Review: LG’s 65E6P 65” 4K Ultra HD OLED TV Impresses
Since it’s the start of football season we’ll paraphrase Broadway Joe Namath to summarize our review of LG’s OLED65E6P flat-screen 4K Ultra HD OLED TV: I can’t wait ‘til tomorrow because [OLED TVs] keep getting better looking every day.
What we mean by this is LG Electronics continues to significantly improve and refine its 4K OLED TV picture performance every year and as a result the 65E6 ($4,997.99 sale price) 2016 OLED TV model we tested presents some of the best pictures and design styling we’ve seen in a consumer television.
The only better sets in this technology class available to U.S. buyers are the sister LG G6 Signature Series models, which have virtually the same picture performance as the E6 ones, but add slightly enhanced cosmetics and a better-sounding Harman Kardon sound bar to the package.
In addition to the E6 and G6 models, there are two other OLED TV series below the E6, including the LG B6 and C6 series. The B6 series is LG’s entry 4K Ultra HD OLED line for 2016, and this sacrifices 3D capability, which the other OLED model series include and handle impressively well using passive-type 3D glasses. The C6 models offer curved screens.
This year, LG adds to its OLED TV family the ability to receive and play both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision metadata, giving purchasers the widest range of HDR source options possible. In addition, LG’s 2016 4K Ultra HD OLED TVs all carry the Ultra HD Premium certification, assuring top-level HDR and 4K Ultra HD resolution capability.
Read more of our review of LG’s 65EG flat-screen 4K Ultra HD OLED TV after the jump:
Like the G6 Signature Series models, the 65E6 features an ultra-thin panel and a “picture on glass” design effect that uses a transparent border trim around the screen. This makes the picture appear to be floating on a sheet of glass.
The result is a beautiful looking TV that enhances the rich, natural colors and images produced by the OLED screen. The television is designed to be placed on an easy-to-assemble, space-efficient tabletop stand or mounted to a wall using an optional standard VESA wall mount. This is a departure from past OLED models that required a special thin-profile OLED screen mount.
Remote and WebOS 3.0 Interface
LG adds a new remote control design, which works hand-in-glove with the webOS 3.0 on-screen user interface. The remote design features a black on silver cosmetic and a longer, thinner form factor than previous iterations. The remote keeps the company’s motion control functionality, which uses an air-mouse cursor to point-and-click on-screen control options without having to rely solely on keypad maneuvering. Central to the remote is a rubberized scrolling wheel that allows for zipping through lengthy on-screen channel grids.
Offering 34-buttons, the Magic Remote is a departure from the palm-sized Samsung smart remote that offers minimal button options in favor of making the Smart TV GUI do the heavy lifting. LG’s WebOS 3.0 is similar in offering easy to find on-screen options in a scrolling selection ribbon at the bottom of the screen, but the longer LG remote is somewhat more cumbersome to control and less comfortable in the hand. LG’s remote button layout is, however, more familiar at first glance and therefore more intuitive on initial use.
As in the past, LG’s webOS system makes finding programming easy. Switching between source inputs and favorite streaming apps is speedy and satisfying. For live programming, the system uses its own on-screen channel grid that quickly imports programming selections from a connected cable or satellite TV service, but more often than not we found the channel guides that come with the DirecTV service we used for the review to be more familiar and faster to operate. This led us to typically put down the TV remote and pick up the DirecTV unit when looking to see what was available to view in real time. The remote does have buttons to call up the DirecTV Guide and Menu as well, but it takes some getting used to.
The LG 65E6 comes with an ample amount of inputs including: 4 HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2 capable of supporting HDR 10 metadata; 3 USB ports; 1 set of AV inputs, which are shared for component video or composite video sources; an Ethernet (LAN) port; optical digital audio output; RF (antenna) input and a remote (RS-232) port.
To calibrate the 65E6 I used the latest version of Spectracl CalMan software, the SpectraCal C6 HDR colorimeter, and a Murideo Fresco SIX-G signal generator, the latter for standard dynamic range. To check HDR and color gamut performance for HDR 10, I used the C6-HDR colorimeter, special HDR 10 PC workflow and accompanying HDR 10 Reference Disc developed by Florian Freidrich for Samsung. I used the Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player for all Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD tests. The HDR 10 Reference Disc uses special test patterns with motion targets that prevent the television’s luminance limiter from shutting off pixel lighting when checking for black level.
