First up, after becoming increasingly aggravated lately by the amount of brightness taken out of active 3D pictures by active shutter glasses, the relatively little amount of brightness removed from the 55LW980T’s pictures in 3D mode is a breath of fresh air. We’ve noticed this on other passive sets, of course. But the truly intense brightness and vibrancy of the 55LW980T’s pictures makes this passive advantage count even more.
The brightness of the 55LW980T’s 3D images means you don’t have to dim your lights like you do with active 3D TVs when watching 3D, and the passive system further means you can watch 3D in ambient light without suffering any flickering.
Another thing we’ve started to get increasingly intolerant of with active 3D is crosstalk noise. There are active displays that are more or less free of crosstalk ghosting noise, but they are in the minority at the moment, and whenever we see crosstalk, we’re finding it harder to ignore it. So it’s great to find only occasional signs of it on the 55LW980T.
The 55LW980T isn’t entirely free of crosstalk, no matter what LG might claim. But it does appear much less commonly than it does on the latest active 3D screens from the likes of Samsung and Sony.
The quality of the panel at the 55LW980T’s heart also seems to help 3D Blu-ray playback look slightly sharper than it has with previous large-screen passive TVs. We still say there’s some loss of resolution compared with the best quality active screens, but the image certainly looks much more detailed and sharp than a standard definition feed, especially given the intensity of the brightness that’s emphasising every last bit of detail in the passive 3D image.
The lack of crosstalk also enhances the image’s appearance of sharpness, as does the screen’s freedom from motion blur.
The 55LW980T’s 3D images enjoy a well-judged sense of depth too, and finally, as a result of all the above strengths, we found we could watch 3D on the 55LW980T for hours without becoming fatigued.
The most serious problem with the 55LW980T’s 3D images concerns the way the passive 3D filter across its screen causes visible horizontal lines over both bright edges (especially if they’re curved ) and small, bright objects that appear against predominantly dark backdrops. The obviousness of this reduces the further from the screen you’re sat, but it’s definitely quite distracting at times. But here’s the thing: in the context of the 55LW980T’s all-round image quality, this ‘striping’ artefact seems a relatively small price to pay for all the set’s 3D strengths.
The 55LW980T’s 3D pictures also descend into horrible crosstalk if you watch them from a position of more than 12 degrees above or below the screen. But this shouldn’t be an issue for most living room set ups.
There are a trio of other general picture flaws to report aside from the haloing issue mentioned earlier. First, there’s loss of colour and contrast when viewing the TV from wide angles. Next, the glass sheet that lies across the set’s fascia can be a little reflective of ambient light. Finally and most annoyingly, we measured input lag at just over 60ms. This is better than most other LG TVs this year, but it still high enough to potentially damage your gaming performance.
But with some decently rich, well-rounded and powerful sound keeping its 55in images company, the good news about the 55LW980T far outweighs the bad.
In working hard to make the 55LW980T its best 2D TV to date, LG has also managed to serve up the most persuasive argument for passive 3D yet. So much so that we can fully imagine the set appealing to serious video enthusiasts as well as ‘casual’ users.
Score in detail
3D Quality 9
2D Quality 9
Sound Quality 8