LG65UH6550Even as LG is pushing its 2016 4K UHD OLED TVs, its first 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV line with high dynamic range (HDR) received a national kickoff on shopping network HSN over the weekend.

But the interactive shopping network’s pitch only casually mentioned the HDR-ready sets are LCDs (not OLED TVs), possibly leading to confusion for some viewers who have been bombarded with LG ads in recent weeks designed to associate the brand with its OLED HDR sets.

Further, nowhere did HSN or LG mention that the models use LG’s controversial RGBW LCD technology, which some competitors claim does not produce all of the primary subpixels required to produce full 3840×2160 4K Ultra HD resolution, as defined by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). LG uses the RGBW technology to achieve greater peak brightness levels at lower prices. In some applications it can also reduce power consumption.

An HSN spokesperson did not return HD Guru’s request for comment as this was posted.

Read more on HSN’s national kickoff of LG’s UH6550 HDR LCD TVs after the jump:

As previously reported on HD Guru, RGBW adds a fourth white subpixel to the red, green and blue primary subpixels in the LCD, preventing the screen from achieving all of the RGB subpixels needed to complete all of the 3840 pixels across the screen to satisfy CTA guidelines. LG, which is not using CTA’s 4K Ultra HD logo as a result, has argued that the RGBW technology has been certified as producing 4K resolution under other international organizations’ definitions and that this year the technology has added improved black level and detail algorithms to improve image performance. Therefore, LG is accurate in calling the sets Ultra HDTVs, the company said.

One of the deficiencies in RGBW technology cited by critics in the past has been reduced color luminance, which can wash out certain colors, especially reds. LG said the improved algorithms should address this, and provided demonstrations against competitive LED LCD TVs at the recent CES 2016 to prove it. However, LG has chosen not to identify its use of RGBW technology in product literature, leaving consumers and even some retailers in the dark on the matter.

LG is using the RGBW technology in three LED LCD TV model series this year after adding it to one series late in 2015. Other 2016 4K LED LCD TV series using RGBW include: the UH6100, UH6500 and UH7100, according to LG executives.

Meanwhile, the HSN spots did not state in on-screen text and graphics that the TVs used LED LCD technology, and the HSN e-commerce page only mentioned the display type buried under the specs tab. During the airing, the spot’s on-air sales talent only occasionally referred to the sets’ LED LCD technology in running through features and benefits.

Nowhere did the electronic shopping retailer list the manufacturers’ model numbers on the TVs to enable viewers to conduct further research before purchasing the products.

LG told HD Guru that HSN kicked off the national rollout of LG’s UH6550 series under a one-time exclusive shortly before the national retail rollout to other dealers. The sets were offered under a short-time exclusive for the retailer in the 55- and 65-inch screen sizes at $1,099.95 and $1,699.95, respectively, and included the network’s “Flex Pay” option that splits up payments over six months. Free shipping is included. LG’s full UH6550 series, which will be available at other retailers around the country shortly, also includes models in the 60- and 75-inch screen sizes.

“The strategic opportunity was to gain national exposure ahead of the full rollout of the 2016 lineup. Sales performed ahead of expectations,” an LG spokesperson explained to HD Guru about the decision to launch on HSN.

“Regarding exclusivity, HSN was simply the first retailer to receive these two models for this one-time promotion, but consumers can expect to find them at retailers across the country in the next few weeks,” LG told us.

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LG told HD Guru that it is attempting to communicate the differences between OLED and LED LCD TVs through its promotions and messaging for OLED TVs.

“Since OLED TV is a relatively new technology to many consumers, LG carefully includes OLED-specific communications when talking about its OLED TVs to ensure consumers are aware of how they are superior to conventional LCD technology,” and spokesman told us. “For example, LG OLED TV has its own unique logo, packaging, aesthetic design and messages, each designed to point out its defining characteristics (namely perfect black level performance, infinite contrast, color accuracy and wide viewing angles).”

LG said the UH6550 series models use its “Color Prime Pro” technology which enables a wide color gamut. The TVs also accept and display content carrying HDR metadata. However, the series will not qualify for the Ultra HD Alliance’s new “Ultra HD Premium” logo, certifying that the LCD sets will support a range of contrast with up to 1,000 nits of brightness, among other criteria.

LG pointed out that all of its new for 2016 4K Ultra HD OLED TVs will carry the UHDA’s Ultra HD Premium logo, and conform to the corresponding criteria for OLED display performance, which has lower black level and brightness requirements than the criteria used for LED LCD TVs.

The new 2016 UH6550 series models featured on HSN will support 3840x2160p 4K Ultra HD resolution and feature LG’s webOS 3.0 Smart TV platform, with built-in Wi-Fi.

LG HDR Pro logo

LG is calling the HDR capability in its UH6550 models and others “HDR Pro,” which it identifies with its own proprietary logo (pictured above).

The LG 2016 Color Prime Pro are ready to decode and display the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineer’s HDR10 HDR format. LG said these models will not support the Dolby Vision HDR format, as some of its step-up “Super UHD” LCD TVs and OLED TVs will.

High dynamic range enables 4K Ultra HDTVs to present a wide range of contrast levels with increased colors, color saturation and expanded brightness that brings out details in deep black areas of a picture and bright whites on the same screen at the same time.

Both UH6550 series models offer In-Plane Switching LCD panels that significantly widen the angle of view with full color and contrast performance over other LCD approaches. Other features include: 3 HDMI 2.0a input with HDCP 2.2 content protection supporting HDR from external devices; TruMotion 120 motion compensation circuitry (60Hz native refresh rate) and a new “Ultra Sound” enhanced surround sound system using two hidden down-firing 10-watt-per-channel speakers. Full specs are available here.

By Greg Tarr


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