Great performance but what's with the stutter?
What is the LG B6?The B6 is LG's entry-level Ultra HD 4K OLED TV for 2016 but despite this it uses the same panel and includes almost all the same features as the rest of their line-up. That means that the flat screen B6 includes exactly the same Ultra HD 4K panel as the more expensive E6 and G6, as well as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) capabilities. There is support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, as well as the latest version of WebOS, so the only major differences are that the B6 doesn't have the built-in soundbar and it doesn't support 3D. The C6 shares the same basic design as the B6 and can be picked up for the same price but uses a curved screen and only has three HDMI inputs compared to the four on the B6. However the C6 does support 3D, making it the cheapest LG OLED to offer a full set of features. The B6 comes in two screen sizes – 55 and 65 inches – and we are reviewing the OLED55B6V which at the time of writing (October 2016) retails for £2,229. So assuming the lack of 3D isn't a deal-breaker, is the B6 the best choice or are the C6 and E6 better options?
DesignThe B6 uses the same design that we saw on the C6, with an ultra-thin flat OLED panel that is 4mm deep at the top but widens out to 49mm at the bottom where the electronics, connections and speakers are housed. The chassis uses a simple hardened plastic construction, rather than the 'picture on glass' approach found on the more expensive E6 and G6. However the overall aesthetic remains attractive with a minimalist appearance and the build quality is still very good. There is a 8mm black border around the screen itself and a silver trim around the outer edge of the chassis.
The rear of the panel is composed of grey plastic and it's here that you'll find al the connections. The B6 sits on a traditional stand that uses a clear plastic column to support the panel, giving the impression that the screen is floating in mid air. The stand mesaures 56cm wide by 23 cm deep and there is 7cm of clearance under the screen. If you would rather wall mount the B6 there are 300x200 VESA attachments for that purpose. Overall the B6 measures 1229 x 759 x 225mm (WxHxD) with the stand attached and 1229 x 715 x 49mm without. The TV and stand combined weigh 18.6kg and the panel on its own weighs in at 15.3kg.
The B6 uses an attractive and minimalist design with a decent level of build quality
Connections & ControlThe connections are located towards the bottom left as you face the screen and are a combination of sideways and downwards-facing inputs. Although the latter are only 10cm from the edge of the screen, which is a bit too close in our opinion. The downwards-facing connections are comprised of AV inputs that use break-out cables for composite and component video input, along with analogue audio. There are also connectors for the built-in terrestrial and satellite tuners, as well as an optical digital output. Finally there's an Ethernet port for a wired connection, although the B6 also has built-in wireless capability using the 802.11 a/c standard.
The sideways-facing connections are comprised of three USB ports (two 2.0 and one 3.0) and four HDMI 2.0a inputs, the second of which supports ARC (Audio Return Channel). Unlike the more expensive G6, all the HDMI inputs support for Ultra HD 4K 50/60p, HDR and HDCP2.2, which we confirmed using our Murideo Fresco Six-G test pattern generator. However you will need to make sure you have turned on HDMI Ultra HD Deep Colour in the General sub-menu to watch HDR correctly. There is also a 3.5mm analogue out/headphone jack facing sideways, along with a CI (Common Interface) slot.
The B6 comes with a plain black version of LG's Magic remote included and it remains an excellent controller. It has been ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand and as a result controlling the user interface on the TV is seamless experience. All the key buttons that you’ll need, including navigation controls and a track wheel, are in within easy reach of your thumb. The remote includes a pointer function that is highly effective and perfectly compliments the WebOS smart TV platform. If you would prefer to use your smart device as a controller, there is also a free remote app for iOS and Android that is quite effective.
There are plenty of connections and, aside from the absence of 3D, a full set of features
Features & SpecsThe B6 may be LG's entry-level OLED TV for 2016 but it comes feature-packed. There is a 10-bit Ultra HD 4K panel (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) that includes a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR). In the case of LG's OLED TVs they not only support HDR 10 but also Dolby Vision and they are certified as Ultra Premium by the UHD Alliance. For an OLED TV to achieve Ultra HD Premium certification it not only has to be able to accept a 10-bit signal and have a native colour gamut of over 90% of DCI-P3, but it also has to be able to deliver a dynamic range that goes from 0.0005 to 540nits. In terms of other features the B6 includes LG's Perfect Mastering Engine and 4K upscaling but, unlike the rest of the LG OLED range for 2016, there is no support for 3D.
