We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: making a TV really, really skinny is all well and good so long as it doesn’t lead to major compromises in picture quality. After all, for the vast majority of the time you’re looking at a TV’s front, where its pictures are, rather than its rear. So frankly we don’t give a monkey’s if a TV’s posterior is a Vanessa Feltz or a Pippa Middleton, so long as what comes out the front hits the spot.
You probably won’t be too surprised from this introduction to hear that LG’s 47LM960V falls foul of our dislike of ‘style over substance’ TVs. Though it must be said that its style is truly exceptional! For despite using direct LED lighting - where the LED array sits behind the screen - rather than edge LED lighting, the 47LM960V delivers a bezel so skinny at under 4mm that you can barely see it, and a rear that sticks out just 38mm. Truly stunning.
The 47LM960V’s rear depth is barely half that of a typical direct LED TV, and is achieved thanks to LG’s Nano technology, whereby a diffusion sheet is introduced in front of the LED lights so that they need less throw distance to illuminate the screen.
However, it seems to us that it’s also this Nano technology that’s chiefly responsible for the feelings of disappointment we’ve felt with the 47LM960V’s picture performance.
Here’s the deal. Usually when we test a direct LED TV rather than an edge LED TV, we expect that set to deliver as pretty much its main picture starting point a superb black level response. After all, the most obvious advantage of going the more expensive direct LED route is that it can give you true local dimming, whereby the light levels of different parts of the image can be adjusted on a much more local and therefore accurate basis than is possible with edge LED lighting.
This should result in a much richer contrast range and much deeper black levels than you can get with any edge LED TV. Yet on the 47LM960V, this just doesn’t happen. During very dark sequences the 47LM960V’s pictures look rather grey and noticeably low on shadow detail, meaning that you can find yourself squinting to try and pick out even key picture information at times. Given that LG’s set does definitely feature local dimming, we have to think that it’s the light diffusing sheet the 47LM960V uses that’s causing the TV’s contrast performance to suffer.
Tellingly we’ve actually seen edge LED TVs produce better black level performances than the 47LM960V. The Sony 46HX853 delivers far more convincing dark scenes than this LG set, for instance, despite costing a massive £900 less. Come to think of it, we felt more satisfied with the black levels from LG’s own mid-range LM660 and LM670 models than we do with those from the 47LM960V. Which isn’t exactly great news when the 47in 47LM960V costs not far shy of £2,500.