CES 2014 - First look at LG's new 4K TV line-up
Ultra HD is the buzz word at this year's CES and LG are leading the way
When it comes to the new higher resolution format, LG have been at the forefront since the beginning.
Their 84-inch 4K panel was the first Ultra HD TV we reviewed and whilst it might have been a bit toppy in terms of price there was no denying the potential of its higher resolution screen. Since then the screen sizes have reduced, as have the prices, and in the summer the manufacturer brought out 65- and 55-inch models. We reviewed the 65-inch version back in late 2013 and were impressed by LG’s ambition with a TV that used a full backlight array and included a slide down speaker bar.
LG are looking to take full advantage of this year's FIFA World Cup.However 2014 will be the year that Ultra HD 4K TVs really arrive, especially with this summer’s World Cup delivering an inevitable boost to TV sales. LG realise this and are launching a concerted assault on the growing 4K market with a full range of Ultra HD TVs with screen sizes ranging from 49 inches right up to a gigantic 98 inches. The introduction of a 49-inch model for less than £2,000 is certainly good news for those of us with smaller bank balances and LG clearly expect that model to be a big seller in the run-up to FIFA’s footballing showcase.
All of LG’s new 4K TVs will boast a number of features to reflect their higher-end status, including LG’s superb new webOS smart TV platform, Cinema 3D and improved sound quality. Whilst 3D might not be getting much coverage these days, there’s no denying that LG’s passive 3D system really benefits from the higher resolution screen, allowing it to deliver a full 1080p image to each eye. LG 4K TVs also have excellent video processing, allowing them to upscale lower resolution material to match the 3840 x 2160 panel, thus giving your existing 1080p content a new lease of life.
LG's new Netflix app will finally provide users with native 4k content.
Of course what we really want is native 4K content to actually watch on our Ultra HD TVs and in the absence of any 4K Blu-ray system it will be left to cable, satellite and streaming services to fill the gap. LG announced a new Netflix 4K app that will take advantage of the TV’s built-in HEVC 60p decoder to deliver genuine 4K content. You’ll need a broadband speed of around 15mps to stream this new service but at least Netflix and YouTube are helping to deliver 4K content to a wider audience. We had a look at the 4K trailer for the second season of Netflix’s House of Cards and the results were impressive, with excellent detail and minimal compression artefacts.
It’s worth remembering that the majority of 4K TVs are still LED LCD TVs and will thus inherit both the strengths and weaknesses of that particular display technology. Whilst a show floor is never the best place to judge any display’s image quality, we were certainly impressed by the backlight uniformity on the demo models. The local dimming was also very good with deep blacks that didn’t appear to crush shadow detail and the motion handling was equally as effective.
LG's 105" curved Ultra HD TV actually uses a 5K panel.
There is something of a screen size arms race going on between the manufacturers this year and not to be outdone, LG launched their 105-inch 21:9 curved Ultra HD TV. This behemoth of a TV uses a panel that is actually 5K - 5120 x 2160 pixels - and whilst we might have been dubious of curved displays in the past, it makes a lot more sense with a big scope ratio screen. The decision to use a 21:9 aspect ratio is an interesting one from LG, the approach has been tried before of course - most famously by Philips - but seems more appropriate on such a large screen size.
When we first read about LG’s 105-inch curved Ultra HD TV we were concerned about backlight uniformity on a LED LCD screen that large but certainly based upon the demos we saw that wouldn’t appear to be an issue, with very impressive and highly detailed images. The TV also uses LG’s Gallery sound with 2.1 Harman Kardon speakers, so the audio promises to be as immersive as the visuals. If wide screen movies are your thing and you’ve got deep enough pockets, then LG’s 105-inch curved Ultra HD 4K TV might just be the ticket.LG's gallery Sound promises audio as immersive as the visuals.The really impressive aspect of LG’s new Ultra HD 4K line-up is that all of these TVs will be available this year, so whatever your budget there’s a model for you.
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