames to the lower resolution side-by-side passive approach. This problem presents itself as an out-of-focus look to background material while foreground objects look OK – a discrepancy that quickly finds our eyes becoming tired as they keep trying to correct a problem that actually can’t be corrected.