LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN

LG's D2542P-PN is more suited to console playing and movie watching when in 3D mode, but as a straight monitor there's much better value to be had elsewhere.


6.5
CNET Rating
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CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


Despite the huge marketing push, 3D has never appealed to us. The clunky glasses, the eye strain, the potential headaches induced by active shutter solutions — it's always seemed nothing more than a novelty designed to sell more TVs. Even that didn't quite work out as planned, with 3D slowly making its way to being just another check box on the features list.

And so here we have LG's Cinema 3D D2542P-PN — a solution that uses passive 3D glasses, which are lighter and induce considerably less eye strain. For prescription wearers, LG thoughtfully includes a lens-clip version, which due to being frameless is more immersive than the default set.

While 3D is certainly the marquee feature on the box, we want to see if it stacks up as a standard monitor as well. To the test lab!

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN front

LG's fascia is quite plain.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 25 inches
Resolution 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.288
Panel technology TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 170°
V: 160°
Response time 5ms black to black
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections VGA, DVI, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack (for HDMI/DisplayPort audio-out only)
Accessories VGA, DVI cables, framed and clip-on 3D glasses

Stand and ergonomics

LG's stand is the bare minimum — no cable management and tilt adjustment only. It also wobbles worryingly when touched, and the base can only be attached if you have a screwdriver or coin — there's no hands-free method as has been found on every other monitor we've seen.

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN stand

LG's stand is very basic, and the screen wobbles quite a bit after any adjustment.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Connections

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN inputs

Power, 3.5mm, VGA, DVI, HDMI.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN buttons

LG's buttons aren't labelled. In this case, it's not a bad thing.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

LG's buttons are pleasingly front-mounted, and aren't labelled because they don't need to be. They're context sensitive; that context being shown by the on-screen display (OSD), which is shown whenever a user hits any button. This means adjustments can be made quickly and easily in the dark as well as light. LG hasn't included an up button, though, which means if you accidentally miss a menu item, you'll have to cycle through the whole lot to get back to where you intended to be.

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN OSD

Thanks to its context-sensitive nature, LG's OSD is easy to use.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

By monitor standards LG's options are highly limited, giving brightness, contrast and RGB controls. There's also a "3D Color Effect", which dramatically over-sharpens for PC use, and can thankfully be turned off. There are "warm", "medium" and "cool" colour presets, but as always, we recommend you stick to "user" to get the most out of your display. Lamely, the video input can't be manually set: the monitor autoscans.

The D2542P-PN doesn't support 1:1 pixel mapping; if your resolution isn't the full 1920x1080, you only have the option of full screen or aspect scaling. It's worth noting that the scaling in the LG is awful and very blurry, causing significant degradation of image quality. 1080p all the way here, folks.

Performance

Using the LG as a straight monitor is a little off-putting due to obvious horizontal lines in the display. This is the price you pay for 3D — sit back over a metre or so, and it becomes unnoticeable.

For a TN screen, LG really has managed some impressive deep blacks, probably helped in part by the semi-gloss screen.

3D performance
LG's polarised glasses don't have curved lenses, and as such the frame dominates a large amount of your vision and sits a good distance from your face. The glossiness of the lenses also means any light sources behind you will reflect in them — an unwelcome distraction when your ocular focus is already being manipulated.

Good 3D isn't all about the glasses, however — it's a combination of painstaking work with the source material, and the technology used to realise that work. As a result you get a huge variety of quality, from images that have out-of-whack depth, to movies that throw things out of the screen at you and have their separate elements appear as if they're floating on separate 2D planes, to something more subtle and enjoyable like the efforts made in Avatar or Monsters vs. Aliens.

The optimal point for 3D viewing on the LG is around a metre away from the monitor, and it can only afford a small range of movement before things move out of alignment. Even in the sweet spot, ghosting is often present.

3D is achieved in two separate ways on LG's monitor; either via LG's included "TriDef" software, or for external devices, through the monitor's OSD. Mac users are sadly left out in the cold, and LG wastefully splits its software across two CDs instead of a single DVD: software on one, manual and monitor driver on the other.

Its TriDef 3D portal is a media centre-style application, allowing playback of movies and viewing of images. Its bare minimum stuff that simply splits an image into an interleaved version, and isn't the most intuitive interface we've used either — but it works.

The game launcher is a bit more complex. You can scan your hard drive for existing games that match the included profiles, or browse and add your own, so long as it uses DirectX 9 - 11. It also pops up on overlay telling you to use 1920x1080 if you are using another resolution.

