It’s time to see what LG has prepared for the 2014 3D Smart TV market
This year’s series brings forth the much praised Smart TVs with Web OS, an operating system that is said to make it easier to use apps on the internet, faster loading internet apps and a simple and intuitive interface.
We have had the chance to test a model of the medium range from this manufacturer, namely the LG 42LB650V 3D Smart TV. We also thought that it offers a good price-quality ratio encompassing most of the new features of 2014 introduced by the Korean company.
Design and connectivity
LG 42LB650V has made some changes design wise. They have given up the classic stand design for the TV table and introduced a rectangular one, similar to Samsung 7th series. The design of the chassis has also been changed even if not much – the bezel of the screen is slimmer, at the bottom the LG logo is sleeker, all these making the whole TV as if made from a single molded piece of silver-gray.
Another surprising novelty is the lack of side command buttons and the added joystick which is placed centrally under the LG logo that we can use to access the menus of the LG 42LB650V Smart TV. Sounds like Samsung right?
As for connections we have got plenty and diverse ones: 3 HDMI connectors, a jack component, a classic dish jack and a satellite one (of course DVB-S integrated) and 3 USB ports. Why 3? Because we need one of them to connect a USB memory drive, another one for an external HDD and the third one to connect another memory drive which will be permanently attached to the smart TV in order to record our favorite shows on it. Simple right?
As in the case of the 6th Samsung series (40H6400) we also have a SCART connection on LG 42LB650V but I don’t see its applicability. If you buy a 3D Smart TV I don’t think you will connect anything to the TV through SCART…Maybe only if you become nostalgic or if you have an older version of decoder from your cable provider.
The remote is very simple, in fact it is the same LG remote that we have become accustomed to but we must mention that we don’t have a Magic Remote included, which is my opinion is vital for the use of a Smart TV, and we must purchase it separately or we may opt for a regular mouse + wireless keyboard kit because most models are supported by LG TVs (Genius, Microsoft, Logitech, etc.).
Image and 3D
According to its specs, the LG 42LB650V is a powerful TV with a great image quality. It has a Full HD LED illuminated panel, a motion flow rate (frames) of 500Hz and passive 3D technology.
On the fast movements or large frames which run on the screen, as well as 3D materials those 500Hz are very useful. The images are very clear, and the fast action scenes (a car chase, sudden object movement, etc.) are rendered fluently without any noticeable lags and thus reducing the faults on such images. For this LG has a white ball from us.
The 3D technology hasn’t been reinvented in 2014, LG still uses passive 3D glasses for this kind of home based cinema.
I cannot say the same thing about image quality, contrast, colors and luminosity. The LG 42LB650V (probably other 6th series models as well) gives us the impression that it uses a plasma screen – so to say for everyone’s understanding.
The screen reflects light too much , the black seems more like a dark grey and the luminosity seems extremely reduced compared to a similar model from Sony or Samsung. We set the image on Vivid or Sport mode but we didn’t manage to get better results. The rendered colors are unexceptional, although the Web OS operating system allows fine adjustments .
Lg 42LB650V vs Sony 42W706 image sample :
I still think that Lg 42LB650V is inferior to its direct competitors from Samsung or Sony but has a great advantage – the price which is around 25% lower than its direct rivals.
Smart TV with Web OS on LG 42LB650V
The Web OS has been the talk of the world recently, an operating system that was designed to bring the simplicity and ease of use of Internet apps on the TV. Even LG representatives have said in one of their ads that most Smart TV owners don’t use them in this way.
So what is Web OS like?
From our tests we have concluded that – it is maybe a little bit better than other Smart TV interfaces but it isn’t revolutionary.
The apps are run at the bottom of the screen, starting with those recently used and the most popular ones. In the forefront we have YouTube, Skype as well as LG Store – the new app store for Web OS.
In Store we can find numerous apps and video-streaming services even in 4k. For the US we have available the famous: Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon and Pandora. In the UK there is BBC available and for Australia we can find ABC, iView, SBS and Bigpond.
Unfortunately the LG app store isn’t available yet in all regions and in certain countries on accessing the store we get a disappointing message for now: Coming Soon…
The web browser loads the pages relatively fast, I have opened many websites and forced the system by accessing web pages with lots of graphics which pose problems for weaker PC’s but the LG 42LB650V’s Web OS did well.
It’s also good to know that you can’t access YouTube from the browser because you will be automatically redirected to the preinstalled app from the TV.
A big disadvantage of the new LG OS is due to the fact that it has not only been integrated on the Smart TV part but also on the settings menu of the TV. You therefore lose many seconds when accessing a simple menu (image settings for instance) and many seconds with animations (Angry Birds style … ) generated by Web OS. They should have opted for separate modules for the TV menu and the Smart part, but since they didn’t it was reflected in the time wasted by the user waiting to access a simple setting.
On the media player side, the LG 42LB650V can render movies from an external USB memory drive in the following formats: DivX, JPEG, MPEG, MPO, XVid , MKV and many others.
Let’s look at things methodically with Pros and Cons
– The price of LG 42LB650V is unbeatable and probably the lowest price for a last generation, full features, 3D Smart TV;
– Fast images or 3D materials are well rendered by means of the 500 Hz
– Web browsing/ Surfing the Internet and accessing favorite webpages, is done quickly, smoothly and doesn’t pose many problems for the browser and the Web OS.
– The image seems faded, the colors are average and the screen reflect a lot of light so I don’t recommend setting it up in very bright rooms.
– Although the Web OS is an innovation on the Smart TV side, it also brought some disadvantages making it harder to access the settings menu of this model by cumbersome loading of the same operating system which leads to an unpleasant experience for the one who sits in front of the TV.