LG’s 65 inch curved UHD OLED TV reviewed

Four-colour pixel OLED

The downside of OLED is that, like all organic materials, it degrades over time. This can result in colour shift (blue has been problematic for the technology) and, like the very early plasma TVs, diminished brightness over the panel’s operating life.

Manufacturers of the first plasma TVs often provided a ‘half-life’ rating for their panels, after which brightness would be around 50% of new. The earliest models rated around 15-20,000 hours.

LG doesn’t provide such figures for its OLED TV models, but seeks to address the issue with proprietary four-colour pixel (WRGB) technology, which it claims to add brightness and improve life span. WRGB adds a white sub-pixel to the usual mix of red, green and blue sub-pixels that make up each of pixels in the 65EC970T.

The approach is also claimed to be easier to manufacture, which translates into potentially cheaper OLED TVs coming to market more quickly.

LG's OLED technology employs a white sub-pixel to help improve contrast, extend operating life and enable cheaper manufacture.

Ultra High Definition

LG’s 65 inch curved OLED adds more fancy TV goodness to the mix, with Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution and curved screen.

With up to four times the resolution (3820 x 2160, or 8 million pixels) of Full HD (1920 x 1080, or 2 million pixels) a UHD display can present images with incredible detail. You need to feed a UHD TV panel with UHD source material to realise the full benefit of all these extra pixels, however, and there’s scant of that about at present.

Until there is, built-in upscaling technology within the 65EC970T works to improve the appearance of high definition and standard definition video.

Then there’s the curved design. Curved screens are typically employed in auditoriums and commercial cinemas (think IMAX) to help reduce pin cushion-like distortion at the edges of the screen (where objects can appear enlarged). These projection screens are many metres wide, however, and LG is – wisely – not claiming any picture benefits from its curved approach.

That said, the arched profile of the 65EC970T visually appealing (though this is subjective, of course).

Performance

The test loop of UHD video provided by LG for viewing on its curved UHD OLED was super-crisp and sharp, with almost life-like detail. The extra picture information offered by Ultra High Definition video is something to look forward to indeed, but until movie houses and broadcasters start providing UHD content, Full HD will need suffice for owners of UHD televisions like LG’s 65 inch OLED.

And that’s alright, because the upscaling technology in the 65UC970T is very capable.

From a viewing distance of around 2.5 metres, Blu-ray discs looked every bit as good as the test loop, with OLED’s high contrast ratio credentials manifesting as bright, vivid colours, dazzling whites and deep, velvety blacks.

The scenes from Gravity were particularly telling for black performance levels. The pitch darkness of space merged seamlessly with the letterbox bars above and below the movie, something I’ve seen previously only on the best plasmas.

The ‘Jailhouse Tango’ scene from Chicago is another good test for blacks, and LG’s OLED did not disappoint, showing lots of detail and nuance in the dimly lit sequence. Ditto for the opening scene of The Dark Knight, where the cityscape was revealed in nearly every shade of black and grey. LG’s UHD OLED TV was rock solid as the camera pans across the skyscrapers, displaying none of the judder that undoes many LCD televisions.

OLED display technology deserves to be the future of TV. It really is that good.

OLED’s impressive motion credentials were evident in Bad Boys and Skyfall, where even fast action scenes displayed without a hint of blur or trailing. In some instances, a slight ‘heat haze’ effect was apparent around moving subjects. This is produced by a type of interpellation processing that all major LCD manufacturers use to compensate for motion blur. LG’s is called Tru Motion and you can adjust it or turn it off in the settings menu. We preferred the picture with Tru Motion switched off.

Over the course of our evening with LG’s UHD OLED, we discovered more to enjoy from our catalogue of favourite test discs. OLED technology provides superbly watchable images, with rich deep blacks, exceptional colour and minimal artefacting. Viewing angles are excellent too, with no loss of sharpness or brightness, even at the most extreme edges of the couch.

If it’s pure picture excellence you seek, OLED outperforms even the best of today’s LED LCD televisions in nearly every criteria.