Length:: 6:09 Mins
Consider the title of my review. I've literally had hundreds of TV's and monitors in my life (work in tech). So to say that I've never seen such terrible back light uniformity is a crazy (but true) statement.
I had high hopes for this TV due to the gorgeous physical design of it. It was to live in my main family room on a limestone fireplace, so the design had heavy weighting in why I chose it (among other things).
Well, opened it up, turned it on, and IMMEDIATELY noticed 2 large black shadows on both sides, shadows in ALL 4 corners, and literally an entire GRID of shadows on the entire panel.
To clarify, when you first set up this TV, you're guided through a wizard, which actually is very well done and a great user experience (web OS based). The kicker, is that all these setup screens, use large blocks of solid color for a background, making this issue clearly evident up front. The worst was during one of the settings screens, and the entire screen was white.
I did a double take because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
So I packed it back up, took it back to Frys(also have one on order from Amazon, but will cancel obviously). Giving the TV the benefit of the doubt, I walked over to the floor demo unit and asked an employee to reset the TV so the wizard would appear again (they were only playing "Dark Knight", so this was the only way to get it to a solid screen).
Lo and behold, it had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM. The sales guy was pretty dumbfounded when he saw how horrible it looked.
It seems like this could be a running defect for the entire model line.
Just to be clear, this problem isn't so evident when there's a lot of colors and motion on the TV, which is why I believe why some people don't see it.
However, if you're watching any scene that has a light solid color at any time, then it looks downright horrible. For instance, there was a PGA tournament on TV today. Everytime the camera panned to the ball in the air, the entire blue sky looked like a grid of shadows.
Same with an NHL game where you have a large white ice background. Shadows everywhere. I played around with the settings in expert mode, but nothing helped.
I'm pretty speechless. I've owned insanely awesome TVS (Panasonic ST series plasmas) and cheap budget tvs, and I've never.. ever... seen a backlight this bad.
I took a brief video of it. My advice is to stay away. LG seems to be having QC issues. Wouldn't be the first time.
******* UPDATE 5/2/2014 *******
Amazon seems to have received a handful of these in stock, so I just bought the last one. I've been looking and looking for a TV that looks good on a wall and have good picture quality. Judging from some of the replies to this review, I bit the bullet and ordered another one in hopes that it won't have as prominent an issue.
You can expect another video and update after I receive my Amazon LG LB7200. Should be here next Friday (May 9th).\
******** UPDATE 5/13/2014 ( Received 2nd TV) **************
Received my 2nd LG LB7200 from Amazon yesterday. Had a chance to set it up, and actually watch some shows/movies on it last night. Here's some additional thoughts....
- Overall black levels are quite good for the price point (low 1000's).
- viewing angles are pretty god
- semi-matte screen seems to hold up well vs a lot of light. There ARE still reflections however...
- The design still looks quite beautiful, despite backlight issues
- sound is better then the average set, still not quite as awesome as LG says it is
- I am 100% sure that there is a running issue with this model regarding backlight uniformity. I have now personally owned 2, and have seen an additional 2 in the store (demo models), and EVERY single one has the same uniformity issues. Specifically, 2 vertical bands on either side, shadows in all 4 corners, and LED array shadows gridded across the entire panel. I find it too coincidental that 4 out of 4 sets that I have personally seen all have the same problem.
That being said, my 2nd set is noticeably better then my first one. Both the vertical bands and the LED array shadows are not nearly as pronounced, but to my eye, they are still noticeable in certain scenes. I did notice on this 2nd set however, that when viewing the TV as normal, the issue can be forgotten about pretty easily. You mostly see the problem anytime there is a large block of solid light color on the TV. I mentioned some examples in my earlier review, but another one would be when I was watching House Hunters on HGTV. There's a lot of scenes where they just kind of stand in front of a blank wall. I can clearly see the LED array shadows making the wall actually seem like 3 shades of paint rather then 1.
In a real world scenario, I have found that this is the exception, not the norm, since there aren't too many scenarios where you'd be required to put up with that kind of scene for prolonged times.
- Web OS is quite beautiful with LG's implementation... but it can really laaaaagg at times. Like switching from Netflix back to your TV input, or making picture adjustments. The remote is quick to navigate through the menu, but the problem is if you go to fast, the menu can lag.
I'm really torn about this TV. I just moved into a house with a dedicated home theater, so I don't have a need to have THE best picture quality HDTV in the living room. The LG LB7200, by far for the price point, is the PRETTIEST looking TV available. It's just damn sexy. Super thin, edge to edge glass, almost no bezel, metal frame, brushed speaker grill.... it really does almost look like a piece of art.
That being said, there is no denying that LG put out a sub-par backlight panel on this product, and I'm not surprised. I've had LG monitors in the past with issues as well, and overall, LG TV's are somewhat known to have backlight uniformity issues. The only problem is, on edgelit LED's, uniformity problems never manifested as grids, since there is no grid of LEDS. On this direct LED panel, the shadows appear as a grid across the entire TV.
I also know, that while this problem exists, the severity of each TV definitely varies (as reported by other reviewers who don't notice it, and myself personally). I believe that other people claiming that their TV is "perfect", is in fact, not perfect, but just a combination of their high tolerance for the defect, as well as whatever conditions they're watching their TV in. To be fair, the issue isn't evident in 99% of viewing of normal TV programming.
Since the 2nd set is noticeably better then the first, I'll upgrade my rating to 2 star. Slightly better, but enough of a problem that I would still not recommend it (generally speaking).
And another thing, the image for this product is actually slightly inaccurate. If you zoom in to the bezel, it appears as though the picture goes literally from edge to edge. This is actually not the case at all. There is a small bezel hidden underneath the glass that creates a thicker black border then what the picture shows. Still very thin, but very much present. The product photo is obviously a misrepresented photoshop of the actual TV.
So that's why I'm torn. I'm all about real-world usage, not theorizing about specs and what not on paper. And in the real-world, the problem is a lot less of a problem. The question is (for me as well as for you)... are YOU comfortable spending 1200-1400 on a TV, KNOWING it has an issue, but not necessarily "consuming" the issue during use.
For many, the answer will be "no, it doesn't bother me because it looks just fine when I watch it", which is a completely viable option.
For others who have a little OCD in them, it will bother you to no end just based on the principal of spending this much money on something that may not perform at an expected level.
Personally, I'm kind of the latter, but it's being offset by how FREAKING GORGEOUS the TV is. I haven't fully made up my mind yet.
Good luck in your decision
***** UPDATE 8/6/2014 *****
Being Korean myself, I would like to think we're generally an intellectual people. Apparently not all of us. Presumably LG employees, or people hired by LG (who didn't even think to make a non-Korean alias) have been submitting fake 5 star reviews. Note all the 5 star reviews with little to no description. The few that have other purchases were all made on the same day.
The more I see the history of this TV, the more I'm convinced that LG knows they put out a defective product, and are working as hard as they can to unload inventory. I've never seen a premium TV like this drop in price so fast. I've seen it as low as 990 brand new.