When LG burst out of the traps this year with the UK’s first ‘film pattern retarder’ (FPR) passive 3D TV, the 55in 55LW650T, we weren’t entirely convinced. There were some jagged edges and visible line structure on 3D and 2D images, and its backlight left some parts of supposedly uniform dark scenes looking brighter than others, to distracting effect.
The thing is, though, both these niggles on the 55in screen could be reduced by the smaller screen size of the 47LW650T. Indeed, a test of the 42in LG 42LW550T showed without question that LG’s new 3D technology really could deliver a brilliantly convenient, relaxing and fun alternative to active 3D on a more ‘manageable’ screen size while also achieving decent backlight uniformity.
So the arrival of the 47LW650T has got us genuinely intrigued. Will it prove a few inches too far for LG’s passive 3D technology, or will it show that 42in is not the outer limit of passive 3D’s appeal?
The 47LW650T certainly looks promising, thanks to its polished bezel; minimalist finish; glamorous stand; ‘see-through’ outer trim applied to all four of the TV’s sides; and the extremely slim depth of the panel, especially at its edges.
The 47LW650T’s connections are impressive for the most part, too. As with pretty much all mid-range and higher TVs these days the 47LW650T has, for instance, four HDMIs, all built to the 3D-friendly v1.4 specification.
The 47LW650T is also a pretty high-grade multimedia machine. So as well as the predictable VGA port, you get a pair of USB ports and a LAN port. The two USBs prove capable of playing back a really good selection of video, photo and music file types, including DivX HD, while the LAN allows wired access to either files on a networked DLNA PC or LG’s ever-improving Smart TV platform.
The only pity is that the 47LW650T doesn’t let you use its network options wirelessly unless you stump up extra cash for an optional USB wi-fi dongle. Surely this dongle should be included free with a TV so high up LG’s range these days - or better, wi-fi should really be built into such a high-end set’s main bodywork. Otherwise LG runs the very real risk of purchasers of its Smart TVs never using their key Smart TV features.
Which would be a shame, as over the past 6-8 months LG has transformed its Smart TV service from an ‘also-ran’ into one of the most content-rich and well-presented systems around.
After not one but two long firmware updates to our 47LW650T review sample, a visit to the attractively designed and genuinely useful ‘Smart Hub’ screen - which now provides the jumping off point to all of LG’s multimedia, online and in-TV features and sources - revealed even more content than we found when we reviewed LG’s ‘Nano’ 55LW980T a few weeks ago.
Particularly of interest is the section of ‘Premium’ apps predominantly dedicated to video and social networking services. The full list of these now reads like this: the BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, PlayJam, the Picture Box player, Museum PureScreens HD, You Tube, Blinkbox, Red Bull TV, cinetrailer.tv, ITN, Autocar, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, the Cartoon Network subscription channel, the HiT Entertainment subscription channel, Picasa, and Woomi.
Some of the newest additions may not be familiar to everyone, so briefly: PlayJam offers a selection of simple games (though during our tests we couldn’t access the service due to a ‘network error’); Red Bull TV is a channel providing access to news and mini-documentaries devoted to Red Bull-sponsored sporting events; the Picture Box player is a new subscription movie-on-demand download service; and Museum is an intriguing app that delivers painting exhibitions from famous museums in HD (at the time of writing, you could see for free galleries of Monet, Turner, and Rembrandt, among others).