The UH6550 is one of the lowest priced LG 4K offering for the year and one of the better priced 4K LED TVs in the market. This model forgoes some of the fanciest features such as Harmon Kardon designed speakers and the metallic silver frame and stand of the Super HDR models like the UH7700 and UH8500. But it is HDR compatible as well as 4K. It also has a lower TruMotion 120Hz refresh rate (60Hz panel). However, it retains some of the critical elements of top LG TVs like the Magic Remote and the Tru 4K Upscaler.
There is no more important component of a 4K UHD TV than the video engine – particularly the ability to upscale/upconvert resolution to the native resolution of the panel. While LG’s offerings in general are not as strong as the best Sony models in this regard, they do sometimes offer considerably more value. The lack of 4K content is going to continue well into the future, so stellar upconverting of all manner of HD resolutions – 720p, 1080p, 480p is essential. LG’s UH6550 does a much better job in this regard than last year and really cleans up lower resolution signal picture quality nicely. I was especially impressed with lowly DVD quality on the set. The all important streaming video movies looked good as well but do display some judder when the camera pans side to side. The Triple XD Video engine is LG’s processing engine from last year, so you save some money there, but it’s not their best.
LG’s UH7700 uses an IPS (in-plane-switching) panel, albeit a new one for 2016/2017. The IPS panel allows for much better picture quality from side angles without degrading color saturation and contrast much. This is one of the standout features of this TVs picture quality. There are still weaknesses in both with side angle viewing as contrast degrades, but generally the IPS panel is 20%-30% better from angles than non-IPS panel LED TVs. Reflections are also subdued by the IPS panel and front substrate.
Colors do to render more depth and slightly better saturation in these new 4K HDR models. The UH7700 has an expanded color gamut meeting HDR standards. LG contends this is due to their new Color Prime technology-which uses phosphor (colored) based LED lighting. Out of the box colors are over saturated but after calibrating the picture settings or using the cinema (user) setting with contrast at around 80% you get natural, crisp colors.
HDR Pro is LG’s designation for TVs in their lineup that will accept and play HDR content but do not have as high of specs as the Super Ultra HD TVs in terms of how wide the color gamut is and how they show HDR content. I would call it HDR compatible. Most HDR content will only be able to be shown on an HDR compatible or enabled TV similar to 3D content in that regard. HDR Pro will not be compatible with Dolby Vizio for example which combines HDR with wide color gamut technology.
The big focus TV feature for 2016/2017 is HDR (High Dynamic Range). HDR extends the range that a pixel in an LCD TV can show. This applies to the brightness and luminosity of images. Contrast is enhanced by increased brightness rather than deeper blacks. Rather than just increase the brightness of the picture overall though, the real purpose of HDR is to increase contrast in various image areas of the picture. It improves the presentation in the brighter parts of the picture and this creates more contrast with surrounding darker parts of the picture. Since picture contrast is one of the primary features in improving perceived depth, HDR is considered a major picture quality improvement even though it may not increase the overall contrast of the panel a lot. Bright colors receive enhanced purity. A good HDR image will show better shadow detail, and the scenes that you will notice the most are those with light illuminating images, such as a room that has sunlight coming in through a window and illuminating parts of the room. HDR content is and will be in short supply for a while.
The studios, distributors (Netflix, Amazon) and TV manufacturer must all be on the same page for you to see HDR content. Some Amazon Original series are currently offered. Vudu currently offers 30+ Dolby Vision titles. Dolby Vision is HDR plus wide color gamut.
Colors do to render more depth and slightly better saturation in these new 4K models. LG contends this is due to their new Color Prime Pro technology-which uses phosphor (colored) based LED lighting. Out of the box colors are over-saturated but after calibrating the picture settings or using the cinema (user) setting with contrast at around 80% you get natural, crisp colors. My personal take is that the IPS panels are a bit brighter with colors, but proffer less depth in blacks.
LG’s UH6550 uses an IPS (in-plane-switching) panel, albeit a new one for 2016/2017. The IPS panel allows for much better picture quality from side angles without degrading color saturation and contrast much. This is one of the standout features of this TV’s picture quality. There are still weaknesses in both with side angle viewing as contrast degrades, but generally the IPS panel is 20%-30% better from angles than non-IPS panel LED TVs. Reflections are also subdued by the IPS panel and front substrate.
The same IPS panel that causes the UH6550 to excel from side angles performs in mediocrity in black level depth and contrast. IPS panels are especially good at side angle viewing capability, but take away from black levels. So if you are a nighttime, center view, movie watcher this may not be the best TV for you.
The TruMotion feature setting is used for judder reduction. Our recommendation is to turn the TruMotion settings feature off with all but sports programming. It adds that kitschy fake look to the picture by removing too much of the intended background blur. One of our readers called it the “Telenovela” effect to give you some perspective. It’s especially distracting during BluRay movies. It may sharpen older DVDs and give you a new perspective on them.
The UH65500 does a decent job of eliminating judder in most content even considering it’s only a 60Hz panel (Trumotion 120Hz). Streaming movies and older DVDs may show some, especially in scenes that pan slowly side to side may benefit from turning on the Trumotion setting.
Despite being only a 60Hz panel fast motion is pretty decent. Try turning on the Trumotion setting for sports programming to make sure there is no motion lag.
After taking flack from us and others two years ago, LG has put some effort into speeding Smart TV function with the first WebOS, WebOS 2.0, and now improved even more with the WebOS 3.0 system. Boot up times are faster, and usability is at a high point with 3.0. The interface layout is cleaner 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.
Simple is the name of the game here. Instead of a home screen with tons of buttons, you get a nice colored strip across the bottom of the screen populated with your favorite apps and the LG store. What you are currently viewing stays on the screen. Click the left arrow on the screen to see your open apps and the right arrow to show all the app downloaded to your TV. We are impressed with the speed of switching between apps. It is instantaneous. Two years ago a big complaint of ours was the poor streaming ability of LG’s Smart TV platform. That’s not the case this year thanks to the complete overhaul of the entire platform. This means the buffering times of streaming 2D content are greatly reduced. Overall, the move to a WebOS based system was a good move on LG’s part.
Even though the UH6550 does not have the upgraded Harmon Kardon speaker package, sound quality is nevertheless better than the majority of flat screen TVs on the market. The Clear Voice II setting is our choice for settings.
The UH6550 has nice simple clean lines and a small half inch bezel frame. I’m not crazy about the “feet” style stand that sit at the base of the far left and right sides of the TV. It’s not as sleek as the Super 4K TVs but gets the job done and for price considered, at a nice discount.
The UH6550 is really a value model for those that are not concerned with the absolute top of the line features and aesthetics. It definitely covers the bases and will make a great living room TV for those that watch from side angles a lot and do not mind the dimished black levels proffered by the IPS panel. It also gets you future-proofed pretty well.
65UH6550 – $1600
60UH6550 – $1397
55UH6550 – $999
75UH6550 – $2799