LG 65EC970V OLED TV review

31 Jul 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
5,499
inc VAT

Technically impressive with superb image quality, but fiddly image adjustment is a small cause for concern

Specifications

Screen size: 65in (curved), Native resolution: 3,840x2,160, Video inputs: 4x HDMI, 1x composite, 1x component, 1x SCART, Tuner: Freeview HD, Dimensions: 1447x8808x257mm

The LG 65EC970V is packed with technology that makes it one of the most technically impressive TVs we've seen, both on paper and in the flesh. The 3,840x2,160 Ultra HD, curved panel with OLED technology tick quite a few boxes immediately, making it supremely desirable.

That desirability is helped by a stunning design. The relatively wide curve, rounded stand and tiny bezels create a style that no other TV can match right now. This 65in model is the only entry in the EC970V range, with a footprint that'll challenge even the biggest of living rooms.

It’s a shame you don’t get the latest version of LG’s excellent WebOS smart TV interface, though; the 65EC970V is stuck on last year’s software. It runs, for the most part, very smoothly, with brightly coloured, easy to navigate menus making it a genuine pleasure to use. We found ourselves using the "magic remote" more often than not, which uses motion sensors to work out where you're pointing it.

There's a reasonable array of on demand services available including Wuaki.tv, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, the latter of which can display content in 4K if you have a Netflix 4K subscription. The only catch-up services on offer, meanwhile, are BBC iPlayer and Demand 5.

Image and sound quality

Unlike conventional LED TVs, each individual OLED comprising the 65EC970V’s panel is its own light source - meaning it can switch off independently to produce absolute black when required. Because the OLEDs themselves are the light source, there’s no noticeable shift in contrast or colour when watching from an oblique angle either, meaning you should get the same picture wherever you sit in a room.

Out of the box the TV defaults to Eco mode, but on switching to Standard we were very happy with an sRGB colour gamut coverage of 99.3% and absolute blacks in dark scenes, with no light emitted from OLEDs tasked with displaying black. This is particularly stark in Star Trek, with the inky black of space punctuated by pinpricks of bright stars, and the shadowy fields of Iowa revealing more detail than we've ever seen before thanks to the incredibly subtle shading nuances that OLED technology allows.

^This is just one menu of many that lets you tweak every single image quality setting to your liking

However, with such a massive shift in image quality comes a whole new level of image enhancement options that'll keep you occupied for quite some time. The EC970V lets you adjust OLED brightness, overall brightness, sharpness, saturation, tint, gamma and colour temperature, with additional options for dynamic contrast, grass, skin colour and sky colour adjustments. If you enable ISF Expert mode, these options transform into settings that can be tweaked even more minutely. This option also enables individual colour tweaks for red, green blue, cyan, magenta and yellow, allowing you to adjust saturation, tint and luminance.

We found the Standard picture mode was a good starting point for creating a slightly more attractive image for broadcast TV, and we also liked having Super resolution upscaling turned on to bump up the sharpness of blurrier spots without creating distracting noise elsewhere in the picture.

We were never quite able to produce skin tones we felt looked natural without washing out the rest of the image, which was a little distracting, and those who are passionate about image quality should consider bringing in a professional to get things looking as good as possible.

LG 65EC970V

^ The LG 65EC970V has a huge number of inputs, including four 4K-compatible HDMI ports

The noise reduction options are welcome for upscaled SD content from terrestrial broadcasts, making images look slightly sharper with only a small introduction of the blotchiness these filters tend to create. They are substantially less useful on HD broadcast content, and to be avoided at all costs on Blu-ray and 4K content; in broadcast HD content such as BBC News, close-ups on faces looked very blotchy indeed and had a distracting, almost greasy look to them.

LG’s TruMotion judder reduction uses blending techniques to remove juddery motion on scenes with objects moving slowly across the screen. As much as we tried, however, we couldn’t come up with a setting that was entirely satisfactory, with shakey moments still very much present in certain scenes.

This TV also supports passive 3D, which is usually a little less impressive than 3D powered by active shutter glasses. However, in this case, we were extremely impressed with the 3D on offer, with crisp and vibrant images unhindered by the tinting of the lenses or the processing required. We noticed quite a lot crosstalk on objects in the immediate foreground, but as an overall experience, it's very good indeed.

This is not a TV you’re going to want to play twitchy games on, however. While OLEDs themselves have quick response times, the amount of processing that this TV performs between the image arriving via HDMI and being displayed on screen leads to 104ms of input lag according to our Leo Bodnar tester. Switching to Game mode with all enhancements switched off, lag dropped to 78ms, but this is still far too high to have a good gaming experience.

The 40W speakers create a seriously impressive sound. Music, explosions and speech are all equally well-served, with reasonably deep bass and crisp mid-tones. Even at the highest volume, there's no hint of distortion, either.

Conclusion

The LG65E970V is a technical marvel that requires a lot of fiddling and adjustment to achieve picture perfection, but even without adjustment, watching any movie with dark scenes and shadows is an utter joy and it's hard to imagine going back to a traditional LED TV after seeing what an OLED is capable of. Of course, you pay for this, but if you're looking for the most impressive 4K TV on the market at the moment, you'd better get your chequebook out.

HARDWARE
Screen size 65in (curved)
Native resolution 3,840x2,160
Aspect ratio 16:9
3D Passive
Contrast ratio Not stated
Brightness Not stated
Speakers 40W
Video inputs 4x HDMI, 1x composite, 1x component
Audio inputs Composite, component
Audio outputs Optical S/PDIF, 3.5mm audio jack
Tuner Freeview HD
Streaming TV services BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Amazon Instant, Netflix, Wuaki.tv, NowTV, YouTube
Media Streaming DLNA, MiraCast, WiDi
Dimensions 1447x8808x257mm
BUYING INFORMATION
Price including VAT £5,499
Warranty One year RTB
Supplier selfridges.com
Details LG.com
Part code 65EC970V

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