The ‘b list’ essentially comprises smaller apps based on information, news or games. And while they’re impressive in number and accessing them really shows off the graphical glories of LG’s excellent Smart TV menu system, many of the apps are, well, rather odd, frankly. Seriously, do any of you really want to play tunes on virtual wine glasses or have their tarot cards read by a telly?! Actually, don’t answer that…
Overall, though, LG’s new Smart TV system is a success. It just needs a lot more refinement.
As usual with LG, the 42LW550T is well equipped with calibration aids like colour management and gamma controls. There are also all manner of processing aids for things like black levels, motion, noise reduction and colours – though to be honest, most of these latter tools should be handled with care, and probably left off for most of the time.
Now seems a good moment to cover the differences in spec between the 42LW550T and the 55LW650T (aside from mere screen size). So what you’ve got is an 8,000,000:1 contrast ratio on the 42LW550T versus 9,000,000:1 on the bigger model, and 100Hz processing on the 42LW550T versus the 55LW650T’s 200Hz.
There’s also a minor deficit in screen response time terms for the 42LW550T, but really, given that the 200Hz system on the 55LW650T didn’t seem particularly awesome, the 42LW550T doesn’t ask you to swallow as much of a downstep in spec as we might have expected.
It’s the 42LW550T’s passive 3D, though, which clearly steals the day in feature terms. Especially as it underlines one of its advantages over its active 3D rival by shipping with a remarkable seven pairs of 3D glasses. Seven pairs of active shutter glasses, by comparison, would cost around £700.
This extremely clever marketing ploy by LG has immense practical value too, of course. For it immediately makes 3D viewing a social, family oriented experience right out of the box. Which fits rather well with our belief that occasional ‘event programming’ like concerts, sports events and films will likely make up the majority of a typical family’s 3D experience.
As well as the free glasses being so numerous, they’re also very light and comfortable versus most standard active shutter glasses, and they don’t ever need recharging. Unlike active shutter glasses you can also use them in your local 3D cinema, and if you break a pair or need more, then they’re just a few quid each rather than £100 a pop like active shutter glasses are.
It further transpires that as hoped, the 42LW550T’s relatively small screen size crucially hides from view some of the issues we’ve previously had with FPR technology. For instance, it’s much harder to make out any horizontal line structure in the picture caused by the polarising filter. You have to stick your face really close to the screen to see it, which no sensible person would likely do.