The 55LA790W is an upper mid-range 55-inch LCD TV that lives up to its relatively high-end status by offering such features as a highly developed Smart TV system, passive 3D playback, a potent ‘800Hz’ motion driving system, and perhaps most promisingly of all, a local dimming component to its edge LED lighting system. This will, hopefully, help the TV deliver a really superior contrast performance.
The 55LA790W is dressed to thrill. Its bezel is so slim, for starters, that you scarcely notice it’s there when you’re watching the TV. The two-legged desktop stand is eye-catching too – partly because of its unusual shape, and partly because of the way its metallic silver finish contrasts with the glossy black of the skinny frame.
The 55LA790W excels from a connectivity point of view. Four HDMIs get the ball rolling, with multimedia support provided by a trio of USBs (two built to the v3.0 standard), a LAN port, and built-in Wi-Fi.
The amount of video, photo and music files supported from USB or networked DLNA computers is prodigious, and even the most cursory glance at LG’s Smart Hub menus makes it clear that the Korean brand’s online Smart TV service is impressively content-rich.
Closer investigation of the seemingly hundreds of links to content reveals that a rather high proportion of the apps on offer are pretty lightweight. But at least the menu structure is such that it’s pretty easy to get quickly to the most useful apps – predominantly video streaming services, in our experience.
Among the video services on offer are LoveFilm, Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, Blinkbox, Demand 5, KnowHow Movies, and Sky’s Now TV service. LG is the only TV maker to currently offer Now TV. It doesn’t currently join Korean rival Samsung in offering the ITV Player and 4OD, but it’s still a very impressive system overall. Especially when used in conjunction with LG’s inspired Magic Remote control, which intuitively lets you just point the handset at the relevant bit of the screen you want to select.
For a fuller look at LG’s latest Smart TV system, see our LG Smart TV review.
Swapping the 55LA790W’s Smart menus for its setup menus reveals a superbly expansive and well-presented suite of picture calibration tools, including full colour and white balance management, plus a healthy degree of gamma control. There are also options for adjusting most of the important bits of LG’s powerful video processing system, including noise reduction, motion reproduction, colour boosting, black level boosting, edge enhancement, and contrast boosting.
You can adjust the intensity of the local dimming system too, or turn it off entirely, and there’s even the option to independently adjust the image’s skin, grass and sky colour components.
While we’re wholly in favour of the in-depth colour, white balance and gamma controls (which can help serious AV fans fine tune pictures with impressive accuracy), you need to apply serious caution to some, even many of LG’s processing options.
Dynamic contrast shouldn’t be set any higher than Low or the image can look unstable during dark scenes, the dynamic colour option should only be used in bright room conditions, and the Super Resolution system shouldn’t be used at all in our opinion, as it makes pictures look noisy.
The TV’s backlight, LED local dimming and TruMotion settings also warrant discussion, but it seems more sensible to save this for the Picture Quality section.