The B6 includes a 4.0-channel audio system designed by Harman/Kardon, that includes 40W of built-in amplification and Dolby and DTS decoding. There's also built-in WiFi and WiFi Direct, along with Simplink (HDMI CEC), Screen Share and Content Share.The B6 includes LG's Magic Remote, which now has Natural Voice Recognition, Magic Zoom and Universal Control Capability. The Smart TV platform uses WebOS 3.0 and includes the LG Content Store (App Store), a Full Web Browser and the Magic Mobile Connection. WebOS also includes the main video streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, Now TV, YouTube, Wuaki TV and BBC iPlayer and remains the best designed and most intuitive Smart TV system available.
LG OLED55B6V Recommended Settings
Picture Settings - Out-of-the-BoxThere are a number of Picture Modes but in terms of image accuracy with Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content, the best choices are ISF Expert (Bright Room) and ISF Expert (Dark Room), which allow you to create day and night settings that adhere to the industry standards for D65 and Rec.709. They also conveniently turn off most of the special features and select the correct Colour Temperature of Warm2. As a result all you need to do is set the OLED Light, Contrast, Brightness and Gamma controls to suit your particular environment.
The out-of-the-box greyscale performance of the B6 was excellent with all three primary colours tracking each other quite closely. There was a slight deficit of blue and excess of green across most of the scale but the DeltaEs (errors) were all below the visible threshold of three. The gamma was tracking our target of 2.4 reasonably closely and since the B6 includes a 20-point white balance and gamma control, we would expect to be able to improve on this already impressive out-of-the-box performance.The out-of-the-box colour accuracy was equally as impressive and as the graph above shows all three primary colours and all three secondary colours were closely tracking the saturation points for Rec.709. It wasn't perfect and there were some minor errors, especially in terms of the hue of green and magenta but overall this is an impressive performance and means that the B6 will be delivering an accurate image with SDR content, even if you aren't able to get your new OLED TV calibrated.
The out-of-the-box accuracy was excellent and equally as impressive after calibration
Picture Settings - CalibratedThe excellent out-of-the-box accuracy in terms of the greyscale and colour gamut meant there wasn't actually much calibration needed but LG do include a fairly comprehensive set of calibration controls. There are 2- and 20-point white balance controls, as well as a detailed gamma control and a full colour management system (CMS). In the past LG's CMS has been prone to introducing artefacts when used excessively but since we'll only be fine-tuning the performance of the B6, we don't anticipate any issues. We tested the B6 using our Klein K-10A colour meter, our Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN 5 calibration software.
We started by calibrating the greyscale on the B6 using the 2-point control and then we fine-tuned each 5 IRE point using the 20-point. As you can see from the graph above, the greyscale tracking was superb, with all the DeltaEs well below 0.5 which is essentially perfect. The gamma was also tracking our target of 2.4 precisely and overall this was a reference performance.After calibrating the greyscale the colour temperature of white was now measuring at our target of D65 precisely, as evidenced by the dot being at the centre of the square in the middle of the graph above. This immediately improved some of the minor hue errors in the colour gamut that we measured previously and, using the CMS, we then fine-tuned the overall colour performance. There were still some minor hue errors in magenta and cyan but the luminance performance (which is not shown on the graph above) was accurate and overall this was a superb colour performance against the industry standard of Rec.709.
Picture Settings - High Dynamic RangeThe B6 did a very good job in terms of tracking the PQ EOTF used for HDR. The measurements shown below are for an out-of-the-box performance based upon a basic setup and the panel is tracking the EOTF very closely and rolling off at around 70IRE. The greyscale is tracking very well, aside from a deficit of green and overall the errors were below three, until the curve rolls off at 70IRE, when it goes up to just over six.We measured black at 0.000nits and peak brightness at 575nits on a 10% window in the HDR Standard mode, which means the B6 does indeed meet and exceed the minimum criteria for Ultra HD Premium certification. The B6 can reach a higher peak brightness of around 640nits in the HDR Vivid or Bright but the whites are essentially blue, so the HDR Standard mode is the most accurate. In addition, using a full-field peak white test pattern the B6 measured 120nits, thanks to the ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter). An HDR TV is supposed to map content mastered at a higher peak brightness to its native capabilities without clipping but when sending a 10,000nits HDR test pattern, the B6 was clipping above 600nits.
The B6 delivered a wider colour gamut, with a native measurement that was 95% of DCI-P3 using xy and 98% using uv coordinates, which equates to just over 70% of Rec.2020. The latter standard is the container that delivers the Ultra HD content, even though the original source content used DCI-P3, which was developed for professional cinema use and is not a recognised colour space for domestic displays. In terms of the saturation points of Rec.2020, as the graph above shows the B6 tracked them in the same way as the other LG OLEDs, with most of the colours being close aside from green which skews towards yellow.