Sadly, you can't create your own profiles within the app, you need to tweak within the game itself and the profile is saved automatically. This can lead to a situation where if LG's program causes your game to crash, you have to remove the profile and start all over again, otherwise your game will always crash. You can export your profile, but it's not human readable in any way — the end user is completely denied manual editing.

Once the program has been run, LG launches an overlay in which hotkeys can be used to adjust the stereoscopy depth and how far "in front" images appear. We tested Batman: Arkham Asylum and found that the stereoscopy had to be turned down to the lowest setting to reduce the image visibly splitting apart as the camera moved. Without fail, the 3D would also switch itself off partway through. Any attempt to reinitialise during the game would cause a crash. Game performance was also dramatically impacted, average frame rates at 1920x1080 dropping from 35 frames per second on our test machine to 13 frames per second.

Despite having a specific profile for Metro 2033, the game was incorrectly rendered to the point of only showing white light sources.

Native 3D content from the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 doesn't need any intervention from the user, although the monitor does allow you to flip the left and right fields, or convert 3D imagery back to 2D. The quality of 3D effect varied from game to game. Halo Anniversary's environments generally gained a little extra depth, but characters sadly looked like cardboard cut-outs existing on different planes, and jaggies were more obvious. Gran Turismo 5, however, benefited by the extra depth added; the slight dimming experienced making it feel like sitting in an arcade.

If the content doesn't support 3D you can simulate it through the monitor using line interlaced, top/bottom or left/right modes; though, they don't let you adjust the 3D depth. For LG's kit, you'll mostly stick with line interlaced.

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the D2542P-PN was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Too sharp Pass Pass Pass Pass

Even with "3D Color Effect" turned off, the LG comes out as being a little too sharp.

Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Flicker Pass Downward scrolling Heavy flicker Light flicker/
downward
scrolling
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

Most monitors fail from one up to four of the pixel walk tests; the LG rides the boundaries of the acceptable limit.

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs was taken using StoppUhr. With a lag time of 2ms, the LG is perfectly fine for twitch gamers.

Colour accuracy
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of one is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than three, the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine &DeltaE for the monitor, in tandem with an X-Rite i1Display 2.

Measured levels (Standard mode)
Contrast ratio 1138:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.240
White level (cd/m²) 273.021
Gamma 2.23
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
88.3 13.1 14.2 14.2 11.8 7.8 5.7 4.7 5.7 2.1 9.7
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
18.4 14.0 8.9 8.9 16.4 9.3

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN chart

The little white dots, our grey reference points, should be on the curved line. Out of the box, this is not the case.
(Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Egads. While we can't do much about the colours being a consumer-grade monitor, let's see if we can at least get those greys into place so our colour gradients look more natural.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 694:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.194
White level (cd/m²) 134.593
Gamma 2.20
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
87.8 20.3 5.6 3.0 2.4 1.6 2.3 1.5 1.2 1.4 1.4
Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
18.3 15.9 4.7 9.2 14.1 7.9

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN CIE chart

Better. We shouldn't be losing as much colour detail now.
(Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Our greys are now mostly in line after 30 per cent, meaning a more accurate colour scale should be displayed. Our colour accuracy still isn't great, though, and contrast ratio takes quite a hit to get here.

HDMI performance
While a monitor might have an HDMI port, there's no guarantee that it'll display images as expected. We hooked up a PlayStation 3 and checked for 24p capability and judder, as well as ran the HQV Blu-ray test to see how well it coped with an interlaced source and noise.

24p capable Understands YUV Mission Impossible III
Scene 11 judder test
Mission Impossible III
Scene 14 judder test
Yes Yes Very slight judder Very slight judder
HQV noise
reduction
score
HQV video
resolution loss
score
HQV jaggies
score
HQV film
resolution loss
score
HQV film
resolution loss — stadium
score
Total score
out of 100
0 0 0 0 0 0

The LG manages to mostly hide the judder in Mission Impossible III, to the point that you likely won't see it unless you're looking for it. Its HQV score was a total bust, however, with zero noise reduction and poor handling of interlaced content.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot-metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN viewing angles

Colour inversion on vertical viewing angles, along with the screen losing contrast ratio on the horizontals is a hallmark of TN technology.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
There isn't even the smallest hint of light bleed. LG's screen has very impressive, very deep blacks.

It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that, due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values of 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 35W
Power-saving mode <1W
Off <1W

Although it uses quite a bit of power in the on state, LG's monitor correctly powers down to save power when not being used. Unlike some competitors, when one input goes to sleep it doesn't switch to the next active one — meaning the LG correctly saves even more power.

Warranty

The D2542P-PN is covered by LG for one year, not great when viewed through the eyes of competitors like BenQ which offers four. It offers a "perfect pixel policy", though, meaning that if you have any defective pixels, you can have the monitor swapped out within the warranty period.