We did not check for Dolby Vision parameters or attempt to make extensive calibration adjustments for HDR 10, since like most HDR TVs, several of the controls are maxed out in their default settings and cannot be adjusted further.
The LG 65E6 offers three picture modes – HDR Vivid, HDR Bright and HDR Standard — when it receives an HDR signal and switches into HDR mode. Since I tested in a dim room, I used HDR Bright.
We tested peak luminance for each of the white window size patterns supplied by the HDR 10 test disc and workflow and found the set to exceed the minimum peak luminance levels for OLED HDR displays as specified for “Ultra HD Premium” certification (which this model carries) by the multi-industry Ultra HD Alliance. With a 10 percent window, the set showed a peak luminance level of 670 Nits (the minimum needed for Ultra HD Premium qualification is 540 Nits). At 25 percent the peak luminance was 416 Nits, at 50 percent 234 Nits and at 100 percent 140.7 Nits.
Default DCI-P3 Color Gamut In HDR Mode
Color gamut measured at a whopping 97.2 percent of the Digital Cinema Initiative P3 gamut recommendation in the HDR Bright mode with color temperature set to “w1.” Color points registered slightly off all of the targets in the CIE 1976 uv chart. Again, we didn’t attempt to make any additional color calibration adjustments for HDR 10, but this didn’t seem to have any noticeable impact on color accuracy in regular content.
For comparison, we found Samsung’s very fine performing 2016 flagship UH65KS9800 full-array LED LCD TV with quantum dot technology covered 95.5 percent of P3 using a 10 percent window. However, Samsung’s default settings were almost dead on all color points in the CIE 1976 uv chart.
Measuring for black level we got a reading of 0 Nits (the level for premium certification is 0.0005 Nits for OLED), and this was using test patterns designed to override automatic brightness limiters.
Black Level Detail
One criticism that is often made of OLED displays and even some full-array LED models is that black levels get so low that they tend to crush out visible shadow detail. The condition is less noticeable in very bright televisions, like Samsung’s aforementioned UN65KS9800 LED LCD TV (we haven’t had a chance to review Sony’s new Z Series TVs yet), but the tradeoff is that overall blacks in the LCD TVs tend to look slightly less deep and rich. The black level crushing issue is not altogether solved in the 2016 LG OLEDs, though details can be brought back by slightly raising brightness. However, doing so with even one or two clicks makes those inky blacks look slightly more gray. This is the dilemma facing premium TV buyers this year and is something to consider before going in to purchase a high-end TV – do you prefer a picture with the deepest black levels that boost color richness and saturation at the sacrifice of some fine shadow detail or do you prefer a nice bright picture with the greatest range of detail and color accuracy? Tough call, and one that really requires going to the local AV store for a demo.
I found setting the brightness level on the E6 to 48 (from the standard 50) gave the most satisfying, though not perfect (for detail) results.
Tests in 2015 4K Ultra HD OLED models indicated some issues in screen uniformity, but in my tests on the 65E6 model uniformity issues were dramatically improved. Off-angle viewing on a gray screen showed a slight green hue, but this was not severe enough to have any noticeable impact on actual pictures.
This year, LG has included in the user settings menu an option called OLED Panel Settings to run a special screen correction process. This helps to clean up any visible noise on the OLED screen caused by deliberate voltage changes used to safe guard against image retention. The process, which can take more than an hour, can be set to run automatically when the TV is in standby mode. It seems to have had a significantly positive impact on how the TV handles uniformity from a year ago.
Perhaps the greatest asset of OLED technology is the wide viewing angles it provides, relative to any LCD technology. Contrast, luminance and color continued to be rich, deep and satisfying from almost anywhere we stood in the viewing room. This makes OLED TVs, by far, the best solution for anyone looking to wall mount a flat-panel TV. An LCD TV mounted high or low relative to the angle of view will begin to significantly diminish picture quality, and when entertaining, people seated off to the sides of the screen will not have the same high-quality experience as those seated toward the center of the screen. Not a problem for OLED.
