- Gorgeous design
- Excellent picture quality
- Comprehensive online service
- Input lag is too high for gaming
- It’s not cheap for a 47in TV
- Backlight problems during dark scenes
- Review Price: £1643.99
- 47in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
- passive 3D playback
- Smart TV online functionality
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Local dimming
As its model number suggests, the 47LM860V sits between the midrange LM660T/LM670T models and the LM960Vs. In fact, it’s LG’s premium edge LED model (as the LM960Vs use direct LED ‘Nano’ technology). This is a very promising fact given how much we liked the mid-range edge LED models – especially as the 47LM860V’s employment of LG’s MCI 800 motion processing engine should sort out the slight motion blurring issues that were slightly troubled its cheaper, MCI 400 siblings.
The LG 47LM860V also justifies its higher price by sporting that big trend of 2012, dual-core processing. This should allow greater accuracy and operating speed for the set’s picture processing, as well as enhancing the performance of the TV’s Smart TV online platform.
The 47LM860V is aesthetically different to models lower down LG’s range too, chiefly because it uses a cute new two-legged – sorry, ‘Floating Metal Wing’ – swivelling stand design. It’s actually the main TV body that’s the real supermodel though, thanks to its remarkably slim bezel and the fetching application of a metallic silver finish to the bottom edge, offset tastefully by LG’s logo at its centre.
With the TV turned off, the set’s bezel looks extraordinarily thin – just a single mm of silver. Switched on, a further 9mm of black bezel becomes visible, but this doesn’t remotely dent the 47LM860V’s status as one of the prettiest TVs we’ve ever seen.
The LG 47LM860V is extremely well connected. As well as the four HDMIs that are becoming increasingly de rigueur on high-level TVs, it has three USBs for playing back multimedia files or recording from the integrated Freeview HD tuner; a D-Sub PC port; a LAN port; and built-in Wi-Fi to make adding the TV to your network as easy as possible.
The network connectivity serves two main purposes. First, it lets you surf LG’s Smart TV online platform, and second it lets you stream video, photo or music files from a connected PC or, rather excellently, Mac. It’s possible to get other brands of TV to talk to Macs too – Sony’s latest Homestream software, for instance, does the job pretty well. But for us LG’s integrated solution is by far the easiest we’ve come across.
LG’s file compatibility is second to none, with DivX HD included among the accepted formats. As for the aforementioned Smart TV system, it has become a seriously content-rich affair over the past few months.
Online video services
As usual with a TV, it’s the video content of the Smart TV platform that interests us most, so it’s great to find this now boasting the likes of the BBC iPlayer, NetFlix, LoveFilm, Acetrax, Youtube, BlinkBox, ITN News, Redbull TV, CineTrailer, LiveSport.tv, the Cartoon Network, LG’s 3D streaming ‘channel’, iConcerts and Viewster. Other app highlights include Twitter, Facebook, Picasa and the vtuner internet radio tuner.
There are all manner of far less substantial apps to rummage through as well, though you have to look mighty hard through these before you come up with anything worthwhile. Personally we’d happily see LG ditch some of this ‘chaff’ and keep its online offering focused on the good stuff. But at least the second-tier stuff is tucked away this year in an easily-avoided sub-menu.
The interface for LG’s Smart TV service this year is outstanding. New higher resolution graphics do a great job of enabling more content services to be presented onscreen at once on the LG 47LM860V without things looking cluttered, and the whole system seemed to work more fluidly and quickly on the TV than it did on the mid-range LG models we’ve tested, presumably because of the dual-core processor.
It’s worth adding at this point that you’re not restricted to navigating all the LG’s menus – or the web pages accessed via its integrated browser – using just the main TV remote. You also get a second ‘Magic’ remote that excellently lets you select options just by pointing the remote right at the thing you want to choose. This remote also includes a wheel for quickly moving up and down menus, and even potentially lets you issue voice commands to the TV – though this feature is apparently still in its testing stages, as we couldn’t get it to work on our test sample.
As with most LG TVs, the 47LM860V is stuffed to bursting point with picture calibration aids. These include a very good colour management system, a comprehensive white balance adjustment suite, three gamma presets, plus plenty of controls over the set’s various processing routines.
There’s a dynamic contrast system, edge enhancement, a Super Resolution detail enhancer, MPEG and standard noise reduction circuits, multiple levels for the set’s Local Dimming system, and also multiple ‘strength’ levels for LG’s TruMotion processing. Of these motion options, we’d recommend either the Clear mode, or a Manual setting with the judder and blur components nudged down from their starting points.
It’s hardly surprising from all this that the 47LM860V has bagged the endorsement of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), indicating that it has enough calibration tools to be professionally set up by an ISF engineer.
