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Review: LG SL8000 (SL80)

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LG 42SL8000 (SL80) review

LG has launched a new line with the SL ranges. The SL8000 (SL80 in USA) is one the SL models and the smaller brother to SL9000 that we will review in a few days as well. SL8000 has a new Borderless design, a 200 Hz system and was awarded an EISA Award 2009/2010 for the best value-for-money LCD-TV.

SL8000 also incorporates scanning backlights in order to improve response time significantly. Everything sounds very promising but how does SL8000 perform in regards to picture quality? Can it live up to its EISA Award? FlatpanelsHD will find out in our SL8000 review of the 42-inch LG 42SL8000.

The SL8000 (SL80 in USA) range is available in 32, 37, 42, 47 and 55 inches called 32SL8000, 37SL8000, 42SL8000, 47SL8000 and 55SL8000. (32SL80, 37SL80, 42SL80, 47SL80 and 55SL80 in USA)

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Panel size:42" widescreen (LCD)
1920x1080
Response time:2,2 ms
Contrast ratio:150.000:1
Brightness:500 cd/m2
Colour support:16,7 million colours
Signal processing: 8 bit for each colour
Viewing angles (H/V):178/178
Dot pitch:-
Panel type:LCD (IPS)
Wall mounting:
Swivel stand:
Dimensions (HxWxD): 62.3cm x 100cm x 4.5cm (uden fod)
Veight18,7 kg
Built-in speakers:
Input formats: 480p/i, 576p/i, 720p, 1080i & 1080p (50, 60 & 24p)
Inputs
• VGA
• DVI (can be converted through DVI)
• Audio (type) (Audio in/out)
• SCART (2 inputs)
• S-video
• Composite
• Component
• HDMI (4 inputs)
• OtherUSB input
Outputs
• Audio (type) (1 output)
• SCART
• S/PDIF (optisk)
Tunere
• Analogue
• DVB-T
• DVB-T (MPEG4)
• DVB-C
• DVB-C (MPEG4)
• DVB-S
• DVB-S (MPEG4)

Price and retailer:

US retailer (SL80 in USA)UK retailer



Our first impressions

LG SL8000(SL80 in USA) is a fresh breath of air to a market that is pretty much dominated by cheap glossy black looks. It’s not that LG deviates from a black, glossy front but the new Borderless design successfully manages to give the TV a more elegant look.

”LG

The frame and the panel have been combined and curves at the top. It’s evident that LG has found inspiration in the B&O BeoVision 7 design but the SL8000 still has a rather unique look.

”LG

TV is slimmer than previous generations of LG TVs but not as slim as the Samsung LED-TV models, though. If you want a thin TV from LG you should look at the SL9000 which is the step up from SL8000. We will review SL9000 in a few days.

”LG


The stand has been made from glass that has a black tint, and fades into transparent glass close to the edges. The stand also allows the user to turn the TV.

”LG

All inputs and outputs have been located on the back of the TV and most of them are pointing towards the back wall. Bad move, LG.

”LG

The touch-sensitive buttons for navigating through menus are located at the front of the frame and are invisible until you approach them with your fingertips. I experienced that the buttons sometimes would activate without me interacting with the TV because of sunlight on the frame.

Test tools

Our TV signal is DVB-S (satellite) from Canal Digital and DVB-T (terrestrial). We also have an analogue TV connection.

Testing is done with the DVE (digital video essentials) and Peter Finzel test DVD. Testing is also done with DVD, TV, Blu-Ray and Mediacenter/PC.

We also use our own monitorTest. The software supports some of the traditional test patterns used to evaluate displays as well as some new and unique test patterns developed by the people here on Flatpanels.

Sony PlayStation 3 is our Blu-Ray player.

Functionality

The remote control has large buttons and has a backlit panel behind the buttons that you can activate in the evening.

”LG

Screen menus are user friendly and easy to navigate. LG has guides for setting up the TV and calibrating picture quality. Of course this cannot provide you with perfect picture quality but it enables better picture quality than you would get from the shop-mode.

LG 42SL8000 review

In the menus LG has integrated some different picture profiles as well such as the Standard mode and a Cinema profile.

SL8000 also has an advanced RGB (red, green, blue) settings menu. I’ll get back to this one later on in my review.
LG SL8000 has a USB media port that eats pictures, music and video. It has native support for formats such as DivX, HD DivX and MKV - as well as external hard drives.

LG has chosen not to give us DLNA streaming functionality unlike most other manufacturers. We surely miss that. LG argues that you can just use the USB port, and sure, I can do that but the point of DLNA is that it’s easy, wireless and gives you access to all your content instead of the limited amount of content that you can put on a USB stick.

Finally, SL8000 has bluetooth for connecting devices such as wireless bluetooth headphones.

Energy Consumption

Measurements on 42SL8000 below:

Out-of-BoxAfter calibration
Standby0,4 W0,4 W
SD148 W103 W
HDTV148 W103 W



After calibration LG 42SL8000 consumes 103 W. Not a fantastic result but not bad either.

