Google TV wasn’t exactly a success as many people didn’t see the need in getting a Google TV set-top box. Google TV had some tough competition from the likes of Apple, Roku and Boxee but it wasn’t just the competition that overshadowed this platform. Gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and even modern midrange TVs offer online hubs that connect you to the popular online streaming platforms. But Google isn’t giving up and LG is willing to give Google TV a chance. The LG 47GA7900 has the Google TV innards and it aims to leverage Android’s lucrative app ecosystem.
With 65-inch and larger TVs aiming to invade more living rooms one day, a 47-inch TV like the 47GA7900 seems quite small. But for standard living rooms, the LG 47GA7900 is still a good fit and the TV visually looks stunning. The thin 5mm bezel looks invisible from a short distance away and the 2 legs supporting the display are stylishly designed.
High-end 2013 LG TVs including the GA7900 series stand out on the USB front with 2 USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.0 port for faster data transferring. The rest of the TV ports are pretty standard. You have 4 HDMI inputs which should be adequate for most home theater systems and the usual legacy ports are present too.
Thanks to a recent update, the 47GA7900 runs on Android Jelly Bean. You won’t notice the interface right away because LG still skins it up with its proprietary LG Home Dashboard interface. When you enter the home screen, the interface actually resembles the Smart TV interface featured in LG TVs without Google TV functionality. The LG Home Dashboard is customizable though and you can put all of your favorite apps on launcher bar. But the Google TV integration adds some key apps including an Android-based Chrome browser and the Play Store. The Google Play Store is very rich with apps and many of them work for the LG TV. YouTube, which is Google-owned, looks great as an Android app on the big screen.
But if you want to work with multiple streaming services from one friendly interface, you can rely on the Google TV PrimeTime Quick Guide app. The app makes good use of the 47-inch screen and shows off a bunch of thumbnails of movies, TV shows and other content organized in various categories. You can easily navigate to different sections if you want TV or movies on demand or you can simply check program schedules. The TV on demand feature works with many online services like Google Play, Netflix, HBO Go and Amazon Instant Video.
Android is primarily an operating system that relies on touch but Google TV requires an input device. Fortunately, LG provides a special remote control called the LG Magic QWERTY remote and it makes the whole navigation experience very pleasant. The remote features directional pad with surrounding buttons linked to specific controls. For instance, the “Home” button takes you to the LG Home Dashboard. But like an Android device, you can hold down this button to see a more Android-like interface where you can quickly access the Network settings and other options. The button on the center of the directional pad is the most interesting because it not only acts as an “OK” button but also as a scroll wheel where you can quickly scroll through menus or Web pages. The other buttons operate the TV side of things like volume and channel so you won’t really need your main remote unless you frequently jump to certain channels. The back side of the remote is actually a QWERTY keyboard and the buttons are reasonably sized for easy inputting. There is also a search button which quickly brings up a search bar where you can type just about anything you want to look for. The interface of this search feature looks very intuitive. While you cannot use the LG Magic QWERTY remote as a pointing device like the other sleeker LG Magic Remote bundled in high-end non-Google TV models, you can still perform gestures by pressing the “Gesture” button on the remote.
Voice recognition is supported on the LG 47GA7900 too and it can be accessed at any time from the front of the LG Magic QWERTY remote. The voice recognition is far more intelligent than other TV platforms since it is powered by Google. You can tell the TV to launch a certain app or even look for a video on YouTube.
The 47GA7900 has the LG Cinema 3D technology which means that all home theater components with 3D support can take advantage of the display’s 3D tech through HDMI. 4 people can enjoy these 3D features all at once since 4 pairs of passive 3D glasses are included.
LG’s LED Plus technology works wonders in enhancing the picture quality of the LG 47GA7900. The blacks are impressively deep and the colors are very rich. Edge LED lighting is also responsible for better contrast and overall clarity.
The 47GA7900 has a Motion Clarity Index of 960 which highlights the TV’s strong capability of handling fast moving images. It uses combines the display’s Triple XD Engine with a special technology to help reduce blurring. Combined with the TruMotion 240 Hz technology, sports channels and movie channels look great.
The speakers of the LG 47GA7900 are also pretty impressive because they are arranged in a 2.1-channel setup. With a pair of 12-watt speakers and a subwoofer, the sound quality is more balanced. You also have 6 different sound modes to choose from which may enhance the sound depending on the content you are listening to.
As a Smart TV, the overall performance of the 47GA7900 is great because of the Android Jelly Bean optimizations and L9 Dual Core processor which helps bring a smooth experience when accessing YouTube or using the Web browser.
47-inch TVs are very cheap nowadays and even the high-end models like the LG 47GA7900 still manage to stand below $2,000. $1,699 could buy you a much larger TV but the whole purpose of this TV is to bring the Google TV experience and other high-end features to an affordable price. The size of the TV is what makes it cheap but it could be the best deal ever if you are fine with a 47-inch TV in the living room.
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