Turning to the all important matter of how the LG 47LM860V performs, first impressions are overwhelmingly positive.
We started off with a variety of straightforward HD TV footage, from the likes of Sky News and Eurosport HD,
and were extremely pleased with what we saw. For starters, pictures look brilliantly bright, spectacularly colourful, and almost preternaturally sharp and detailed. And unlike the cheaper 2012 LG models we’ve tested, this sharpness holds good notably more when there’s motion in the frame. Especially if you use a gentle setting of the TruMotion system. (Higher levels tend to make pictures look rather unnatural.)
Also excellent with relatively bright, colourful and dynamic footage is the sense of contrast the 47LM860V produces. Whites look white, colours across the spectrum look punchy and vibrant, while black levels look deep, giving pictures an excellent foundation to ‘bounce off’.
The good news continues with the LG 47LM860V’s 3D performance. All the 2012 LG LCD panels we’ve seen so far have taken the brand’s passive 3D technology to a much higher level, ramming home passive 3D’s advantages of brighter, more colourful pictures, practically zero crosstalk provided you don’t view from too much of an angle above or below the screen, and no flicker – so you can comfortably watch 3D images for longer and in brighter room conditions.
What passive 3D disadvantages?!
Perhaps more importantly, LG’s higher-quality 2012 panels also do a better job of ‘hiding’ passive’s disadvantages, namely the potential for visible horizontal filter lines, jagged contours and slightly reduced sharpness versus good active 3D pictures.
It must be stressed here, too, that the 47LM860V underlines the relative cheapness of passive 3D glasses by supplying seven pairs free with the TV: four standard 3D glasses, one pair of ‘clip ons’ for fitting over glasses, and two Dual Play glasses.
These latter glasses are included to support the feature on the 47LM860V whereby two people can enjoy full screen 2D gaming simultaneously, thanks to the double-imaging delivery system behind 3D technology.
At this stage you’re probably starting to wonder why such an apparently brilliant TV has only snagged an 8 score. There are actually a quartet of reasons why we’ve felt compelled to dock the LG 47LM860V a couple of marks.
The smallest one is that skin tones look a touch mannequin like, even with HD sources. Next, the TV’s screen is a little more reflective of ambient light than we’d ideally like.
Problem for gamers
Then there’s the TV’s susceptibility to input lag. We measured a delay between the pictures leaving our timing source and finally appearing on the 47LM860V’s screen of 100ms. This is three times as high as the figures recorded with most other TVs, and could potentially damage a gamer’s performance.
The biggest problem with the LG 47LM860V, though, concerns the operation of its edge lighting system while handling very dark material. It becomes apparent that if you don’t activate the set’s Local Dimming feature, its basic black level response is surprisingly limited, leaving dark scenes looking washed out and greyed over.
There are also fairly obvious patches of ‘clouding’ caused by the edge LEDs’ inability to light the screen uniformly – and none of these issues can be satisfactorily solved by adjusting the backlight, brightness, contrast or black level options.
If you call in the Local Dimming, though, while it profoundly improves core black levels, it also introduces some occasionally quite obvious backlight blocking, where bright objects that appear against dark backgrounds are surrounded by rectangles of extra brightness that can run right from the top of the screen down to the bottom.
To be fair, the LG 47LM860V’s problems in this regard are usually only really obvious when you are watching 21:9-ratio films, where the black bars above and below the picture routinely exhibit quite obvious clouds and blocks of lighting inconsistency. The problems are much less apparent with screen-filling 16:9 footage, and are completely invisible with predominantly bright footage. So if you only watch films on your telly very occasionally, the backlight inconsistencies may not be an issue you’ll need to worry about much.
If you do expect to watch a lot of films in low-light conditions, though, you should certainly try and experience the backlight issues yourself before deciding to buy a 47LM860V. It also occurs to us here that most edge LED TVs nowadays position their lights down the sides of their screens rather than along the top and bottom – an approach which, while far from flawless (as noted recently with the Panasonic L55WT50), does generally seem to cause less obvious consistency flaws, especially when watching 21:9-ratio films.
If you’re after a gorgeous looking TV that makes most broadcast fare look nothing short of spectacular, especially if it’s HD, then the LG 47LM860V is a hugely persuasive option.
Serious film lovers and hardcore gamers, though, may struggle to ignore the backlight flaws noted with dark scenes and the high levels of measured input lag – especially now that Sony has recently changed the edge LED backlight landscape with its outstanding HX853 series.
How we test televisions
We test every TV we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Score in detail
3D Quality 9
2D Quality 8
Sound Quality 8
|Max. Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Full HD 1080p||Yes|
|Refresh Rate (Hertz)||800 (MCI)Hz|
|Digital Audio Out||1 (optical)|