Also, please note that the flat panel TV uses less power after calibration. This is common on flat panel displays because many picture parameters are reduced during calibration.

Picture quality

Below is a measurement of out-of-box picture quality on 42SL8000:

”LG

The graph says this:

The number on the left is the delta value. Delta is a difference between two factors; here it’s the difference between the measured colour on the panel and the actual colour that is our target.

  • A delta value lower that 2 results in a visible deviation from the actual colour.
  • A delta value over 4 or 5 results in wrong colours.
  • A delta value between 1 and 2 results in precise but not perfect colours.
  • A delta value lower than one results in almost perfect colours. The target is 0.
  • Everything between 0 and 1 is barely visible to the human eye.

    LG 42SL8000 has a color temperature of 8600 Kelvin which provides a slightly colder and more bluish picture than we’re are aiming at with our target of 6500 Kelvin. Gamma is not accurate either and increases from 2.25 on bright shades to 2.6 on dark shades.

    I tried to put SL8000 in the cinema profile and took a new measurement:

    ”LG

    The cinema profile improves color accuracy but 42SL8000 has some trouble reproducing dark gray and black which also means that shadow detailing is not ideal. This is caused by a too high gamma making the darker gray tones appear darker than they ought to be.

    I now did a full calibration on 42SL8000:

    ”LG

    Colors are now much more accurate and gamma is almost spot-on at 2.2 that we’re aimed for. This ensures that colors are neither too bright nor dark.

    ”LG

    I've also adjusted brightness on 42SL8000. As you can see on the graph above brightness is now 130 cd/m2 which is good for movies in the evening. For daytime use you might prefer a brighter picture. To get that just increase “Backlight” in the menu.

    Here are my calibrated settings:




    After calibration
    Profile:Expert 1
    Backlight:30
    Contrast80
    Brightness50
    Sharpness50
    Colour:50
    Tint:0
    Dynamic Contrast:Off
    Noise ReductionOff
    GammaMedium
    Black levelLow
    Real CinemaOn/Off
    TruMotion 200 hzLow
    Colour gamutStandard
    Edge enhancerOff
    OPCOff
    Colour filterOff
    Colour TemperatureWarm
    RGB
    Method:2 points
    Pattern:Outer
    • Red contrast:6
    • Green contrast:-7
    • Blue contrast:10
    • Red brightness:2
    • Green brightness:-2
    • Blue brightness:5

    I based my calibration on the profile called Expert1. Expert1 has a lot of advanced setting options that are not available in the Cinema profile.

    ”LG

    You can try my RGB (red, green, blue) settings as well but please keep in mind that there are small deviations from one TV to another.

    Now let’s talk about how we experience picture quality in practice.

    ”LG


    SL8000 really impresses me with a beautiful and rich, detailed picture. SD quality is better than on most LCD-TV out there today and far better than on previous LG LCD-TVs. Analogue signals from analogue sources are still weak.

    42SL8000 has excellent color reproduction. I examined different colour gradients and with exception of some of the semi-dark colours 42SL8000 did a fantastic job.

    HD is beautiful, too. The HD picture is very detailing, even in fast paced sports scenes. The TV also handles 1080p24 signals correctly.

    The good picture quality is a result of many things but mostly because most of the essential picture elements play well together on SL8000. Colour reproduction is good and accurate after calibration. The dark colour shades are not too dark, and the bright colour shades are not too bright. This is a very common problem with LCD-TV because of bad gamma tracking.

    SL8000 also has very good motion handling because of a very low response time in practice (you can’t use the response time spec because it is a measurement of the fastest colour transition on the panel, and other colour transitions may be much slower). This ensures a high motion resolution.

    ”LG

    The 200 Hz system on SL8000 is different than the ones on Samsung and Sony TVs. LG’s 200 Hz system is a 100 Hz frame interpolating system (that calculates new images to put in between the existing ones) and a scanning backlight technology.

    Scanning backlights are modulating the frequency of the backlight to neutralize the so-called"Sample and Hold" effect that is a one of the drawbacks of LCD panels and one of the reasons that LCD panels get blurry in fast motion.
    This is done by making the backlight unit blink very quickly - quickly enough to make it unnoticeable to the human eye.

    Scanning backlights thus improves response time on the LCD TV panel, and the 100 Hz system calculates new frames to make moving images appear smoother without juddering.

    The 200 Hz system does introduce some noise around moving objects, for example a football player on a football field but this is very common with 100/200 Hz system. Artifacts should be reduced further on SL8000, though. On the other hand, LG has eliminated the kind of pseudo-look that early 100 Hz systems suffered from, which is positive.

    The TruMotion 200 Hz technology introduces some input lag, however, and gamers might want to deactivate the system.

    ”LG

    The TruMotion 200 Hz also reduces response time and therefore reduces trailing on SL8000. I pulled up our monitorTest testing software that has very critical trailing tests and found that 42SL8000 is doing a fantastic job with the scanning backlight technology.

