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4K OLED leads LG’s 2015 TV range – UK models confirmed

More 4K TVs than ever, plus quantum dot colour in LG’s confirmed 2015 TV line-up

We got our first look at LG’s 2015 TV line-up at CES in January, but as much as we enjoy ogling 105in curved 4K TVs on the show floor in Las Vegas, it can be a little disheartening to learn they won’t ever make it to the UK. Today LG gave us a full run-down of what British customers can expect to see when its new range launches later in the year, so we now know what to put on our wish list.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of new models will be 4K, with 60% of the range arriving with a 3,840×2,160 resolution. 4K sales saw massive growth in January, up from a meagre 200,000 units across the entire market through the whole of 2014, and according to LG’s UK commercial director of consumer electronics Andy Mackay, the company accounted for 41% of those 4K sales.

While WebOS will be present on the majority of new 4K models, there will also be an entry-level UF675Vwhich ditches any Smart TV features in order to keep the price as low as possible. RRPs have yet to be confirmed, but LG representatives hinted that the 49in version could retail for as little as £900. Despite the low price, it will still support HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, ensuring you’ll be able to connect Ultra HD set-top boxes when they arrive in the future.

Moving up the range, the UF770V has the widest selection of screen sizes of any of LG’s 2015 models. Available in 40 43, 49, 55, 65, 70 and 79in sizes, it has a 4K IPS panel, WebOS smart TV and an updated Magic Remote in the box for natural navigation through the colourful menus, and support for 4K streaming from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. WebOS itself has seen a big upgrade over last year’s version, with boot times and navigation speed up by as much as 60%. Whereas startup took up to 30 seconds on last year’s models, it now takes under five. The evolved magic remote has enough buttons that LG doesn’t need to bundle two remotes in the box any more, either – it can be used as a regular remote or a wand-like pointer, depending on how you prefer to interact with your TV. A range of tweaks and new additions should make WebOS even simpler to use, but we’ll have to wait until the final version arrives to deliver a complete verdict.

LG has enlisted the help of Harman Kardon to concentrate on sound quality on the more high-end models, starting with the UF860V. Available in 55 and 65in screen sizes, the Ribbon Plate Stand below acts as a sound reflector to bounce audio from the down-firing integrated speakers towards the viewer rather than away from them. We’ll have to reserve judgment until we get the new models into the labs to see how they perform, but the brief demos we were given at LG’s event were certainly impressive; speech was particularly clear, with more detail in the high-end than we would normally expect from a TV speaker.

The flagship LED model, the UF950V, adds ColourPrime, LG’s name for wide colour gamut and quantum dot technologies that promise to cover 120% of the BT.709 broadcast standard for truly lifelike colours. In one demo reel, we could clearly see the differences in shades of red and green in the clothes worn by the actors onscreen – the subtle differences certainly stood out, although until we run our own test footage it’s difficult to tell what difference this will make to films, games and TV. Otherwise it has the same Smart TV, picture quality settings and IPS panel, and will be available in 55in and 65in screen sizes towards the end of March.

When questioned on whether curved or flat TVs are the way forward, Mackay said “we don’t feel the battleground is the aesthetic of the screen. For us the battleground is the picture. OLED, particularly 4K OLED, is picture perfect.”

OLED in large screen sizes used to be impossible on a large scale, as yield rates (usable panels) were simply too poor to be financially viable. However, LG thinks that has now changed. “We’re now in a very different place to those days two years ago when the yield rates were very low,” Mackay explained. LG’s focus is now predominantly on OLED, with the company’s R&D departments scheduled to move from LED to the new technology from next year onwards. It’s clear to see why when you’re sat in front of the flagship 65in EC970V, a 4K OLED with every one of LG’s picture enhancement technologies and “perfect black” contrast. Still images and video looked absolutely stunning, with incredibly deep blacks and pristine details. OLED and 4K are a seriously impressive combination, and we can’t wait to try it out in the labs a little closer to launch.

It has the same Harman Kardon-tuned speaker and stand combination as the high-end LCD models, and is wall-mountable for the first time – the outgoing 2014 curved set could only sit on its stand. The EC970V curved 4K OLED looks set to cost around £6,500 when it launches around April. It will sit above the current EC930V 55in, which originally launched last year, and will remain on sale throughout 2015.

As ever, we’ll be taking a much closer look at the new range when the first review units start appearing in the next month or so. Be sure to check back soon if you’re after some help choosing your next big screen buy. 

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