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Hands-on with LG’s 84 inch 4K Ultra Definition TV

By Leigh D. Stark | 4:37 pm 11/10/2012

While Samsung and Sharp have both unveiled Full HD 1080p big screens this year, the real attention is going to the next generation of high resolution screens, and Sony and LG are the first two with these displays. We spent some time with Sony’s a few weeks ago, and now it’s LG’s turn.

For two hours this week, GadgetGuy sat down and pushed different discs through the gigantic display that LG is touting.

This week, the company officially announced its availability, heading to 30 select stores across the country on November 19 , coming in at a recommended retail price of $15,999, much lower than the expected price for Sony’s, which is expected to fetch approximately $24,999.

Both use the same 84 inch 4K panel produced by LG, but are obviously separated by different designs, operating systems, backlighting, motion engines, interpolation systems, and more.

When we played with Sony’s, we were checking out content supplied by that company, but here in LG’s, we were encouraged to bring our own supply of material.

Now, two hours isn’t nearly enough time with a TV, let alone one that leaps ahead of Full HD in the way these TVs do, but hopefully we can work out exactly if this is worth the $15,999, or if you should just stick with a big screen 1080p TV.

3D TV

For the past year, LG has dedicated itself to passive 3D, ditching the once popular active shutter technology for something closer to what’s used in cinemas, and making it easier for anyone to find a pair of glasses and watch.

One of the downsides of this technology is that passive 3D has been stuck in 720p HD on 1080p screens, not the 1080p Full HD that everyone sort of expects.

But here in the 4K UDTV, 1080p passive 3D is possible, and we’ve tested it with “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs,” one of the better 3D discs out there.

Switching the motion enhancing technology off, you find that 3D imagery can look noticeably clearer here, especially when you’re talking about a screen that measures 84 inches diagonally.

Even LG’s own 3D  samples – including the K-pop music video “Mr. Simple” by Super Junior – shows the technology off well, throwing clocks, bubbles, rose petals and more in your face, with a quality that looks fantastic in high definition and beyond.

Right now, there are at least ten to twenty movies in 3D available in Australia, all of which play back in 1080p and are all suitable for use here. Whether they’re good or not is subjective, but this 84 inch screen can certainly make them pop in three dimensions.

Full HD Blu-ray discs

Next up, we tried some Blu-ray titles, because that’s going to be the area where people get the most use out of a 4K TV.

While we’ve been told for years that Full HD is the highest quality there was, 4K is four times what Full HD is, hence the new “Ultra Definition TV” or UDTV term.

In technical terms, the difference can be related to megapixels in cameras, with Full HD representing two megapixels, and 4K UDTV representing eight megapixels. That’s a literal interpretation, mind you, as 1080p is roughly two megapixels and 4K is eight, proving that the new technology really is four times the resolution of the older one.

Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” was the first disc for us to try, and it showed us that the 84 inch LG UDTV was capable of some reasonable detail in the blacks. While our collector’s edition copy of the film doesn’t feel as remastered as it probably should, and you can see the noise and grain from the film quite easily, this disc gave us the opportunity to test out the Super Resolution upscaling in all its glory.

Turn it on and push the sharpening up, and you’ll find heavy white edges that almost give off an obvious glow to every piece of detail in the movie. That’s too much for us, and we found that it works best in this test when you pull the sharpening down to roughly a quarter of what it can pump out, sharpening the image just enough, while retaining some softness.

Switching over to the opening scene of “Star Trek,” we gave Super Resolution another chance, and found that with it switched off, the image seemed slightly blurry as the LG TV blew the 1080p image up four times to 4K, while having the upscaling on sharpened it up, but increased the grain and noise slightly. Overall, the image was more than watchable, and looked excellent for this new movie on this massive screen.

We certainly wouldn’t complain.

The last flick we gave a test run was Pixar’s “Wall-E” which unsurprisingly looked amazing, even though it was being upscaled for the screen.

Computer animation is usually better and more forgiving when it comes to being upscaled, and our test scene of Wall-E flying through space as he makes his way to the Axiom looked absolutely stunning on this set.

Sitting a metre or two back, there’s certainly nothing wrong with running 1080p content through this screen, and we were quite happy with what we saw here.

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