The 55-inch EM9600 is LG’s answer to the up and coming OLED display technology in TVs. The race is on between LG and Samsung to see who actually gets it here first, regardless we will see it on the market and available for purchase by the end of 2012. Fortunately, we’ve already had a private screening of the TV for this review although we could not implement calibration equipment. This is one of the first OLED TVs of this size to be mass produced for the public, along with its only competition this year coming from Samsung. The main difference between the two TVs is the design of the OLED technology placed in the display. The EM9600 uses the RGBW system, where white OLEDs are used with red, green, and blue color filters to produce the image. Samsung’s RGB display format uses three independently colored OLEDs to reproduce the image. The EM9600 colors may not be as vibrant, but they are much brighter and able to provide better color accuracy.
Picture quality is the first thing to address when it comes to OLED TVs. This new display technology surpasses all available LCDs and plasmas without a hitch. OLED TV technology is just that good. It’s the best we’ve ever seen except for the prototype 4K TVs introduced this year. First of all, there is no back light in the EM9600. OLEDs produce their own light. That means black levels are top notch in this TV. The EM9600’s picture is not affected by viewing angle or ambient brightness either. Contrast and color deterioration are basically non-existent due to the RGBW display LG uses in this set. The problem of motion judder is addressed in this OLED TV as well. The EM9600 has a 120Hz refresh rate that does a great job of smoothing out any fast motion. A huge plus for sports programming.
LG also includes their exclusive Color Refiner on this OLED model. This makes for much greater tonal enhancement in the processing of images. The resulting picture achieves colors much more vibrant and natural than any TV to date.
Contrast ratio is measurement of the brightest whites and the blackest blacks a display can offer. The number can sometimes be kind of outrageous while making little to no difference on the actual effectiveness of the panel. This OLED does away with the numebers by offering an infinite contrast ratio. This means optimal contrast will be delivered no matter what the ambient brightness level or viewing angle happens to be.
As if the almost perfect picture quality does not create a desire in you to posses this TV, LG has loaded the EM9600 with all of its top-tier features to make it irresistible. The TV is 3D ready with LG’s Cinema 3D technology. This is passive 3D, which means glasses will be much less expensive and there is no need to worry about keeping glasses charged.
LG’s Smart TV is included and adds a lot of functionality to the TV that is well worth it. The Smart TV suite is one of the fastest of all the different manufacturers and includes a dashboard with many standard and premium apps as well as a full web browser. LG’s included magic remote improves the overall user experience of the Smart TV suite by implementing a point and click operation. This mainly applies to web browsing and app selection, but makes most menus a little easier navigate and more fun to use. This version of the magic remote has four different modes and a built-in mic.
The appearance of the EM9600 is just about as impressive as the picture quality. With a depth of only 4mm it is surely one of the thinnest TVs on the market. Because the EM9600 is so thin, the TV’s stand is where all of the media connectivity happens. The stand then connects to the screen with a proprietary cable. The TV is lightweight clocking in at only 16.5 pounds. Carbon fiber reinforced plastics allow the EM9600 to be light but not terribly fragile. The bezel around the display is a mere 1mm thick, making the picture the center of attention when the TV is on.
OK, hold on to your seat. If you were to say the 55EM9600 is not for those on a budget, you would entirely miss the mark. This OLED boasts a hefty price tag of around $11,999. You entirely get what you pay for when it comes to this TV, which was not the case for early adopters of plasma technology. Those pioneers of technology got TVs that were 5 inches in depth and had serious burn-in issues as well as a short shelf life. The picture quality was also not far superior to everything else on the market. So keep in mind that you’ll have to deal with a monster price tag if you want to be the first one on the street with a 55-inch OLED in your living room. But at the same time you will have the highest quality TV around.