While some brands are moving towards extreme thinness in their LCD TVs, Korean giant LG has gone in a somewhat different direction: what it calls ‘Borderless’.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a thick TV. At 46mm deep (sans desktop stand) it is about half the standard thickness of a couple of years ago. But it is the ‘borderless’ aspect that is interesting.
There is a border around the LCD screen part, and it measures about 35 to 36mm on the sides and top, which is quite narrow. But rather than standing forward of the display as is the norm, the whole front surface is flat, except for the very top, which actually bends back a little.
It would be hard to determine how far back the picture-radiating surface is from the front panel glass without taking to the unit with a chisel. But it only looked to be about one or two millimetres.
Aside from that, one other unusual point is support for Bluetooth: to allow you to listen with a Bluetooth headset, or to display JPEG photos and play music transmitted from a Bluetooth device, such as a mobile phone. Unfortunately it would not work with my (different brand) phone. If this feature is important to you, take your phone with you when shopping and see if you can get it to work.
The panel is just under 120cm across the diagonal, so it provides a big picture, and offers full high definition resolution. In addition to the usual inputs is a USB socket for displaying JPEG photos, playing MP3 music, and a wide range of video formats – everything you’re likely to come across.
Of course, in plain English this TV is not borderless at all. But despite that, it manages to evoke a sense that it is, or very nearly is. The fact that the picture-emitting display surface is very nearly in the same plane as what little bezel there is, combined with its narrowness and the sheer size of the picture, all conspired to make the picture appear to hover right on the face of the TV. It was a quite striking and, to my eyes, a rather attractive effect.
With any ambient light in the room, the picture quality was excellent. LG seems to have been progressively enhancing performance over the past few years, so there was little difference between this TV and other leading brands. It even managed to do a fine job on 576i material fed from a DVD. Blu-ray delivered at 1080p24, the cinema-like ideal, also looked great. Some Australian Blu-ray discs are in 1080i50 format, like HDTV, and these tended to generate some processing artefacts. With these discs, it would be better to have a high quality Blu-ray player converting the picture to 1080p50 rather than feeding it to the TV in its native 1080i50 format.
The TV has lots of video processing options and capabilities, of which the most interesting was its TruMotion 200Hz system, which smooths motion by generating intermediate frames, and also punctuates the flow of frames by inserting (very briefly) black frames between display frames, thereby (says LG), reducing motion blur.
As with most such systems, this generated artefacts, such as a swirly heat haze effect in some scenes, and occasionally on complex high definition scenes it dropped out of operation, presumably because the processing became too complicated. But in general, it gave a pleasant smoothness to the picture, and made digital TV in particular look better than usual.
There are two ‘ISF Expert’ picture modes available which feature a host of colour tweaks that you can apply, if you find yourself dissatisfied with the picture quality. Of course, these are no pre-set to ISF (Imaging Sciences Foundation) standards, since that can only be done within a particular environment.
The digital TV section worked well, and had particularly snappy station changes, which was a pleasant change to most TVs. The TV also supports the MPEG4 picture format, which may be introduced at some time in the future.
The only disappointing aspect of this TV was that the screen seemed to have an uneven backlight, so that even with the dynamic black level processing turning down the backlight level during dark scenes, it still glowed a little excessively, especially near the top, during those dark scenes.
Still, unless you’re watching in a dark room, this ‘borderless’ TV from LG gives an excellent picture, and with that little ‘special something’ extra.