Like LCDs, OLED TVs suffer from motion blurring and judder artifact issues, and this remains the case in the E6, but the issue seemed to be reduced this year particularly in facial close ups, which in last year’s models exhibited some blurring when subjects, like talking heads, moved slightly from side to side. The issue was much less evident this year. LG incorporates its “TruMotion” interpolation technology to reduce blurring and judder. I opted for the custom “User” setting with dejudder set to 0 and blurring set to 8 for the best effect, without introducing any overt soap opera effect.
Another improvement I noticed this year was in content upscaling. The 65E6 had a sharp, clear overall picture, even when presenting lower-resolution content from 720p to Full HD 1080p. The 65E6 did a nice job with difficult low-light noise. In the opening scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End the dark cave scene offered nice dark detail and a generally smooth background without a lot of the distracting grainy mess exhibited by lesser systems.
Similarly, for bright whites, the snowboarding scenes in The Art of Flight Blu-ray Disc presented bright white snowy backgrounds with clearly visible fine ripple lines from snow blown around in drifts. Here the true blue and green hues of the ice and water beneath it were visible in the miles of bright white fallen snow with no apparent blooming or color shifting caused by the TV.
Even old 480p and lower-resolution analog programs were pleasantly improved with less smearing of faces and colors. Of course, even the best upscaling systems can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but it’s nice to at least have a watchable image when such content is all that’s available.
The LG 65G6 offered very strong HDR video performance, with a significant boost in color and peak luminance in specular highlights. Brightness effects weren’t quite as eye squinting as they tend to be in very good HDR LED LCD TVs, like Samsung SUHD TVs, but the wider contrast range is clearly superior to SDR sources. The set showed its deep black levels well and provided bright peak whites without blooming.
This was particularly noticeable in the HDR 10 Ultra HD Blu-ray versions of Pan and The Martian. The latter showed inky blacks in deep space shots with the pinpoint light of tiny distant stars shining through.
Our sample clips of Pan with Dolby Vision content played from a USB thumb drive showed very similar results to the HDR 10 Ultra HD Blu-ray version, and even if we were watching the two side-by-side (which we did not do) we would be hard pressed to believe we could tell the difference.
One nice feature of LG 4K OLED displays is that when the TV reads an HDR signal coming in it presents a notification at the top of the screen that the TV is now playing an HDR or a Dolby Vision signal. This gives you confirmation that the television is in the proper mode and displaying the content you are supposed to be watching.
The LG 65E6 presents nice full sound from its built-in speakers, but this does not include the full quality of the Harman Kardon sound bar used in the top-of-the-line G6 models. Still, you could get by with the TV’s built-in speakers. Dialog is upfront and clear and low bass tones aren’t too bad, but for a full home theater experience anyone buying a TV in this price range really should consider buying a complete home theater system or a top-quality sound bar.
Another added benefit of the E6 OLED TV is that it plays passive-shutter 3D content beautifully. As more and more manufacturers drop 3D capabilities from their TVs, it’s good to know that 3D fans still have a refuge in these models. The picture quality is also likely to be the best they have ever seen on a consumer video screen. Images from the 3D Blu-ray version of Avatar appeared as colorful and free of cross-talk as the original theatrical release, and the use of passive 3D glasses (2 pair are include with the set) provides full resolution 1080p images to each eye from the 4K screen.
LG has done a phenomenal job with its family of 2016 4K Ultra HD OLED TVs and the E6 series is the best available without going into the pricier Signature Series. The 65B6 offers a similarly strong picture performance in a flat-screen model for about $1,000 less than the 65E6, but you’ll be giving up 3D capability, the cosmetic styling of the E6 and its better on-board sound system.
The LG OLED65E6P ($4,997.99 as this was posted) presents one of the most impressive 4K Ultra HD pictures with HDR we’ve seen this year, and as we pointed out, it is worthy of consideration against the equally strong performing curved-screen Samsung UN65KS9800, which at the time of posting rang in at almost $1,200 less. You’ll have to determine for yourself whether you prefer higher overall picture brightness with clearly visible detail from the 4K UHD Full-Array LED LCD TV or the deepest black levels, richest colors and the widest viewing angles of any currently available flat-panel TV from LG’s OLED family.
We therefore award the LG OLED65E6P five out of five hearts.
The LG OLED65E6P used for this review was a company loan.
By Greg Tarr
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