A few weeks ago I related my impressions from the brief time I spent with LG’s second-from-the-top OLED TV, the LG Signature OLED65G7T. That one costs $9099. For a saving of more than $2000, you could instead consider the “entry level” 65 inch OLED, the LG OLED65C7T. Rather than an evening, I’ve been able to spend a few weeks with this one. And, unlike my look at the G7T, I’ve been able to use the C7T with real UltraHD Blu-ray discs playing on real UltraHD Blu-ray players (three different ones, none of them from LG).
The panel of course uses OLED – Organic Light Emitting Diode – display technology. Unlike LCD displays, the cells that create the pixels of the image generate their own light, like plasma TVs of old. That means they aren’t trying to block a backlight at the pixel level, which LCD TVs do with only partial success. The benefit is that each pixel can be set to completely black, independently of every other pixel.
Plasma TVs could not wind down the pixel brightness smoothly to zero, and then back up again smoothly. That made achieving dark levels difficult. OLED technology can. The net result is an effectively infinite contrast ratio. Perfect black levels also allow a particular richness to colour reproduction since there is no leakage of backlight to wash them out in any way.
The OLED65C7T is, as the name implies, a 65 inch model. Which means a 163.9cm screen, currently the biggest available with OLED technology. (There’s also a 55 inch model priced at $4099).
This is an Ultra High Definition OLED panel, which uses four individual OLEDs – red, green, blue and white – for every pixel. With 3840 by 2160 pixels by four OLEDs per pixel, this has the picture being created by more than thirty three million tiny glowing spots of colour.
Pixels switch on and off extremely quickly with OLED screen technology. LG says less than a millisecond, but in general it’s less than a tenth of that. That makes for higher precision with high frame rate material. It would also make this TV brilliant for use with active 3D technology. Unfortunately, as with most of the other big companies, 3D has been abandoned in this model.
Another thing for the future that this TV offers is Dolby Vision. That’s like High Dynamic Range, but smarter, with a greater range, so that it can adjust dynamically to the material, frame by frame. You can find some movies encoded with Dolby Vision on Netflix and AmazonPrime, and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are supposed to be appearing this year. Some companies have yet to commit to it.
Running down the model comparison list between this TV and the G7T on LG’s website, we can see that the differences are…what? Almost everything is identical. The same functions – for example, Multi-view (two inputs, or TV and an input, side by side on screen), OLED Gallery (picture slide shows), Time Machine (plug in a hard drive to record or time-shift TV programs), Miracast and WiDi (so you can wirelessly cast your Android phone or Windows notebook screen to the TV), WebOS 3.5 for smart features, Netflix app, Audio Return Channel for feeding sound back to a home theatre system, headphone output, optical digital output, USB inputs, and dual band WiFi. The same broad range of media types can be played back from the network or USB, and the same apps can be run under the same WebOS 3.5. If my impressions are accurate, the speed and responsiveness is the same, suggesting that the same processing engine has been employed (which is a quad core CPU).
That’s quite a list of similarities. So what are the differences? For starters, the G7T gets an additional compact remote control. Its main “Magic Remote” is functionally the same, but looks prettier. It has a much fancier sound system too with 60 watts rather than 40, and eight speakers rather than 4, with a pair of height speakers to project sound upwards for Dolby Atmos playback. It’s a little larger, physically, even though the picture size is the same, and quite a bit heavier.
Other things that set these OLED models apart are the design thinness of the base of the panel. Like the G7T, most of C7T is less than 5mm thick. It’s like a pane of glass. At the bottom it widens to 47mm thick to provide space for the electronics, and the wall mounting points. The G7T has a very different, wider base design, and is certainly made with more metal. Design-wise, while both look fabulous, the G7T is on another level and feels very premium.
The picture produced by this TV was stunning. I watched the new Ang Lee drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk with this TV on UltraHD Blu-ray. Again, stunning. That movie is so far unique in being the only movie offered with a “High Frame Rate”. Movies are shot and shown at 24 frames per second. Have been for decades. Billy Lynn was shot and is provided on UltraHD Blu-ray at 60 frames per second. You may not have thought so, but it makes and enormous difference. There’s a fluidity to the motion, and a capture of subtleties that might be lost between 24fps frames, that lifts the experience into something startlingly real.
With this TV, all that was delivered, along with extraordinary picture detail.