Infinia LX9500 Series
Let's start at the top. The LX9500 series is the cream of the crop -- a sleek, razor-thin set with outstanding specs, including 3D capability. It's a connected TV, running the Yahoo! Connected TV service and other widgets, like Netflix and Picasa. Its purported 10 million-to-one contrast ratio is a hocus-pocus figure, but if the LE8500's stellar performance (see below) is any indication, the color black should be exceptionally inky (that's a good thing), so we'll play along with LG's marketing nonsense here. Another luxury feature, local-dimming LED edge-lighting, is present, and provides for better contrasts as well as energy savings (every penny counts).
It does remain to be seen if the LX9500 runs into problems with uneven localized LED dimming that CNet observed on LG's other sets this year -- not a deal-breaker for most consumers, but an annoying issue for those with discerning eyes. Add in a one millisecond response time and top it all off with a 480 Hz refresh rate. That's overkill for a 2D picture, possibly even 3D, but it is better to err on the side of excess with these 3D sets -- the more Hz, the smoother the 3D image, and the more the images pop. Long story short, this is a TV for the big spenders, videophiles who want to break away from plasma (energy efficiency is a worthy cause, guys), and early 3D adopters. It certainly should compete with the top Samsung LEDs, like C8000 and the elusive C9000 -- which brand you pick is up to personal taste.
Infinia LE8500 Series
You'll have to wait a few months for the LX9500, but the LE8500 is already out in the wild, and we have the benefit of a full CNet review. This is a notch below the LX9500, without 3D capability or the absurd 480 Hz refresh rate (pared down to a merely ridiculous 240 Hz), though it maintains a stellar picture. It has a (meaningless) contrast ratio of 9 million to one, which translates in real-world terms to "really deep blacks and bright whites." It's a connected TV as well, which is always a plus. The only downside, as noted in CNet's review, is that the local LED dimming can be uneven in certain circumstances, and causes some blooming and illumination problems. Even so, I have a feeling this will be a popular high-end set this year. There are droves of consumers who will skip the 3D craze, at least for a few years, especially when they can get a stunning 2D set like this, for a lower cost, without those dumb glasses. This is for big spenders with some sense or no depth perception.
Infinia LE7300 Series
This is currently unavailable, and no word on when it will be for sale.A good chunk of the specs are left out on LG's website. We do know that it's 120 Hz with a 2.6 millisecond response time. The Infinia tag seems to indicate a sharp contrast ratio, but it's listed at "just" four million-to-one (again, that's a completely arbitrary number, but we can at least use it to compare LG models to one another), so who knows. It's probably not 3D-ready, judging by the LE in its name (rather than LX) but it will likely web-ready, since all the other LG LED sets are (with the exception of the bang-for-your-buck 5300 series). Hopefully more will be announced, as it seems to be a more budget-minded high-performance option.
LG dropped the Infinia tag from this 3D-ready set, whatever that means. It does boast a contrast ratio just barely south of the LE8500 series, so the picture should still be quite sharp, relatively speaking. The 2 millisecond response time is nice 'n' speedy, and the 240 Hz refresh rate is more than enough for 2D images, though may result in slightly choppy 3D performance. I can't help but feel like this set tries to represent some awkward middle ground -- cheaper 3D, but without the specs to really make it look great. Honestly, if you're even considering going 3D this year, you owe it to yourself to buy one of the higher-end sets (the Panasonic VT20/25 gets the best reviews). I'd suggest skipping the LX6500 in favor of a better 3D set, or a more reasonably priced 2D set.
Now we're down into the "plain" LED sets. By 2010 TV-nerd standards, these 120 Hz connected TVs aren't too exciting, even though even one year ago, these would've been impressive (and more expensive). The 5500 boasts a higher contrast ratio and faster response time than the 5400, though most viewers would be hard-pressed to point out the difference. The 5500 has local dimming, too, though CNet found noticeable inconsistencies with that feature. They're otherwise identical. These are no-nonsense LED TVs that will offer a great picture at a reasonable price point, just without some of the bells and whistles of the more expensive models.
We've had this model featured in one of our buyer's guides for about a month now, and for some reason has become the most-clicked TV on this site. It's a 120 Hz, LED TV for cheap, period. No "luxury" features here, not even web-readiness, just a good looking picture on an extremely well-priced TV. Most LED sets don't come any smaller than 42 inches; this series doesn't come any larger than 37, so if you're dead set on a great-looking TV for a smaller room, this is a TV you should strongly consider.