LG was first out of the gate with a 55-inch, curved screen OLED TV, the LG 55EA9800 (Est. $15,000) . While only a few reviewers have tested the set and feedback is strong, HDGuru.com notes a potentially troubling issue with a few stuck pixels in its test sample. In addition, Samsung's subsequent introduction of an OLED TV for $6,000 less, the 55-inch KN55S9 (Est. $9,000) , has changed the competitive landscape for these high-end luxury sets.
Speaking of luxury sets, LG also sells a trio of UHD TVs. Last year's 84-inch 84LM9600 (Est. $20,000) is an impressive but not perfect TV at an impressive price. This year it's joined by two smaller-screen models, the 55-inch LG 55LA9700 (Est. $6,000) and 65-inch LG 65LA9700 (Est. $9,000) ; neither set has been extensively reviewed at the time of this report.
Turning to the company's mainstream sets, everyone agrees that the flagship LG LA8600 series offers gorgeous styling, with an ultra-thin bezel and unique curved pedestal stand. When it comes to performance and features, however, there's clearly no meeting of the minds among experts. While PCMag.com praises what's on the screen, calling it "outstanding" with "dark blacks and excellent colors," other reviewers disagree. No one says the picture is poor, but most have come to expect more from a top-end LED TV. CNET makes that clear in its review titled "High-end TV with midrange picture quality." Black levels get a thumbs-down, just one reason "the flagship LA8600 doesn't really come close to matching the best-of-breed 2013 examples from Sony and Samsung, and also falls short of Vizio's much less expensive M series," says David Katzmaier. FlatPanelsHD.com has a similar take: "Compared to the competition, LG has some room to cover" to provide the very best picture quality. Again, weak black levels are the biggest shortfall.
One of LG's signature features is its Magic Motion remote that incorporates gesture control to make scrolling and clicking through on-screen menus, apps and web pages easier, at least in theory. PCMag.com's John R. Delaney gripes that the remote requires a steep learning curve, and cursor creep can lead to unintended menu selections if you're not careful. On the other hand, Katzmaier calls it "the best TV remote yet," adding that it "runs circles around a standard remote, especially when dealing with lots of icons on-screen at once."
While LG's Smart TV platform is robust, an Amazon Instant app had yet to appear when this set was reviewed. The interface has been tweaked to include an On Now recommendation feature that pulls in content from online and cable/satellite providers. It's not perfect, but Katzmaier gives it the edge over Samsung's similar On TV system; see the section on best Samsung LED TVs for more. At least one top reviewer disagrees: Rasmus Larsen at FlatPanelsHD.com finds the smart features' user experience to be "confusing and frustrating," adding, "we do not recommend buying the TV for its Smart TV features."
3D is of the passive variety, with four pairs of glasses included, and is universally praised. The enhanced refresh rate is a native 120 Hz. Two models are offered: the 55-inch LG 55LA8600 (Est. $2,100) and 60-inch LG 60LA8600 (Est. $2,500) .
Ignoring sets with Google TV built in -- as it appears most reviewers have done to date -- the step-down LG LA7400 series offers most of what's available in the LA8600 but at a more attractive price. One thing owners give up is local dimming technology. Yet since black levels are largely panned on the LA8600 and local dimming gives rise to some blooming, a common artifact with that technology, this might not be as big of a deal as on sets from other manufacturers. The only other missing feature is a pop-up integrated camera for Skype and more. Everything else is here, including passive 3D, Smart TV and the Magic Motion remote. HDGuru.com gives the LG LA7400 a qualified thumbs-up, with Chris Heinonen saying blacks are "only OK." Still, "if you are after an LED set, the LA7400 performs well compared to other LEDs in its price range," he adds. Three models are available, the 47-inch LG 47LA7400 (Est. $1,100) , 55-inch LG 55LA7400 (Est. $1,500) and 60-inch LG 60LA7400 (Est. $2,000) .
LG's LA6900 series sets are identical with one significant exception: They lack an enhanced refresh rate. LG is among those companies that offer a refresh rate that combines the LCD panel's native refresh rate with its backlight scanning rate -- LG markets that as the set's "TruMotion". Independent tests show no real impact and say that marketing aside, this TV acts like a set with a 60 Hz refresh rate. That means motion blurring might be observed, but only in certain scenes with fast motion and it's often unnoticeable to all but the pickiest viewers, experts say. Picture quality and features are otherwise the same as LG's pricier LA7400 step-up sets, and reviews are generally positive. Available models include the 47-inch LG 47LA6900 (Est. $900) and 55-inch LG 55LA6900 (Est. $1,050) .
Among LG sets, we see some of the best feedback for the LA6200 series. Black levels are only mediocre, but color accuracy is excellent. Direct-lit by a full matrix array -- as opposed to the edge-lit backlight used on LG's more upscale sets -- the screen enjoys an unusually wide viewing angle. One reviewer says that even those sitting off to the side will see little drop-off in picture quality. Most other features such as passive 3D and the Smart TV platform carry over, but if you want the Magic Motion remote, you must buy it separately (Est. $100). User reviews at Amazon.com and especially BestBuy.com are very strong. The series is available in several screen sizes, including the 42-inch 42LA6200 (Est. $630) , 47-inch 47LA6200 (Est. $720) , 50-inch 50LA6200 (Est. $860) , 55-inch 55LA6200 (Est. $1,025) and 60-inch 60LA6200 (Est. $1,340) .