LG 84LM960V review
84in, Freeview HD, Freesat HD, 3,840x2,160 resolution, 3D: yes, 4x HDMI
While many are still upgrading their TVs to Full HD sets with a 1,920x1,080 resolution, Ultra HD TVs are now a commercial reality, although you’d have to be pretty wealthy to buy one. Ultra HD TVs have twice the maximum resolution of Full HD TVs, at 3,840x2,160, which means they can display greater detail and produce more realistic images. Due to the increased resolution, Ultra HD TVs are also known as 4K TVs, and we’ll use the terms interchangeably.
The LG 84LM960V is the first 4K TV we’ve seen, and its huge dimensions certainly make a make a strong impression, even though you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the LM960V and LG's smaller sets from a distance. It looks very similar to other LG TVs and has the same remote controls. One is a regular TV remote control and the other is a "smart wand" that lets you navigate the Smart TV interface with a mouse pointer, much like Nintendo's Wii controllers.
The LM960V has a good complement of ports, as you’d expect on an expensive TV, but you won't find any 4K-specific inputs at the back of the set, as they haven't been standardised yet. The latest HDMI 1.4a specification supports 4K signals, but only at a maximum frame rate of 24fps.
The TV has four HDMI ports, along with SCART, component, VGA and composite video inputs, digital optical and 3.5mm audio inputs, a headphone jack output, an Ethernet port, a Common Interface slot, three USB ports and both satellite and terrestrial aerials for television broadcasts. That should be more than enough ports to connect all your devices.
The on-screen interface should feel familiar to anyone who's used a mainstream LG TV in recent years, as the 84LM960V shares the same icons, fonts and menu layouts as the rest of the range. However, LG hasn't re-rendered them for the increased resolution and everything looks somewhat fuzzy as a result.
LG's Smart TV interface is here in its entirety, letting you access on-demand video from Netflix and LoveFilm or watch catch-up TV through BBC iPlayer. It's not as comprehensive as other systems we've seen from the likes of Samsung, but there's plenty of choice for film fans.
The advantages of the Ultra HD resolution are apparent as soon as you sit down in front of the 84LM960V. The sheer amount of detail visible when watching 4K footage makes it mesmerising. Landscape shots appear incredibly lifelike and close-ups provide more detail than we've ever seen before. Video looks incredibly realistic thanks to the increased resolution and increased colour space enjoyed by Ultra HD footage. LG’s TVs tend to have very vibrant colours, so we had to reduce the colour temperature slightly in order to get a more realistic image.
The 84LM960V has a local backlight dimming function that dynamically adjusts the level of the backlight and can produce deeper blacks than you would otherwise see, and it’s best to have it enabled. Without it the backlight has a tendency to bleed into darker scenes, creating cloudy grey colours where there should be deep blacks. The low setting was enough to negate much of this, although it introduces visible vertical bands of light when bright objects are shown against dark backgrounds. The effect is only mild at lower settings, but is much more obvious when turned up to higher levels.
Currently, Ultra HD content is not widely available, so LG provided us with a media server that looped through several Ultra HD time lapse videos. The footage was recorded at various times and locations. We also used the open-source animated film Sintel to test motion. We rendered the film from the original lossless image files at 4K resolution and played the resulting video through a powerful PC.