Buying a TV is now akin to purchasing a computer with a myriad of options and features to think about for the average Joe. Certainly, the latest smart TV from LG – the 55LA8600 – doesn’t pull back on the features.
The most obvious “differentiator” that LG has is the use of passive 3D glasses. Unlike its rivals, the glasses do not need batteries and do not flicker to create 3D images. The glasses are light and made cheaply available.
The other 3D feature is the 2D to 3D conversion that takes normal TV signals and creates a bit of depth for the background. In addition, the TV creates pop-out effects for the subtitles to complete the illusion of 3D.
Although the effect is not as strong as from a true 3D video source, it is pretty good. Coupled with bright and vibrant colour reproduction and the TruMotion 240Hz refresh rate on the screen for both HD Pay-TV content and Blu-Ray, the TV is really a joy to look at.
LG has not only improved on its screen technology but also the user interface. The LG TV doesn’t come with just one remote controller but also a new Magic Remote.
The Magic Remote works like a pointer during a presentation. You control the cursor with the remote and then interact with the on-screen icons, using a finger to click on the buttons. That is certainly more intuitive than the normal remote.
What if you lost the remotes? A quick download of the LG TV Remote App and you can control the TV via your tablet or smartphone as well.
The Magic Remote also comes with a microphone and I can easily search for YouTube videos just by saying the words I am interested in. This sure beats typing the words out using the on-screen keyboard.
The LG TV also supports streaming content. Smartphones and tablets supporting the Miracast standard can stream content to the TV via Wi-Fi. Android devices without Miracast but with support for Near Field Communcations (NFC) can link to the LG TV and watch content on the big screen as well.
There are some hiccups though. To enjoy the LG TV’s “Time Machine” feature, which lets you record TV programmes, you’d need would a direct connection to the wall socket via a coaxial cable and set up the channels on the TV.
You can’t seem to use this with a StarHub or SingTel box. You can only record TV programmes from free-to-air channels, though the 4GB of on-board memory – for about 2.5 hours of SD video – can be extended with an external hard disk.
I would also like to see some dedicated buttons for two to three HDMI inputs on the remote. This would be easier to switch among the three devices I have connected to the LG TV.
On the whole, it is gorgeous to look at in both 2D and 3D. It also lets you easily look for content using the TV or directly stream from your smartphone and tablet. It is definitely one TV to check out before making a buying decision that you’d have to live with for years.