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Best LED HDTV-LG 47LE5400 47-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LED HDTV Reviews

for the LG 47LE5400 47-Inch Edge Lit LED/LCD 1080p HDTV! (what a mouthful!) This is a new model and Amazons date for “first available is wrong.
After much comparison, and much online and in-store research I decided to plunk down my hard earned cash on this bad boy. So far, I am very glad I did.

My criteria for purchase was a screen no larger than 47 inches (to preserve the image quality of my AVI files and SD programming) and also something that had perfect geometry (unlike the Mitsubishi DLP that recently died on me) and something that would display and maintain a bright uniform picture. (unlike my Pioneer Plasma did) I also had hoped for a display that could display a 50hz PAL video signal as long as it was first upconverted to 720p or higher. (The LG will NOT display a 576 line image , but will take that image if upconverted , even while remaining 50hz so no format conversion is required for motion correctness, just upconversion to 720p / 1080i or 1080p)

Purchased the set at a brick and mortar location (initials are BB) so in case things didn’t work out I could return or exchange it with no problems. I easily carried the box inside my house (I am pushing 60 with arthritis) and had the stand assembled and mounted on the TV in about 20 minutes total from bringing in the box. The TV is packed well, but not filled with unnecessary packaging material. There is a quick start guide included and the entire manual resides on a CD-Rom which I personally HATE but at least you can’t spill things on it right? Also included were warranty materials, a separate set of instructions and CD-ROM for the web connectivity stuff , some cable adapters, a cleaning cloth and the remote with two AAA batteries.

The TV was in perfect condition, wrapped in that foam cloth stuff and with the prerequisite plastic film over the frame bezel. Easy to remove all of that stuff and it didn’t leave any trace of sticky residue which was nice. Jacks are group on the rear left with the USB and headphone jacks on the left side but behind the bezel. This TV is very thin and not all that secure on it’s stand. The stand is fine, but I would recommend strapping it down whenever you put it unless you use a wall mount of some kind. Just sitting on a table you are one false move away from turning your beautiful LED TV into a doorstop. And the TV itself is very nice to look at, very easy on the eyes really.

I am not currently using the web connectivity stuff or the Netflix online feature so I can not comment on those functions in this review. If they work as well as the rest of the unit, things should be fine. While it is ‘internet ready’ it does not include a wireless dongle so you either need to physically connect it to your router with an Ethernet cable, or purchase a USB wireless dongle from LG . (Yes, they are proprietary, unfortunately)

Connected my HDMI cables from my Fios DVR and Oppo Blu Ray and plugged in the power. This TV will power up and ask you if you want ‘home use’ or “store use’ which is of course flame thrower mode. Pick ‘home use’ and go from there. Just remember which inputs you plugged what into so you can easily get to them. The manual will tell you how to custom label your inputs if you can’t remember HDMI 1 or 2 or so forth.

The first thing I did was set the picture to “Standard” and then lower the back light, the contrast, the brightness and color and even sharpness levels. Then I went into the advanced settings menu and turned off all the noise reduction and cut the auto contrast setting down to low. The TV will not look all that great out of the box as it is meant to attract your attention in the store, but those setting are pretty useless at home if you want your picture to look rich and natural. All in all, it took me maybe 15 minutes to get a starting point where I could watch and be more than happy with the picture.

You can download the manual from LG’s website and get to know this unit before you purchase. That’s what I did and it saved me tons of time. LG also includes a ‘Picture Wizard’ that helps you to easily and quickly calibrate an input to your taste and achieve fairly accurate color and proper contrast and brightness. You can then assign that setting to any input or inputs you wish and save it . You can do this twice and save each one with the ‘Expert’ function and of course you can adjust the other preset picture modes and save them as well. LOTS of options in that regard!

A word about the 120Hz True Motion. Like hot sauce, a little goes a long way. LG offers you your choice of ON, OFF, LOW, HIGH and USER. In the user mode you can adjust both judder AND motion blur separately which is a big improvement in software for this model I think. To me, the True Motion gives you almost the same effect as watching a video tape rather than a film. It does lend itself to some program material, making certain things appear even more real, a sort of hyper reality. It does introduce some other artifacts into the picture quality that you may or may not notice and ultimately you may decide not to use it at all. The good news is, it can be switched off but also adjusted to suit your needs and personal taste. Does it completely eliminate motion blur? Not by a long shot! For now, motion blur is something that is inherent in LCD displays. Maybe someday they will find a way to get them to switch on and off quicker (the pixels) and perhaps start putting some beefier processing chips into these things as well. As it is, on very rare occasions the display seems to ‘skip a beat’ and the chip seems to be temporarily overloaded. It all happens in a blink of an eye and is over before it started, but it DOES happen.

The dreaded lip sync issue that you may have heard about regarding LG has happened to me once so far after changing channels on my DVR. I had to shut off the display and reboot and it went away the first time. I plan to update the firmware as soon as I connect to my Cable router and hopefully it will be a thing of the past. I have used it heavily for more than a week and it has only happened once so far.

My BIGGEST criteria for selecting my new TV was it’s ability to play PAL DVD video with no conversion. I have a very large collection of British and European DVD’s and am not happy with ‘converting’ them to NTSC even with my Oppo. By making some sense out of the LG specs I had guessed it might be able to display PAL properly with no format (50 to 60hz) conversion, resulting in a much better picture than standard DVD could ever provide. IT WORKS PEREFCTLY! (but you MUST first upconvert it to 720p or 1080i or 1080p for the LG to be able to display it. Any upconverting DVD player can accomplish that for you!) So far, only my Pioneer Plasma could display PAL without conversion so this was a huge plus for me. My Babylon 5 PAL DVD’s look VERY close to HD and a real revelation, not to mention my LOTR Extended Editions in glorious PAL!! Also, standard NTSC DVD video is quite good, depending on your player and source material and off the air (or off Fios in my case) SD material looks very good. And it goes without saying that Blu Ray or HD DVD material will simply blow you away once the set is even basically calibrated.

