LG 47LA790W review
47in, Freeview HD, DVB-S2, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 4x HDMI
For this review we tested the 47in model in the LA790W range, but it's also available with a 55in (55LA790W) screen size. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
LG has always favoured rather unusual designs for its smart TVs, but the 47LA790W is perhaps the most normal-looking of its 2013 range. Its curved stand isn’t quite as compact as other LG TVs we’ve seen, but the thin bezel and edge-to-edge glass display look stunning.
Around the back, the LA790W has a good range of inputs and outputs, including a CI slot, digital optical audio output and a headphone jack. You’ll have to use an adapter for component and composite equipment, but there are also four HDMI inputs. One supports ARC, so you can send audio from your TV to a connected amp. Another supports MHL, so you can play content from a connected phone while simultaneously charging it. You can even share content from your phone using NFC and tapping your phone to the tag on the TV.
If you have an external hard disk, you can use the USB ports to play your own media files. Its format support is great, as it played up all of our videos, including H.264 and MKV files. The TV recognised only our MP3, OGG, WMA and WAV audio files, though, as well as our JPG images. With DLNA support you can stream files over your home network (Ethernet and Wi-Fi are built in) from a media server.
If you get tired of your own content, LG's Smart TV services should keep you occupied. Catch-up TV is available through BBC iPlayer, while on-demand programming is provided by Sky’s Now TV, Netflix, LoveFilm, BlinkBox and KnowHow Movies. Facebook, Twitter, Skype and YouTube also come pre-installed, but you can download more apps from LG’s Smart World store. You’ll need to pay for a couple of apps, but most of them are free.
The Smart home screen also gives you access to LG’s own on-demand film and games hub, as well as its Smart Share portal, which lets you access media stored on other devices on your home network. The entire screen is made up of large icons, but LG’s Magic remote makes it much easier to click on the app you want thanks to its motion-controlled mouse pointer. It even has a mouse wheel in the centre of the remote that lets you scroll through its various menu screens as well.
For TV there's a Freeview HD tuner and a DVB-S2 Satellite tuner; the latter isn't Freesat compatible, so it's not much use in the UK. Standard definition content impressed, but we had to turn the noise reduction up to its highest setting to get the best picture. Otherwise, channels were very grainy, particularly lower quality Freeview HD channels like BBC News. This varied from channel to channel, but we also found the Super Resolution enhancer helped to maintain a good level of detail as well. HD channels fared much better and we didn’t feel the need to use the noise reduction here.
The best picture quality, of course, is when viewing Blu-Ray video. We needed to tweak the settings before we found the best image quality. We used the Cinema picture mode during our testing as this gave us more picture settings than the regular Standard mode.
Colours were slightly muted at first, but this was easily corrected using the regular colour settings and increasing the contrast to really bring out the lighter areas of the image. The 47LA790W's default contrast levels were already very impressive, as we were able to see a high level of detail in our reference night scenes even when we had the lights on. Blacks were pleasingly deep, but they were a little too bluish to be completely perfect. Lowering the backlight did help to some extent, but we couldn't quite get perfect pitch black.