    SL8000 is without doubt one of the fastest LCD panels I've tested so far and much faster than for example the Samsung B7000 LED-TV that has a 100 Hz system but no scanning backlights. Very nice.

    On the negative list I found that the plexiglass front reflects light from the surrounding during day time like most glossy plasma-TVs. It is a bit annoying so make sure to check this out if you have a bright living room with large windows.

    ”LG

    I have also measured black levels and contrast:

    Out-of-BoxAfter calibration
    Black level0,29 cd/m20,14 cd/m2
    Brightness273 cd/m2130 cd/m2
    Contrast ratio941:1929:1
    Contrast ratio +/- 50

    The LG IPS panels are not the best in the disciple of reproducing deep blacks and cannot keep up with the LCD PVA panels from Samsung (also used in some Sony TVs) and the LCD ASV panels from Sharp (also used in some high-end Philips TVs).

    SL8000 is no exception. The reproduction of black is fair but not on par with the best LCD (with or without LED) and plasma TVs today. After calibration I measured black to 0.14 cd/m2. For comparison black level on the Samsung B8000 LED-TV series is 0.05 cd/m2.

    The contrast glass on the front of SL8000 contributes to a perception of depth on 42SL8000 but the mediocre black level reproduction is still evident.

    Shadow detail on the other hand is good. I can distinguish almost all shades of dark gray which ensures that dark scenes in movies have good detail levels. The real trick, however, is to provide deep black level - and perfect shadow detail.

    ”LG


    I use our monitorTest software for examining shadow detail but I also tried loading up a trailer from the Dan Brown Angel & Demons movie. Shadow detail is fair but not great. Some of the darkest shades of grey are crushed.

    Below I have examined SL8000 in a completely dark room to check for clouding / backlight bleeding issues.

    ”LG

    I saw some minor clouding on SL8000 but it’s not critical.

    PC and Media Center

    SL8000 supports true 1:1 pixel mapping from a PC. Just output a 1920x1080 signal and put SL8000 in"Just Scan" mode.

    Viewing angles

    Viewing angles are not ideal but fairly wide for a LCD-TV. LG is using their own IPS panels that they are now manufacturing exclusively after Philips didn’t want to be a part of that partnership (former LG.Philips changed name to LG Display).

    This means that colors maintain intensity from most angles but from very wide angles you will experience a change in colors as well as a reduction in contrast. One thing I noticed was that very dark colours appear to get a purple tint from wide angles, though. Many IPS panels are plagued by this issue.

    Sound

    SL8000 has"hidden speakers" which affects sound quality. It lacks punch and bass and mid-tones are too fluffy. Voices are clear and distinct, though, which is good.

    I do not expect great sound from a flat panel TV but SL8000 has very poor speakers indeed and I definitely would recommend a separate speaker solution. Don’t count on the SL8000 when it comes to sound.

    Conclusion

    LG SL8000 (SL80 in USA) is a beautiful TV and the new design direction that LG has taken with the Borderless design is interesting. I didn’t agree at all with the EISA committee when they awarded Philips 9704H the best LCD-TV out there but I must say that SL8000 deserves its best value-for-money LCD-TV Award.

    Picture quality on SL8000 is good. SD and HD reproduction is very nice, although analogue inputs are not convincing. SL8000 is capable of reproducing very detail-rich pictures with relatively accurate color reproduction due to the comprehensive setting options.
    The scanning backlight and 200 Hz system is definitely contributing to faster response time on SL8000 and 42SL8000 is a candidate to the fastest LCD-TV I've ever reviewed. SL8000 has no serious Overdrive trailing either but the frame interpolating system (200 Hz) introduces some artifacts and input lag.

    The biggest drawback on SL8000 is black levels. Black reproduction on 42SL8000 is not as good as on the LCD-TVs from for example Samsung or Sharp. Shadow detail is good, though – at least after calibration (see our calibrated setting in the PQ section).

    I therefore award the SL8000 (SL80 in USA) with our Highly Recommended Award. SL8000 (SL80 in USA) a major improvement compared to LG’s earlier LCD-TV line-ups and SL8000 deserved much praise. Sports fans will certainly appreciate the fast response time if they want an alternative to the fast plasma-TVs out there.


    Press the award logo to learn more.



    The SL8000 (SL80 in USA) range is available in 32, 37, 42, 47 and 55 inches called 32SL8000, 37SL8000, 42SL8000, 47SL8000 and 55SL8000. (32SL80, 37SL80, 42SL80, 47SL80 and 55SL80 in USA)

    ProsConsTarget group
    Picture qualityRequires some calibrationLiving room
    Very fast response time due to scanning backlightsBlack levelsHome Cinema
    PriceNo DLNA
    Refreshing design
    Functionality and USB port

    Price and retailer:

    US retailer (SL80 in USA)UK retailer



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    For questions and comments please visits this thread in our forums: http://www.flatpanelshd.com/flatforums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1622


    For further information and reviews of this product please visit TestFreaks





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