It took a few years for Full HD to kick off, and the same might well be true of 4K Ultra HD. That being said, we’re at least two years in, and this year, LG looks to make a big deal out of UHD, with big screens, big features, and a big look at how they deal with colour and light.
This week, LG has pulled the covers off what it believes will set it apart from other manufacturers, with just under 30 TVs making their way to stores this year, many of which are ready for the 4K revolution.
“We believe our range represents the ultimate in performance,” said Grant Vandenberg, LG Australia’s Marketing Manager, who showed some big new screens this week, many of which arrived with features that weren’t just about increasing size, but also colour quality.
But size is a big issue, and it’s one that people are noticing. According to LG, 64 percent of sales in the TV world are of 55 inch screens, making this the new norm for people buying televisions, up form the 47 and 42 inch screens from prior years, with 65 inch screens sitting at closer to 25 percent.
To deal with this, a good 20 of the 29 TVs being launched sit at 55 inches or higher, providing large screens for people keen on upgrading to something bigger and better, while still letting those who like them smaller find something in their range.
You’ll find curved and flat TVs in this set, with the curved UG870T and 880T providing a slight curve to the viewing experience, while others like the UF770T, UF850T, UF950T, and UB980 providing flat tellies with large screens.
Beyond the size, there’s the resolution, and while Full HD has reigned supreme for the past few years, Ultra HD is the next step, with more detail and clarity, and content the only thing missing.
The arrival of Netflix might help out with that, and it’s something LG’s range of televisions will support though you will need a very, very fast 25Mbps connection to make it work, and until we all have a properly fast fibre connection in our homes, we might just have to settle with making videos using our 4K capable smartphones.
Without native Ultra HD content, it’s a story of upscaling, and this is one area where LG hopes to have an edge over its competitors, launching a new “6 step” upscaling system throughout its 4K range that brings lower resolution video closer to 4K than before. While LG didn’t say how this works, our assumption is this resizes the information several times — let’s assume 6 — processing the image to be clearer than say if it up sampled the image once or twice, blowing up the pixels in the process.
To make this happen, there is, of course, some high-end processing on the inside, with dual- and quad-core processors depending on the TV in question.
Also available on several of the TV series is a technology called “Ultra Luminance” which appears to make movies and TV shows that might be a little too dark to watch a little clearer in the end. The technology is one that will analyse bright and dark sections of the picture, and try to find a middle ground, balancing out the image so that the picture is clearer and easier to view.
We’re not quite sure what this means for movies that are intentionally dark, and have to wonder how it will affect classics such as “Blade Runner”, but we suspect if you’d need to, you could turn this off, as it would be useful some of the time.
One range of TVs is even getting a boost in colour, with a wider colour gamut being pushed to the top end, the UF950T series, which comprises of a 55, 65, and 79 inch panel.
The technology being used here is called “ColourPrime”, which appears to be a technology that has come from LG’s expertise in computer monitors, manufacturing panels that provide a wider range of colour for things that need it.
In the computer space, this will likely be design, photography, and animation, but for TVs, this sort of colour spectrum can also be useful, delivering more natural colours than just the punchy vibrant colours most TVs are pushing out.
On the LG UF950T, you’ll be able to turn this feature on and off at your leisure, with the “wide” gamut mode providing less impact and more natural tones, while the “standard” mode will go back to the vibrancy you’re used to. Depending on what you’re watching, it might have an impact, so at least you can control it.
And the word “control” brings us back to something the spread of LG tellies this year will have, with webOS 2.0 arriving, and providing a fairly interactive and bright Smart TV system, made almost of slices that you merely need to point your remote at.
Applications are included here, and there’s even a store for you to grab apps and other content from, including access to GoPro content, but Netflix is also being made available to all of these TVs, which itself has that 4K mode.
“Netflix’s recent launch in Australia couldn’t be better aligned with the timing of our new 4K Ultra HD TV range,” said Lambro Skropidis, General Manager of Marketing at LG Australia.
“Our webOS 2.0 operating system easily allows users to access Netflix directly from their Smart TVs, not to mention the fact that our TVs are Netflix-certified – meaning they’re configured to deliver Netflix and 4K content. So, whether it’s the ability to stream 4K Ultra HD content, increased speed for accessing content, or our TVs’ stunning picture quality, users will surely be impressed.”
Pricing for the TVs is pretty much all over shop, since there are quite a few of them, but they start with the UF770T, which starts at $1799 for a 43 inch 4K TV, with options in this range for up to 70 inches ($6499) and a 79 inch model later on down the track. Next is the LG UF850T starting at $2599 for 49 inches, and going all the way up to 65 inches for $5199. A few curved options can be found in the UG870T and UG880T range starting at $3999 for 55 inches and going up to $11999 for a 79 inch TV, while the other flat TVs include the UF950T for $4699 for a 55 inches, and including a 65 inch model for $6499, and a 79 inch model for $12999.
And if those prices and sizes don’t scare you, there are also two larger TVs in the UB980T, with the 84 inch model grabbing a $13999 price and the 98 inch netting $39999. Yowza.
Basically, if that paragraph of pricing is a little too hard to understand, know that below 55 inches of 4K goodness from LG will likely cost you below $3000, while aiming for 55 inches and above will cost you above $3000.
There. We made that easier, now you just have to work out which one you want to upgrade to (if any), and for that, we’d seriously recommend looking at them in store, because our brief play with the screens this week was honestly far too brief.