By the end of the day I had both my DVR and Blu Ray inputs calibrated to my liking and I must say the overall picture quality is nothing short of excellent. Sounds is ‘ok’ , not too awful, but not good enough to satisfy a movie lover. (hook up to a surround system and you will be glad you did)

So far, I have just ONE complaint and for many people this is a big one. In a word, FLASHLIGHTING !
This is when the LED’s which illuminate the LCD pixels shine through the edges of the picture and make there way in to dark areas on your screen, such as night time, or a fade out . During any other time the picture is outstanding, but no matter how low I set the back light (within reason) you can easily see it during any dark scnes. I personally have chosen to ignore this problem and just enjoy the TV.

You will not notice the flashlighting problem in the store. They make sure and supply program material that never goes dark on the edges so any deficiencies in contrast or flashlighting are hidden from the consumer. Bring your own USB drive with a movie that features a lot of dark scenes, the new Harry Potter comes to mind, and you will see for yourself. That’s of course if they let you do that!

I had also considered the Vizio 47 inch LED LCD set for about the same price and IT features local dimming on the LED array which eliminates this flashlighting problem. I just don’t feel comfortable yet with Vizio as a brand and opted for the LG. Videophiles would think I am nuts, but there you have it! Neither Vizio nor the king of local dimming LED, Samsung ,can display native PAL video. I feel I made the right choice for me anyway.

This TV really provides you with a HUGE wealth of signal processing tools (adjustments) to shape your picture quality any way you want it to be. There are 2 expert modes that let you tweak and calibrate to your hearts content, and not even my Pio Kuro had this amount of control over it. Honestly, except for the flashlighting problem I am totally happy with this LG. Honestly, I can live with it, but many could not. I would say the average person would rarely, if ever notice it , but it IS there and as such a deal breaker for many would be buyers.

With that said, This TV seems to be well made with a good solid build quality, the remote is much better than most (although I just use a Harmony One for everything) and it does everything I want it to do and more. Now lets see if the thing holds up to heavy use. As a parting thought I would recommend going with some form of extended warranty. Either thru the place of purchase or perhaps a company like Square Trade would be good as they allow you to purchase your extended warranty any time during the original warranty of your product. HAPPY TV SHOPPING!

UPDATE 5/30/10 : After 3 weeks of using this TV, and taking the time to properly calibrate the inputs (using Digital Video essentials and THX Optimizer) I have come to some conclusions……
The 5400 performs VERY well for SD sources, both AVI based , Standard DVD and SD cable channels. (subject to whatever compression our cable company or DVD manufacturer has added) Xvid encoded files rate very good to almost HD in appearance. Really nice! The vertical banding is only visible during extremely WHITE based scenes with side to side camera pans. It is bothersome at times, but I am choosing to ignore it in favor of this sets strong points. I continue to be amazed by the quality off unconverted Pal DVD playback on this thing. My Fios premium channels have taken on an almost 3D quality and I sometimes find myself just staring at this thing in wonder and shaking my head in disbelief at times. No kidding! . If you spent another thousand or so on a top local dimming Samsung you could do better, otherwise I feel this TV is a winner and I still have NO buyers remorse. I put my new Mitsubishi DLP (newly repaired) in my walk-in closet in case of disaster striking the LG. I see the USB wireless adapter is finally available so I will be ordering that next month and checking out the Netflix performance and other widgets and content providers.

UPDATE 6-14-10 Finally got around to connecting to the net with this thing. It was very easy. I just plugged in an Ethernet cable from my router and it instantly set itself up with no help from me. Went about programming the Yahoo Widgets next and while it was a bit painstaking, it worked fine. Set up my You Tube account as well and after signing in (and telling it to stay signed in) it works like a charm. Netflix will be next in just 2 weeks, but for now it all looks and works great. I have a fast net connection so I don’t foresee any trouble with Netlfix, even the HD content. My final update will be posted after checking out Netflix performance….. Stay Tuned….

OK, I can give a good report on the Network capabilities and user interface . Right now I am connected to my computer and extra hard drives on a wireless LAN set up in my media room. I have the LG connected directly to my router via the Ethernet connection. (didn’t want to chance the bandwidth with their wireless dongle) I am running a very inexpensive Compaq (under 300 bucks new) and using Nero Media Home 4 as my server software even though Windows 7 includes such software of their own. The LG is optimized for the Nero program and the basic version is included with your TV purchase from LG. I set up my computer for Network sharing and let er rip!
How does it work? IN a word…………. G R E A T !!! So fa the LG can hand ALL formats I have thrown at it. It outperforms (by miles) an Asus O’Play and even the USB playback of my Oppo BDP-80. I am getting flawless playback, even on HD files of large size and bitrates. The user interface is nice. There are many options and it is intuitive. The software on the LG even remembers your place if you stop a file and wish to resume later. It is very well thought out for an added extra. With this modest system I have in place, it is like having my very own on demand channel that only plays the stuff I love! I really can’t say enough good things about the performance. It is truly great and so much nicer than the little standalone media players on the market right now.
So after almost a month now, I totally LOVE this TV !! Honestly, I am not all that hip about computers and networks and i got it to work within a few hours and beyond any of my expectations. Just plugging in a USB hard drive or thumb drive to the TV jacks and bypassing networking would be simple as can be and yield the same excellent results. And this is just a bonus feature. WOW! I am SO glad I bought this TV and hope other folks with similar needs will try this out and see for themselves. I am SOLD on LG for now!

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Originally posted 2005-01-12 10:29:12.

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