These new OLED TVs are the TVs we are most excited about for the year. OLED TV is the technology of the future but with the curved EG9600 its here and available now, even in 4K UHD resolution. Only Sony and Samsung’s very best, top of the line 4K full local dimming models can come close to matching OLED TVs. LG’s new 4K line of OLED TVs won our Best of CES 2015 awards for best picture in the market.
This is an often asked question. I can add a few insights due to our latest reviews. I was a little surprised by the pixelating artifacts on images with the EG9600. OLED is much more like plasma in this regard. A 4K LED-LCD with good upscaling does look smoother, and color more accurate but the advantages of the EG9600’s dynamic contrast, black levels, color and perfect side viewing angles outweighs the artifacts issue. I could not tell if the artifacts were a result of an inherent trait in OLED TVs or an small issue with processing from LG. See our complete discussion on OLED vs. 4K here.
When you view an EG9600 next to a 4K LED TV, the first thing you notice is the immense and infinite black levels of the OLED TV. Yes, 4K LED TVs can still pump out a brighter picture due to amped up LED backlights, but it’s no comparison in depth of blacks. Now for review, you videophiles know that brighter LED backlights in the store can look great, but get it home in a lamp-lit room and you start to see all the flaws (and turn down the backlight setting). You also remember that deeper black levels create colors that pop more and more contrast on the screen. Essentially to make my point simple, black levels win out over brightness in picture quality performance importance. OLED TV wins out easily against 4K LED in this very important category.
I’m not entering into a discussion about the maneuvers like Quantum Dot/ Nanocrystal layers that 4K manufacturers are employing to try to equal OLED in color performance. Instead, just know that they are doing everything possible to try to compete with OLED in performance, which means OLED is better right? Yes, that’s right. The EG9600 has incredible deep pitch blacks and the best looking colors you have ever seen in terms of brilliance, depth, saturation, and contrast. There is just something, “better than this world” about the colors on this OLED TV.
Another area we always highlight is off center viewing contrast. With OLED and the EG9600 it’s perfect just like it was with good plasma TVs, because every pixel is lit organically (and with an electrode) so there is no backlight. The backlight is the problem with LED TVs. Anyway, let’s just say that side angle viewing is perfect not matter your angle and leave it at that. I always thought of the curved screen as a trick used by LED TV manufacturers to try to minimize the side viewing contrast degradation of LCD TVs with LED backlighting. Since OLED TVs do not suffer from this problem, why make them curved? One day they wont be. It just adds to the cost.
As you probably know, the 4K UHD resolution does not do you any good if you cannot enjoy the higher resolution. Therefore, up-scaling 1080p, and 720p and lower resolutions becomes probably the most important point in purchasing a 4K UHD TV due to the dearth of original 4K content. We do not see the content situation getting rapidly better either. However, LG has put some effort into up scaling with the new “Tru-4K Upscaler” which uses an algorithm to smooth the transition from lower resolutions to the native 4K(p) resolution of the panel. We give the EG9600 up-scaling performance a solid B. We note a loss of clarity and definition especially in standard def programming but also in 720p. With 1080p the up scaling was noticeably better. Overall, we do see a good bit more definition and clarity with the EF9500 than with a 1080p LED TV or with LG’s 1080p OLED TV from last year. So there is a solid benefit to the 4K panel aside from just future-proofing.
As discussed above, I don’t believe you should curve an OLED TV since there are no side angle viewing issues. The design of the EG9600 is called “floating curved” for the clear plexi stand mount. It’s very attractive and the panel itself is beautiful with a minimal frame and extra thin panel depth except for the bottom cavity which houses boards and speakers.
After taking flack from us and others two years ago, LG has put some effort into speeding Smart TV function with the first WebOS and now WebOS 2.0. Boot up times are faster, though not as fast as the new Android TV platform. The interface layout is simpler and more intuitive and makes sorting your favorite programs very easy with the point and click operation of the new LG Magic Remote (we love the Magic Remote).
Smart TV options are Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, HSN, Showtime, Drama Fever, iHeart Radio, and newly DirecTV, and GoPro. The GoPro Channel App is only available to LG webOS and allows LG TV owners to stream GoPro videos on-demand. The channel anticipates adding 4K content soon.
The one I like for you cable-cutters out there is Sling TV, which for a monthly fee ($20) gets the all important ESPN and ESPN 2 taken care of. It also gives you the addictive and entertaining Food Network.
IheartRadio is an digital audio service which allows streaming of live radio stations.
LG puts good focus on sound quality and realized that not everyone is going to go out and get a sound bar or surround sound system. With the EG9600 they’ve passed the responsibility to Harman Kardon.
The EG9600 delivered a good performance of 45.5 input lag when in Game mode. It did even better compared to other TVs outside of Game mode at only 60ms.
Excellent 3D quality using 4K resolution and and OLED panel sets the new standard for performance.
Value is not the strong suit of this premium TV priced at a current $4499 for the 55EG9600. The updated aesthetic package and 4K OLED panel are very high end features and not inexpensive to produce. So you are at least getting something for your money. Since there are currently no other OLED TVs on the market, we can only compare to the top of the line 4K LED-LCD TVs. The best Samsung or Sony would run around $2500.