First Looks: LG 42LW5700 Cinema 3D TV – Ushering In A New Age
The Next Generation 3D TV
Less than a year after we encountered the LX9500, LG is upping the ante once again by presenting its next generation of 3D TVs. This time, leveraging on the Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) 3D technology, LG has eliminated the use of active shutter eyeglasses in viewing 3D content. LG’s current offerings, like the 42LW5700 Cinema 3D TV, are fitted with a polarized film substrate whose 3D capabilities can be enjoyed by using eyeglasses with polarized lenses. Unlike conventional 3D TVs, Cinema 3D TVs are flicker-free, eliminating the feeling of dizziness. The eyeglasses, on the other hand, are light, do not require batteries or charging, and the best part is, are less expensive.
Contrasted to LG’s earlier HDTV iterations like the Scarlet and the BORDERLESS, the 42LW5700 is less assuming in terms of looks. Nevertheless, it maintains some of the design elements of the previous models. Most conspicuous here is the glass-like edging found at the bottom side of the display panel. The 42-inch mammoth was easy to set up based on our experience – even a single person can do it.
Similar to the case of the Sharp Quattron AQUOS 3D TV which we wrote about recently, LG 42LW5700 Cinema 3D TV’s connectors are discreetly placed on the back and none can be found on the sides. However, one possible problem that you might encounter in this setup is that, if the TV is mounted on the wall, it will be difficult for you to reach and access these connectors. LG also placed all the physical buttons of the 42LW5700 on the back of the panel. This change in this aspect of design is different from other HDTVs that employ touch-sensitive, LED-backlit buttons on the front of the panel.
The 42LW5700 that was shipped to us came with two types of remote control. The first one is a regular type which is similar to those that we saw with previous LG HDTV models. The most significant features of the remote control are the Smart TV buttons. Pressing either of the two will bring you to an icon-oriented user interface, on which, you will be able to access Web-related features. Beside the Smart TV buttons, there is Quick Menu that will lead you to a control panel wherein you can manipulate aspect ratio, picture mode, sound mode, timer, and etc.
The second remote control is the Magic Motion. The usability concept of the Magic Control is similar to motion-sensitive controllers, such as the PlayStation Move, wherein a virtual cursor allows you to choose options and type on the virtual keyboard more easily. The Magic Control works with a receiver that you may hook up either of the two USB terminals at the back of the 42LW5700. Although the Magic Control is more helpful than the regular remote control, particularly when playing around with the virtual keyboard, it still requires effort especially when inputting lengthy keywords or URLs.
Our 42LW5700 is also bundled with four pairs of eyeglasses which are certainly lighter and look less expensive than those active shutter eyeglasses that we saw with the LX9500. When Cinema 3D TVs were launched in the Philippines last month, LG even gave away free 3D eyeglasses, perhaps to prove that they are really cheap.
The 42LW5700’s Smart TV is an icon-based dashboard on which you can have instant access to some of the most commonly accessed sites on the Internet like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Aside from the sites mentioned the dashboard also includes more than ten additional applications that link to other websites, including streaming ones for local channels, and basic games like Spot the Not and Agent Sudoku. If the 3D TV is hooked up to another appliance, such as a 3D Blu-ray player, the dashboard also provides you with a view of the player’s user interface. This setup allows you to switch from Smart TV to the Blu-ray player and vice versa easily.
Smart TV’s dashboard integrates an Internet browser. Below the browser, you’ll see options that enable you to make a website your homepage, magnify and de-magnify, bookmark a website, and do a quick search on Google. The browser also has an option for clearing cookies and history, as if you were surfing on a computer.
Cinema 3D TV
Since we got the 42LW5700 with a 3D Blu-ray player, we did not miss seeing the TV fare in the 3D playback department. It was really hard to pin point a mistake on this Cinema 3D TV in terms of overall image quality. Colors were bright and the 3D depth was perceptible. We never had to wear a clunky pair of active shutter eyeglasses so the viewing experience was a lot more comfortable.
Additionally, we never sensed that the eyeglasses were making some sort of adjustments, like its dimming or brightening, while we were watching 3D content. Auspiciously, the 42LW5700 also features 2D to 3D conversion, which is relevant considering that the available 3D content in the market are still inadequate as of this point.
To help you visualize what we saw with the 3D eyeglasses while watching 3D content, check out the video. Do take note that the 3D effect cannot be sensed on the uploaded video since it is no longer a 3D content. But still, you should see the difference between when the 3D glasses are on and when not.
While the 42LW5700 Cinema 3D TV might not be a total stunner on the looks department, it seems like that LG has invested more on its features and technologies rather than on the epidermal physique. Our experience with the 42LW5700 was generally favorable, thanks to the Magic Control wand and passive 3D eyeglasses. Nevertheless, we still prefer typing in keywords and URLs using a physical keyboard. We never had a severe complaint about LG HDTVs’ image quality in the past and the 42LW5700 is not an exception.
On top of these, we appreciate LG’s attempt to come up with a 3D TV that offers the best of both worlds – in LED and 3D space – at a more affordable price point of PhP 99,990. Putting into consideration everything that the 42LW5700 is capable of, it offers a greater price-per-performance ratio than LG’s previous offerings like the non-3D LE5500 (launch SRP: PhP 120,990) and the top-of-the-line 3D-capable LX9500 (launch SRP: PhP 269,990).