LG 55EM9600 OLED TV review - hands on
Posted on 31 Aug 2012 at 09:23, by Tom Morgan at IFA in Berlin
LG first unveiled its 55in OLED TV at last year’s CES, but we’ve finally been given confirmation that the gorgeous high definition set will be making its way to Europe. It might not scale to the same heights as the 84in models on show from the likes of Toshiba and Sony, but the carbon fibre chassis and 4mm thickness still make it a unique object of AV desire. This week marks the first time LG has let journalists view 3D content on the beast, so we took the opportunity to see what it was capable of.
At an incredible 4mm thick, it’s almost impossible to spot in profile. The silver metallic bezel is typical of LG’s current TV design – it’s unbelievably thin, looking more like a picture frame than a TV. The minimal black inner bezel was impossible to spot during some of LG’s darker demo footage, making the screen appear even larger than its 55 inches would suggest.
It might be difficult to spot from the side, but it’s impossible to miss from the front - the incredibly vibrant colours, deep blacks and bright whites have to be seen in the flesh to truly be appreciated. As each pixel is individually lit, there’s no need for a backlight, letting total black pixels sit next to pure white ones without any light bleed – darker scenes in particular have startling contrast.
With so many manufacturers showing off 4K and even 8K-comaptible displays at this year’s IFA, mere 1080p support might seem a little disappointing, but we had very few complaints based on LG’s demo footage – pictures looked sharp and well defined, even if clarity falls behind colour reproduction in terms of wow factor.
This was the first time we’ve been able to test its 3D abilities, which are of the passive variety. As you might expect, 3D content doesn’t look quite as sharp as 2D video, although general image quality was fantastic thanks to the OLED panel. It’s difficult to judge 3D brightness on a brightly lit show floor, but colours still looked impressively vibrant through our 3D glasses.
To avoid sacrificing connectivity for svelte proportions, LG has sensibly integrated all the inputs into the base of the set. We spotted four HDMI ports, proprietary adaptors for component and composite video, digital optical audio and Ethernet on the demo unit, along with a DVB-S satellite connection. It might be downgraded to Freeview HD when it appears in the UK, or could ship with two tuners – LG wasn’t able to tell us much more beyond acknowledging we will actually be able to buy one. If you were hoping to wall mount the set, you’ll be pleased to know LG has you covered – a transparent optical cable can run from the display to the base, letting you hide it away from view.
OLED technology still covets a hefty price premium over LCD and plasma, but LG’s estimated European price will still make it one of the least expensive OLED TVs around – even so, €9,000 is a significant amount of money. If you’ve got that kind of cash, you’ll still have to wait until
the end of the year for it to reach our shores.
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