The second graph above shows how the B6 tracks the DCI-P3 saturation points within the Rec.2020 container and in this test the LG does a reasonably good job, although there are still plenty of errors when it comes to the saturation measurements. Since neither performance is ideal, we feel that LG has some work to do in this area and needs to improve the colour accuracy of their displays with Ultra HD HDR content.
MORE: What is Dolby Vision?
In general the B6 delivered a superb performance but there was a noticeable stutter with HDR
Picture QualitySince we had already reviewed the other models in LG's OLED range for this year, we had a pretty good idea what to expect from the B6. Naturally the black level measured at 0.000nits and the panel could easily hit our 120nits target, giving an infinite on/off contrast ratio and an ANSI contrast ratio of over 47,000:1.
We had no issues with screen uniformity, yellow tint or dead pixels; nor were there any signs banding, lines on the screen or other such issues, which is good. The panel in the B6 was also free of any uniformity, discolouration or other issues and just delivered a great looking image. As we would expect from an OLED, the off-axis performance was also excellent and of course there was none of the haloing you get from the local dimming technology on LCD TVs.
However, since OLED is a self-emitting technology there is the possibility of image retention and even screen burn. We certainly had image retention on occasion with our B6 review sample but only with high contrast test patterns that we left up for quite a long time. LG have gone to great lengths to minimise these issues and safety features include dimming the screen if a static image is left up and washing the panel whilst in standby. However based on our experiences, we would still recommend being careful and avoid leaving static images up for too long.
The B6 uses 'sample-and-hold', which means the panel displays and holds a static frame until the next one is refreshed. As a result the LG was delivering around 300 lines of resolution with TruMotion turned off. This could immediately be improved by selecting any of the TruMotion options (Smooth, Clear and User) but that will make film-based content look unnaturally smooth and we could see artefacts in some of our test material. So whilst you can certainly experiment with TruMotion when watching sports-based content, we would always recommend turning it off for film-based material.
The B6 has excellent video processing that was able to take standard definition content and effectively deinterlace and scale it to match the native resolution of the panel. The resulting images were, at times, quite watchable and largely free of unwanted artefacts. However we did find that with some content, especially Sky and Now TV, there was evidence of macro-blocking in large patches of colour or in dark scenes that wasn't there when watching similar content on Freeview HD, Blu-ray, Amazon or Netflix. We have experienced issues with artefacts as a result of the CMS previously but in this instance it was definitely content related.
However with most quality high definition sources the B6 delivered absolutely stunning images and the usual wildlife documentaries looked particular impressive. The combination of accurate colours, deep blacks and an impressive dynamic range all helped to deliver fantastic pictures. The wider viewing angles, great motion handling and excellent screen uniformity also played their part and Blu-rays look sublime. Recent purchases like Warcraft looked fantastic and the overall performance of the B6 with high definition content was excellent.
The situation with High Dynamic Range wasn't as clear cut as it was with standard dynamic range content. As with previous OLEDs we've tested, the B6 was able to deliver the specular highlights of HDR with exceptional precision. A scene of helicopters at night in the Ultra HD Blu-ray of Lone Survivor was particularly impressive, with moonlight glinting off metal looking particularly impressive. The same was true of the wider colour gamut and the increased resolution, with The Revenant appearing both detailed and realistic. However as with other OLEDs, the lower peak brightness does sometimes rob the HDR images of some of their impact. The B6 also failed to properly tone map HDR10 content graded at more than 1,000nits, resulting in clipping in scenes like arriving in Neverland on the Pan Ultra HD Blu-ray.
These issues have all been experienced before on other OLED TVs but something that was new was a definite stutter in certain HDR scenes. This stutter was evident in the camera pan across the titular planet's surface at the start of the The Martian on Ultra HD Blu-ray but there were no issues with stutter on the same scene when watching the regular Blu-ray, nor did we see any with Dolby Vision content, which means it is related to HDR10 material. We hadn't experienced this HDR issue with LG's other OLED TVs but it certainly affected our ability to enjoy HDR content on the B6. However we understand that there may be an imminent firmware update coming from LG that fixes the issue, so hopefully owners will be able to enjoy HDR content stutter-free very soon.
