The LG 47LH50 LCD TV is a quality set boasting a crisp, clear 1080p picture and remarkable on-board sound. While I'm not crazy about the factory preset video settings, the television's host of user adjustments and built-in Picture Wizard calibration mode makes up for this, allowing viewers to easily customize settings to their taste. The 47LH50's ability to log on to a variety of Web-based services through its NetCast Entertainment Access, give it an edge on like-sized sets that are not Internet enabled.
As with most flat screen TVs, LG’s 47LH50 is extremely easy to assemble. It comes in two parts (screen and stand) and they can be quickly connected using four screws. The entire assembly is light enough that my wife and I were able to easily lift it atop an armoire where I kept it for testing. The stand for the 47LH50 seems a bit cheaper and more plastic-y than some I’ve dealt with, but this shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re the sort of person who moves your televisions often (not recommended). On the upside, the stand has an excellent swivel. This can be useful because off-angle viewing has never been great on LCD TVs. If the set is being used in a large room, the stand allows you to easily turn it to create a more direct viewing angle no matter where you’re sitting. The 47LH50 is also wall-mountable.
The 47LH50 boasts an excellent assortment of inputs and outputs so it can be connected to a variety of home theater equipment. It is particularly well stocked with HDMI inputs, with three on the rear and one accessible from the side. There are also two component video and two composite video inputs, each with accompanying RCA jacks for audio. For people who want to use the television as a computer monitor, there is an RGB input and a PC audio input. Finally, the set has a standard antenna/cable in and an optical digital audio out (for connection to a home theater amplifier). There is also a side-only USB input that can be used to view photos or listen to MP3 music. I particularly like the design of the side inputs, as they are made to be easily accessible, yet they are not on the very edge of the set, meaning you can connect an everyday component and still have the wires hidden.
The 47LH50 comes with a thin and long remote control that is easy to use and well-labeled. All functions -- including those used to access Internet content -- are easy to figure out, even before one reads the instruction manual.
LG’s 47LH50, like most flat screens, has a simple-yet attractive look. The screen is bordered by a thin, glossy black frame, that is itself bordered by clear plastic trim (that looks like glass unless examined extremely closely). This “glass” edging, combined with a soft on/off light on the bottom right of the set, gives the 47LH50 a modern look that I find attractive.
The 47LH50 produces lovely, bright images, and I was pleased with the quality I received from every test source, including Blu-ray movies, standard DVDs, JPEG photos and high definition and standard-definition television programming. In fact, the only time I was unhappy with the picture was when the source material was less than desirable, which has nothing to do with the television.
Despite the excellent picture, the 47LH50 took me a little longer to dial in than some sets I’ve dealt with. That’s because I found the factory preset picture options less than satisfactory. Fortunately, the set has more picture adjustment options than most general users will ever need. There are the obvious controls, like contrast, brightness, horizontal sharpness, vertical sharpness, color and tint. Then, there’s a whole batch of expert controls, including -- but not limited to -- dynamic contrast, noise reduction, gamma, black level, color gamut and TruMotion smoothing.
The 47LH50 also has an outstanding feature called Picture Wizard, which is a built-in video calibration tool that allows users to improve picture quality by making basic adjustments under the guidance of the tool. It is a well designed, step-by-step feature that even novices should be able to use. The picture that I came up with using Picture Wizard was far better than any of the available presets, and it only took a few minutes to go through the process. What’s more, Picture Wizard allows you to use the calibration tools, then tweak the basic settings to refine them even more.
The television has a memory, so you can set different picture options for different devices. For example, if you find one picture setting best for video games and another preferable for Blu-ray discs, you can save those settings and the television will remember them when you switch to the appropriate input.
There’s a lot of hype around 120Hz and higher refresh rates on LCD sets and the 47LH50 is a 120Hz model. I personally find the motion-smoothing effects that have become synonymous with these higher refresh rates bothersome, primarily because I’m a film buff and love the look of 24-frames-per-second film. For that reason, it’s not unusual for me to disable motion-smoothing options when watching a source that was originally recorded on film. On the 47LH50, the motion-smoothing option is called TruMotion 120Hz, and I tried watching movies both with it on and off. Predictably, I thought the movies looked like they were shot on video with the TruMotion enabled, so I turned this option off when watching films. The good news is that disabling TruMotion gave me the film-like image I was looking for. Obviously, people who prefer the motion-smoothing effect can leave TruMotion on.
In short, it may take awhile for you to get a perfect picture with this television, but you have plenty of tools to get the job done. Even in the digital age, there is a subjective quality to picture settings, so I am impressed by the numerous adjustment options that LG has delivered.