Despite only resting towards the middle of LG’s latest TV range, the 55-inch 55LA740V is a pretty healthily specified set, complete with 3D, LG’s latest Smart platform, a local dimming arrangement for its edge LED lighting, and a sleek, gleaming design.
This design finds the large expanse of screen acreage being held within a predictably but still mind-blowingly slim bezel, with just the bottom edge widening up a little so that LG can add some extra panache in the form of a shiny silver bar that catches light very sweetly.
The stand is striking too, with its open metal ‘bar’ curving dramatically back and then up behind each of the TV’s sides.
Connectivity is a touch disappointing for a reasonably ambitious 2013 TV, though, thanks to there only being three HDMIs when we’d have expected four. The set is well up to speed where multimedia connectivity is concerned, however, thanks to its three USBs and built-in Wi-Fi.
If you’re thinking of wall-hanging a 55LA740V, mind you, do note that a few of its connections – including the RF and LAN inputs – face straight out of the set’s rear, which could present you with a few extra installation headaches.
As is the fashion with Smart TVs this year, the 55LA740V ships with two remote controls: a standard one, and a ‘magic’ one that streamlines the button count hugely, includes a mic for voice interaction with the TV, and allows you to manipulate an onscreen cursor just by pointing the remote at the screen.
This isn’t the first magic remote we’ve seen from LG, but it’s easily the best, making the whole smart experience much simpler and more intuitive than anything we’ve seen from any rival brand to date.
The 55LA740V also supports gesture control if you add an optional extra camera - though the system isn’t as advanced as Samsung’s, and more importantly no gesture control system we’ve seen to date is any substitute for the magic remote in ease of use terms.
LG’s voice control system isn’t bad meanwhile, recognising your words accurately and arguably benefitting from not being quite as ambitious in its scope as Samsung’s latest system.
The 55LA740V’s Smart onscreen interface is extremely attractive, using a series of ‘cards’ to provide shortcut links to preferred content, supporting multiple user profiles for different household members and easily letting you establish via a simple drag and drop approach your own content link ‘cards’.
The smart TV service is reasonably well populated with content too, including such video streaming big hitters as LoveFilm, Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, BlinkBox, BBC Sport, YouTube, and Knowhow Movies. It’s a pity, though, that LG doesn’t currently also cover 4oD, Demand 5 and the ITV Player, like Samsung does.
Add to all this an Android/iOS app which includes sharing of what you’re watching on the TV with your smart device; NFC device syncing; multimedia streaming from DLNA devices; and MiraCast support, and you’ve clearly got a TV that’s keen to become the heart of your extended entertainment network.
As we have with all the main Smart TV services in 2013, we’ll be doing a separate in-depth review of LG’s smart features in the next few days.
As ever with LG’s LCD TVs, the 55LA740V uses a passive 3D system, in this case supported by four pairs of (rather scarily coloured) passive 3D glasses and two further pairs of glasses for the TV’s dual gaming feature, where two users can enjoy full screen gaming from the TV simultaneously. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of the passive 3D format later.
As noted earlier, the full HD panel at the 55LA740V’s heart is illuminated by edge LEDs enhanced by a local dimming system so segments of the LED’s can be controlled individually to deliver an enhanced contrast.