LG OLED55B6V Video Review
Sound QualityAlthough the B6 doesn't have the built-in soundbars of the more expensive E6 and G6, it still sounds reasonably good for such a thin TV. This is primarily thanks to the built-in Harman/Kardon speakers, which manage to deliver a decent mid-range and some nice higher frequencies. The bass is naturally limited but the 40W of built-in amplification means the B6 can go quite loud without becoming harsh or brittle. However the overall sound quality can't compete with even a cheap soundbar, especially if it has a separate subwoofer. We generally find that the Music option in the sound settings tends to provide the most balanced audio and so it was for the B6. Whilst this TV is never going to be able to deliver a room-shaking and immersive surround experience with modern blockbusters, it can certainly handle the majority of your regular content watching. However for the best sound experience, we would recommend that you consider buying an outboard audio solution so that you can get the most from your new OLED TV.
The input lag is suitably low in Game mode but that isn't an option for HDR
Input Lag & Energy ConsumptionUsing our Leo Bodnar tester we initially measured the B6 in the calibrated ISF Expert mode and got an input lag of 63ms but as soon as we selected the Game mode that dropped to a lag of 38ms which should be low enough for all but the most demanding of gamers. However since you can't select the Game mode when the TV is receiving an HDR signal, that means that for HDR gaming the input lag will be closer to the 63ms we measured in other modes.
In terms of the B6’s energy consumption it proved to be very efficient and we measured the out-of-the-box Eco picture mode at 147W on a full window 50% white pattern and our calibrated ISF Expert (Dark Room) mode used 81W, whilst the ISF Expert (Bright Room) mode used 98W. Once we moved on to the brighter HDR mode the level of energy consumption increased, with the LG drawing 140W, although that was still impressively low considering.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best) 70% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0a Inputs HDCP 2.2 Support HEVC Decoding 4K Streaming Services Smart TV Platform Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10) 9
- Impressive black levels
- Superb dynamic range
- Accurate greyscale and colour gamut
- Excellent video processing
- Wide viewing angles
- Supports Dolby Vision
- WebOS is highly effective
- Stutter with HDR content
- Macro blocking on some material
- CMS can cause artefacts
- No game mode for HDR
LG B6 (OLED55B6V) UHD 4K TV Review
Should I buy one?
The LG B6 is an impressive Ultra HD 4K TV that demonstrates all the advantages of OLED technology with deep blacks and excellent contrast ratios. The out-of-the-box performance was very good wth an accurate greyscale and colour gamut that approached reference after calibration. The images produced with standard dynamic range content were superb with natural colours, great motion handling and highly capable upscaling. The feature set is also impressive, with the B6 boasting support for Wide Colour gamut and High Dynamic Range, including both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. There's also the Magic Remote and the latest version of WebOS, with 3D being the only real feature missing when compared to the rest of LG's OLED line-up. The energy efficiency is good and the input lag is suitably low, although there is no game mode for HDR gaming.
However the B6 does also demonstrate the limitations of OLED, with some crushed shadows just above black and macro blocking evident in certain content. In addition, LG's colour management system continues to exhibit the usual issues with artefacts if used excessively. The HDR performance was also problematic and not just because an OLED TV can't match the brightness of an LCD TV, although the self-illuminating pixels of an OLED TV does mean greater precision in terms of delivering the peak highlights. However there was also a pronounced stutter evident with HDR content that wasn't present when watching the identical scenes on regular Blu-ray. We haven't seen this stutter on the other LG OLEDs we reviewed this year, so hopefully LG can address the issue with a firmware update in the near future but until then it means that despite the excellent performance of the OLED55B6V with standard dynamic range content, the issues with HDR mean that it drops down to a Recommended award.
What are my alternatives?
If you're in the market for an OLED TV, then LG are pretty much the only game in town at the moment. For fans of 3D you could look at the curved C6 but for those that prefer a flat screen you'll have to pay the extra for the E6 instead. That isn't necessarily a bad thing because along with 3D, you also get the 'picture on glass' design and the built-in soundbar. The B6 might be LG's entry-level OLED TV but at £2,229 it isn't cheap, so if you're open to the idea of LCD there are plenty of options. You can currently get the excellent Sony KD-55XD9305 for £1,599, the superb Samsung UE55KS8000 for £1,549 or the impressive Panasonic TX-58DX902B for £1,999. Whilst the B6 will deliver a superior performance with standard dynamic range content, the LCD TVs can outperform it in terms of HDR and the Sony and Panasonic also include 3D support.
MORE: OLED TV Reviews
MORE: 4K Ultra HD TV Reviews
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level9
2D Picture Quality8
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box9
Picture Quality Calibrated9
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money8
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