We’ve already noted that the 47LE8900’s colours are exceptionally vibrant and bright, even during generally dark shots. But crucially they’re also remarkably natural and subtle in tone and blend, avoiding the slightly overblown, one-dimensional appearance sometimes noted with LG’s standard CCFL and edge LED sets.
This fact makes calibration of the TV immensely rewarding, and can end up with a palette that’s pretty much spot on with the industry-accepted D65 standard. As we’ve said before, we don’t hold by the general slavish obsession with hitting this standard, as we believe it takes personal preference, taste and room conditions out of the equation too much. But if you want D65, then the 47LE8900 gets mighty close to it.
The 47LE8900 also does a very fine job of presenting the extra crispness and detailing we expect and love with our HD sources. This is helped in no small way by a good natural response time from the screen, which found us troubled only rarely by significant amounts of motion blur.
There’s judder at times, but it’s not bad and actually, with movies at least, is arguably quite natural in creating a ‘cinematic’ feel. Plus you can get round the judder almost completely if you use the 47LE8900’s 200Hz TruMotion system. We personally tended not to use this processing as it generates a few processing artefacts. But we’d certainly recommend that you give it a go, at least, to see how you get on with it. Horses for courses and all that.
Despite a few small, generally avoidable issues, the 47LE8900 really is a fantastic way of watching HD sources, be they TV shows or Blu-ray films. A fact which sadly throws into stark relief the set’s slightly mundane standard definition efforts. DVDs look decent, but if you step down the quality scale to a typical Freeview broadcast, the set’s scaling processing doesn’t do a particularly great job of either removing source noise or adding detail and sharpness. At least standard def colours still look believable and rich, though, which certainly isn’t always the case with LCD TVs.
One other issue we should point out to console gamers is that the screen suffers a little input lag. This is especially the case using some of the picture presets - including, oddly, the THX one. But the provided Game picture preset felt absolutely fine for solo gaming, and only marginally disadvantageous while trying to shoot the crap out of annoying American pre-teens online with Call of Duty.
While LG is to be heartily congratulated for managing to squeeze direct LED lighting into such an elegantly slim TV and then using it to produce some outstanding picture quality, the Korean brand hasn’t quite been able to escape the usual audio problems associated with most very slim TVs. The soundstage holds up OK during undemanding typical daytime TV programming, but the far heavier demands of an action drama or Hollywood action blockbuster reveal a pretty brittle situation in terms of power and dynamic range, which can leave rowdy scenes sounding flat and uninvolving.
So long as you can feed the 47LE8900 a reasonably HD-rich diet, it’s capable of some really quite stunning picture quality for what is, in the circumstances, a very reasonable price. Sound and standard def pictures could be better, but overall it’s a great option for anyone happy to duck out of the whole 3D debate.