I had an opportunity to visit VE yesterday, with a friend, to view the 77" LG OLED 'up close & personal'. My intent was to better see the capabilities and any potential flaws of this display than I was able to see at CES.
With the always great hospitality of Robert & Wendy, I was able to plug in my 4K projects that I had shot with my 4K cameras, as well as a Blu-ray disc I was very familiar with.
Although I had seen some of my own 4K material on other 4K displays, I had never seen them on a UHD LG OLED. My projects were on a portable USB drive that Wendy plugged into one of the USB 2 inputs. Accessing the material via the menu was very easy as Wendy negotiated the LG's menu system.
- Robert had the 77" OLED in his home theater area at the rear of the store. This area is totally darkened, with curtains and no exterior windows. This beautifully simulated my viewing environment with the lights out at night. We were sitting approximately 10-11' from the screen.
- The display had approximately 150 hours on it and was in the Expert 1 mode. There were no adjustments made beyond that. It was simply in an out-of-the-box condition in Expert 1.
- My personal 4K material looked, in one word, superb. I could also use the phrase 'jaw-dropping' or other effusive adjectives, and they'd all be true. Everyone in the room, my friend, Robert, Wendy and a couple of shoppers, just stood there 'oohing & ahhing'. Really.
The first video we put on was an edited video I shot in Vegas during CES. The opening night scenes of Vegas were absolutely spectacular with the jet black skies and gorgeous Vegas lighting. They looked far better than I had ever seen them on my F8500 plasma (using an HD version of this same project). The overall impact of the extended CR, 4K material, absolute blacks of OLED and the sheer size of the 77" screen, simply cannot be understated. It was just an unparalleled viewing experience.
This same impact extended to day scenes and again, the enhanced CR together with the 4K resolution, gave a sense of depth I had never seen with this material. I should also note there were no motion issues with these videos. More on this later.
- No news here, blacks were black. There were none of the 'dark gray' you see on almost all other displays, blacks were simply pure black, no light, zero. This was the first time I had seen the impact of this in a totally darkened environment...and it was glorious, no other words to describe it.
- This is a tough one to assess. Without an A/B of another display that we know has no issues with shadow detail, it's almost impossible to say whether or not there was any crushing of shadow detail. I noted some of the night scenes during TDK and I just went down to my ISF calibrated F8500 to play those same scenes. I can't say I saw any less detail in shadows on the LG than I just did on my plasma. But without having the two side by side, I can't be 100%. Either way, if there was any crushing, I'd say it was minor.
- This was something that took me by surprise. I've seen many shots of owners calling up the LG menu on the left side of the screen. I've always seen some color discontinuities in these. They varied from significant to fairly minor. On the 77", the menu was pure white from top to bottom and left to right. Similarly, a full white field was as even as I have ever seen it on any display I've ever owned. It was probably on a par with my plasma. More on screen uniformity issues below.
- As I mentioned above, there were no motion issues with video. The video I shot was in 4K
. To produce the smooth motion I saw on the LG with 30fps material, would generally indicate that some kind of motion processing was going on. To achieve this same effect on my plasma, I need to put it in 'smooth', which engages a frame rate doubler. Thus, 30fps take on a look much like 60fps, with minimal artifacts. However, as I mentioned, to achieve this effect there is processing going on, so how would it look with film?
We put on TDK and there was clearly some SOE visible. I was a bit pressed for time, so we didn't play with the motion settings to minimize this. Robert is having this display calibrated, so I'd plan to go back at some later date to see how the motion looks at that point.
- Watching the TDK showed how effective the upconversion to UHD resolution is on the LG. It looked surprisingly close to some of the softer 4K material we watched on the Sony 4K media server. I won't tell you it had the same clarity and detail as the 4K I shot with my 4K cameras, but it was truly excellent.
To me this puts to rest the many comments I read on various threads that knock LG for 'processing' when I'd bet that almost none of these people have actually seen LG's processing and upconversion at work. I didn't see any significant difference between the look of this movie on the LG and the UHD Sonys that I've seen.
- Well, I'd love to say the display was flawless, but it isn't. The issue of near black is still present on the 77". As you approach near black, say 10%, we saw a line down the middle of the screen, somewhat lighter than the surrounding area. We didn't see this until near the end of our viewing session. I didn't see it at all with any of my material or the 4K demo material. I saw none of it with any of the night scenes in my material.
In fact, at first I thought it was source-related, but Robert doubted that (he does not cover up issues as so many in this business do). At the very beginning of TDK, as the FBI warning begins to pop up prior the beginning of the actual movie, we saw the line. During the movie, I never noticed it regardless of the scene, but my friend thought he saw a fleeting glimpse of it during one scene, but he wasn't sure. As he said, you become so fixated at looking for it, had he not been, he was certain he would never have questioned it.
- Even if I knew I'd see that line on a very occasional basis with actual content, the overall viewing experience on this display is like none other I've ever seen. The impact is simply unmatched and although I wish there was no issue with near black artifacts, I'd still say the pluses so outweigh the negatives, that this would never deter me from purchasing one.
Rest assured, Robert is still knocking on LG's door to get this issue resolved. Many thanks to Robert & Wendy for their hospitality!