TV manufacturers have been promising the wonders of OLED as a TV technology for what feels like eternity. But in the two years since LG launched its first OLED screen in Australia, all the subsequent TVs have featured a curved design.
LG has finally bucked that trend, launching new flat-panel OLEDs in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes, and the results are brilliant.
Thanks to OLED’s self-lighting pixels, the LG panels produce an impossibly realistic contrast ratio where blacks are actually completely black — not a dull, backlit grey like you see on LCD-based panels.
In a dark room, on an OLED set, you can’t even tell you’re watching a film with letterbox bars above and below the picture, as the pixels don’t have any illumination whatsoever.
And because LG is no longer mandating a curved TV — which looks weird when wall-mounted and creates awkward sweet spots when viewing — this television will fit almost any room.
From a price perspective, LG’s flat OLED TVs are identical to last year’s curved 4K models at $8,999 for the 65-inch, or $5,499 for the 55-inch, though there’s one notable technological addition — HDMI 2.0(a) ports, which allow you to plug in devices that are capable of displaying high dynamic range (or HDR) content.
HDR is a big selling point for OLED. Thanks to that amazing contrast ability, the TV can offer increased detail in a wider colour spectrum. For our review, we only managed to get to see some demo footage, but by the time you read this, Netflix will be streaming the second series of Daredevil in HDR 4K to TVs like this and the end result promises to be spectacular.
The integrated Harman Kardon speakers are solid given their discrete nature, but if you’re buying a screen this size, you’ll definitely want to pair it with a decent surround sound audio system.
LG’s WebOS Smart TV user interface is present, and Palm’s old smartphone platform continues to excel on the big screen.
There are dedicated apps for streaming services like Netflix and Stan, plus catch-up platforms like ABC iView and SBS On Demand. All are incredibly simple to navigate using the LG Magic Remote, which works in a similar fashion to the old Nintendo Wii controller.
The apps don’t stop there, though, with 128 in total to download via LG’s TV app store. There’s a massive selection, but the main focus will probably be both YouTube and Netflix for their 4K support.
As usual, it’s the lack of 4K (and now 4K HDR) content that holds back this television. Make no mistake, upscaled 1080p content still looks spectacular, but the quality of native 4K content is another level entirely.
With 4K Blu-rays set to launch later this year, having the HDMI 2.0(a) ports should future-proof this TV long enough to get the most out of its 4K and HDR capabilities, which makes the massive investment almost worth swallowing.
This is easily the best television on today’s market. It’s expensive, but when you immerse yourself in your favourite show in 4K, it seems worth the extra cost.
If you can afford the outlay, you won’t be disappointed.
Price: 55-inch, $5,499; 65-inch, $8,999