Conclusion

How you feel about the Cinema 3D will vary depending on how you feel about 3D. We're of the stance that you'll get more value by putting your money into a 2D monitor with significantly better image quality. Certainly as a standard 2D PC monitor, the LG offers distracting horizontal lines and inferior image quality compared to much more affordable competitors from the likes of Dell and BenQ.

Using the D2542P-PN in 3D mode on your PC is also a non-starter, in that you have to sit around a metre away for the 3D effect to be at its best, and the software for games crashes quite often. Gamers looking for 120Hz refresh will have to look elsewhere — LG uses a passive solution rather than active, meaning it achieves 3D by interlacing offset images and effectively halving the resolution, rather than doubling the refresh and inserting offset images in every alternate frame.

If you must have 3D, this monitor is more geared toward movie watching or console playing. LG's passive solution is definitely kinder on the eyes than active shutter solutions. The conversion of non-native images and video to 3D is still a highly inaccurate science, and there's a relative dearth of native 3D content out there. We're quite sure that 3D fans will be more interested in a large screen TV as well, making the value of a 25-inch monitor questionable. But if you need something bedroom sized and absolutely must have 3D, and passive 3D at that, then the LG D2542P-PN is one option to pursue.



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CharlesW1 posted a comment   

2 seconds of work changing the settings fixed the problem of the "Too Sharp" image. So this is not really a problem, sure it is a little too sharp for some with it's factory settings, but it is easily remedied.

The same applied to the flickering, I downloaded the latest drivers and fiddled with the settings for a while and the flicker went away.

All in all this is a pretty good budget 3D monitor.

My only gripes are that a HDMI cable has to be purchased separately and there is some minor purple ghosting because I am uncoordinated and cant get the vertical angle perfect...

Rating: 4.5/5

SteveW3 Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Excellent 3D PC monitor or 3D TV screen via HDMI"

SteveW3 posted a review   

The Good:Everything to do with 3D just works - on a PC or as TV screen.

The Bad:Doesn't automatically turn off "3D Effect" brightness / saturation.

I can get better PC monitors for the same price or less, but they don't support 3D and 3D is the primary reason I bought the monitor.

Background:

I am able to create my own 3D content. I just need something decent to see it on.

I have an LG Optimus 3D phone and it;s successor, the LG Optimus 3D Max (*excellent*). Both have 3D camera for 2D and 3D stills and video. Both have a glasses-free 3D display. Both allow output to an external monitor for displaying 3D content directly from the phone.

I also own a Fuji Real 3D W3 digital camera that can take excellent 2D and 3D stills and videos. I just need something decent to see them on.

The LG D2542P 25" screen is absolutely something decent to see my 3D content on. It also works perfectly with YouTube when the YT player is set to "interleaved" mode.

The passive glasses make it easy - and cheap - to see good quality 3D content with little or not eye strain. I've never had any problems watching 3D content provided the left and right images are properly aligned. My own content is always perfectly aligned and 90% of the commercial 3D content is also perfectly aligned. Best of all the passive glasses can be bought for $1 at any local movie theatre.

You can tell when people who aren't into 3D review a 3D product. They tend to focus on the bits they do know...and the 3D aspect is sidelined. The CNet review here is no different.

I bought this monitor BECAUSE is does great 3D and the glasses are cheap. It would have absolutely no value to me if it didn't do 3D.

I bought a second, identical, monitor that I use with my digital TV set top box and my 3D Blu-Ray player. I had to buy a small HDMI switch to allow me to switch sources as this screen only has one HDMI input.

The result? I have a 25" 1080p 3D TV for about 30% of what a full-blown 3D costs. I didn't want a 40" screen anyway...and I also didn't want active shutter glasses. Passive for the win!

You just cannot do this with a 2D-only monitor, so comparing this screen with 2D screens is very like much comparing apples and hand grenades. They just aren't the same thing for anyone who is into 3D.

That would be me.

The only downside I have struck is thathen you play 3D content, the screen automatically increases the brightness and saturation, but does not reset it automatically when not playing 3D content, so you do have to use the Menu button on the monitor to access the "3d Effect" setting and turn off the changes made to compensate for the shading of the passive glasses.




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User Reviews / Comments  LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN

  • CharlesW1

    CharlesW1

    "2 seconds of work changing the settings fixed the problem of the "Too Sharp" image. So this is not really a problem, sure it is a little too sharp for some with it's factory settings, but it is eas..."

  • SteveW3

    SteveW3

    Rating9

    "I can get better PC monitors for the same price or less, but they don't support 3D and 3D is the primary reason I bought the monitor.

    Background:

    I am able to create my ..."

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