Wednesday, 22 March 2017 17:55

LG OLED is WOWLED – Cinema quality in the home

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LG has previewed its 2017 range of “Signature” OLED and Super UHD 4K TVs incorporating Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound.

Last week this writer was praising Samsung’s new QLED, Quantum Dot LED, Q-series and it is hard to see the difference between the top-of-the-range 65” flat screen 2017 Samsung Q9 QLED and 2016, LG G6T OLED. Neither will leave much change from $10,000. But there was a caveat, “Remember the LG G6T is last year’s model (and soon to be superseded).”

LG has upped the ante with two new 55” and 65” premium OLED models, the C7 and E7 and two new “Signature” branded 65” models, the G7 (for use on a sideboard/cabinet) and W7 (wall mount only). The latter comes with “Signature Service” – a free install in most capital city metropolitan areas. The Australian website is here.

The writer spent two hours speaking to Angus Jones, LG’s marketing technologist/marketing director, and Pat Griffis, Dolby Laboratories vice-president of technology as well as presentations from the factory engineers and trainers. We viewed and compared its LCD-based TV sets including the 6 series UHD (no Dolby Vision), 7 and 8 series (Dolby Vision), and the OLED C/E/G/W series (with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos) – a good, better, best scenario.

Jones knows almost all there is to know about LG OLED. He has held senior positions at Panasonic, Dell, and HP. His points:

  • TV is no longer about free-to-air content. It is about viewing content from streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon, Foxtel or Stan, it is about viewing clips from YouTube in HD, 4K Blu-ray (or lower), surfing the web, running apps, or even looking at 360 content.
  • The TV picture and sound at home can be better than a cinema experience
  • Only LG OLED with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision can exceed the cinema experience

He debunked the myth that curved TVs offer a better viewing experience, a fact reinforced by Griffis. “It may be slightly more immersive if you are sitting perfectly in the 'zone' but the facts are that in a typical lounge room 90% of people sit outside that zone (facts supported by a Japanese ergonomics’ study). OLED continues to offer the widest viewing angle, brightness and colour consistency over LED technologies including QLED, IPS, and VA panels.”

LG 2017 OLED view angle

“Curved TVs have been more about marketing than a reality – flat out,” he said. Griffis commented that the movie makers hated curved TVs as it meant there was no such thing as a straight line and the keystone effect was often evident at the edges.

Jones said that the “OLED Challenge” programme, allowing potential buyers to see OLED beside one of LG’s similarly featured Super UHD panels, had been a success. “Seeing OLED beside an LCD is the only way to make an informed decision,” he said, adding that the sweet-spot was now 65”.

But he admitted that not everyone had the budget. The 65” wall mounted W7 sells for $13,499 and the cabinet mount G7 for $9099. “That is why we continue to offer a range of premium value 4K OLED (still with Dolby Vision and Atmos) and 4K LCD TVs starting around $1000 up to the Super UHD 7 (100Hz) and 8 (200Hz) with Dolby Vision at $4199 and $4799 – there is limited demand for HD,” he said.

He said that the G7 and W7 shared the same panel but the latter was for wall mounting and had all the electronics incorporated into a separate break-out box which doubled as the Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 sound system. The G7 also has the Atmos sound bar incorporated into the cabinet stand design.

LG 2017 OLED

LG 2017 OLED G7

Dolby Vision is HRD on steroids

Griffis is also knowledgeable about sound and vision having spent much of his life around movie makers. His most telling statement was that movie makers want viewers to see in their movies the same range of colours and highlights that they can see with their eyes. Dolby Vision is the disruptor capable of doing this – not HDR.

"Only Dolby Vision can come close to that. HDR is a subset of Dolby vision – we can show it, but it can’t show Dolby Vision detail."

"4K televisions have more pixels and high frame rates but currently only LG OLED can use each pixel to better represent the full range of brightness we see in reality" – he called it “smarter pixels” each capable of displaying a colour or true black (off) unlike LCD TV that has a very limited number of dimming zones.

When the Dolby Vision stream is sent to an LG OLED, it uses the information to optimise the content displayed on scene by scene basis, which does a better job of reproducing the content as intended.

Griffis said that as the technology gets better, Dolby Vision can show a brightness of up to 10,000 nits.

LG OLED 2017 DV

Dolby Atmos

Griffis said that Atmos was different because up to 128 different sound objects could be isolated and placed and moved anywhere in a 3D environment. An aircraft (sound object) could start behind you in the distance and fly closer and over you – objects can go anywhere and reflect the real-world sound. By separating out main objects from background “noise” you can hear the stream babbling down the hill while hearing someone speak clearly at its side.

He commented on the rapid uptake of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound in specially equipped US cinemas as they provided the best visual and audio experience.

He said that sound bars included with LG’s W7 and G7 were 5.1.2 (Left, Right, Centre, simulated left rear, simulated right rear, subwoofer and two upwards firing Atmos speakers).

Atmos could also be 5.1.4 and 7.1.4. Griffis said that Atmos could be added to any system as long as the Blu-ray player (the new $599 LG UP970) supported Atmos decoding (it is also backwards compatible with Dolby Digital and other sound codecs) and the amplifier, in this case, an $1699, 5.1.2 LG SJ9 sound bar with Hi-Res sound and 24-bit, 192kHz upscaling.

In the demonstration, it was clear that sound objects moved over, under, around and beside the viewer (directionality and separation) while filling the room with clear sounds. 

LG 2017 OLED Atmos

LG 2017 OLED web OS

Most of the new models will be available in late March or early April.

LG 2017 OLED lifestyle

ITWire will be reviewing an OLED.

LG 2017 PRICE 

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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