There’s something about a big screen, super-thin and super expensive TV that makes nervous, and annoyed. Nervous because it’s $10,000 sitting on my lounge room entertainment unit. Annoyed because I couldn’t imagine being able to buy one. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that I wouldn’t want to.
This is the 65EG960T – described by LG as a “4K ULTRA HD OLED WITH WEBOS 2.0 SMART+ TV”.
I call it the triple-threat. 4K TVs are the best you can get, Curved screens are the competitive new thing that all the TV companies are trying to make us love, and OLED, oh OLED – the super-thin new TV technology which LG have made their own in recent years.
When it comes to 4K you might think all TVs are made equal, but that’s not true at all. Given that watching things in 4K is really a thing of dreams, it’s actually more important to consider how the TV will handle Standard Definition and High Definition content.
Without question in my mind, the Foxtel HD offering is the best place to test this. Their live sport HD quality is miles ahead of anything in broadcast television. I watched NRL, AFL, Speedway and Formula One on the LG TV and it’s nothing short of amazing.
The key to quality is what’s known in the TV world as “upscaling”. The TV set itself takes the content it’s being given via the HDMI port in this example, and uses on-board processors to ensure that it’s not just stretching the picture across the four times bigger screen (there are four times as many pixels in a 4K TV than in a HD picture), instead it computes the picture and tries to upscale the number of pixels to suit.
Results are phenomenal. I think my days of enjoying F1 are over. I watched the most exciting Grand Prix in years on this TV (Hungarian GP 2015) and not only was the race awesome, the quality of the picture was sensational.
It used to be that we (technology reporters, journalists or commentators) would recommend Plasma for those who want to enjoy fast moving pictures like live sport or action movies. Plasma was better than LCD and LED. Today, Plasma is gone, no longer made. OLED sits firmly in its place.
The combination of the quality upscaling and the OLED technology is what makes this TV sensational.
OLED takes the LED concept and pushes the boundaries. Imagine if you will the over 8 million pixels on a TV like this one. Each one lights up a different colour to give you the combined picture you see.
On an LED TV those pixels get light from a single set of light sources around the screen or behind the screen. This means that if a pixel or a set of pixels need to go black, they simply can’t. While they are “off” there is light bleeding into that space from the light around the whole TV.
This is an over simplification of course, but let’s talk OLED. In OLED screens, each and every pixel not only provides the colour you see, but the light that makes it shine bright. This means when a pixel is black, it’s black.
And it shows. The blacks are deeply black; the bright colours are just that. There’s just one problem. You get used to it.
You see, when you’re standing in Harvey Norman drooling over this and contemplating the couple of hundred dollar a month deal over four years to pay for it, you’re comparing it with every other crappy looking LED TV in the store.
When you get home, there’s nothing more to compare it to.
I found myself noticing the quality on the occasions when I used the menus on the TV or watched a really well shot bit of content. When the producer puts the effort into a program or movie – it shows on the LG Curved OLED 4K TV.
Along with the quality of the picture, LG have really nailed their Web OS TV operating system. The menus are simple, colourful, and easy to understand.
There’s not lag or delay on menus, and while last year’s LG “magic remote” was a disappointment to me, the 2015 model has numbers back so it really can be your total remote.
For $10,000 I’d like more than three HDMI ports, that’s standard fare on almost all first and second tier TVs. People with $10k to spend might be more like me than I’d imagine, and have a Fetch TV or Foxtel, and Apple TV, one or two games consoles and that means throwing in a HDMI switcher to get everything connected.
Freeview Plus and HbbTV applications work great, and if you’ve got a decent internet connection hooked up, then you’ve got all the catch-up services at your fingertips.
Built into the TV without tuning into any broadcast channels you’ll find a load of apps including ABC iView, SBS OnDemand, Netflix and YouTube.
Netflix is basically you’re only hope for 4K content, but even that is limited.
So, why wouldn’t I want to buy one?
Samsung and LG will have you think that the Curved screens are the next big thing. And they are an amazing technical feat.
And yes, I think this could be a very personal decision – I just want you to think past the hype.
When the TV is not on, I don’t get a feeling the curve is perfect, it feels a bit like square bricks forming a huge curved wall – at a distance it’s a magnificent curve, but up close, its’ bricks on angles. The TV is similar, when it’s on – a magnificent picture. When it’s off and the screen is black – the lights and reflections don’t seem to be a perfect curve.
Sitting directly in front of the TV you feel like the corners are drawn up and out. At the distance you’re sitting in a large lounge room – I honestly don’t get an immersive feeling.
When I chill out on our lounge to the side of the TV, I just get a weird shaped screen.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the picture. It doesn’t look distorted at all. When you’re on a menu you are super familiar with, like our Fetch TV or Foxtel box, you really get a sensation that something is different.
Could I live with it? Yep.
Could LG potentially dominate the TV market if they had a flat OLED TV? Hell yeah.
They’ve nailed the manufacturing process. The percentage of OLED panels coming off the production line is so high now, LG can afford to sell this thing for $9,999. Sounds expensive, but this could easily have been a $15,000 TV. Especially with the Aussie dollar the way it is.
So, have they only nailed the curved OLED? Surely OLED is OLED and they could start pumping out flat OLED TVs?
If a 65 inch 4K OLED TV was available at $6,999 or so, it could, should and would sell – and sell very well. LG is a clear second in the TV sales war, Samsung owns the top spot, by a long way last time I looked. Yet, LG have the best quality screen on the market – by a long way.
I could be missing something, and perhaps that’s the need to push out the fully bleeding edge technology before normalising it into the market, but right now OLED panels could drive a solid sales rush – at $9,999 it’s an exclusive product.
The 55 inch version is $5,999, but again – at that screen size it’s more than top dollar.
This is a television that will change the way you see content. Rich colours, deep blacks, brilliant fast motion movement and an excellent interface for the user. It ticks every box. Perhaps with the curve though it just ticks too many?