LG’s 2015 TV line up was announced this month, and thanks to LG, I was able to check out the TVs. Since I am also starting to plan for my new home renovation, I could do a little renovation shopping / planning.
The below table summarizes the key details / features of LG’s latest TVs.
|TV Models||Panel Technology||Price||Availability||Resolution||Speaker||WebOS|
|EC970T||OLED||65″ : TBC||April||4K||4.0 (40W)||Yes|
|UC9T||LED||105″: TBC||April||5K||7.2 (150W)||Yes|
|UB980T||LED||98″: $39,999||Now||4K||5.2 (120W)||Yes|
|UF950T||ColorPrime LED||65″: $7,199||End March||4K||4.2 (60W)||Yes|
|2nd Qtr 2015||4K||2.0 (20W)||Yes|
|April||4K||79″: 2.1 (35W)
70″: 2.0 (20W)
|End March||4K||2.0 (20W)||No|
|End March||1080p||2.0 (20W)||Yes|
The 65 incher EC970T is the star of the show. Ignoring the technology spiel, the OLED panel offers significant display quality performance over traditional LED panels. Colour contrast is a key aspect, and OLEDs excel in offering deeper blacks. Something like the good ol’ Plasma TV days but with none of the associated problems. Despite the 65″ diminutive size compared to the 98″ and 105″ behemoths UB980T and UC9T respectively, the image quality of the EC970T stood out at the LG event.
The panel is curved, which LG says would offer a more immersive viewing experience. I’m still not entirely convinced that curved TVs are the way to go. If you are considering a curved TV, I strongly suggest you read this well-balanced article from Forbes on the pros and cons of curve. I do agree that the off-angle viewing for the curved screen at the sides of the TV is not as bad as I initially thought. The nice LG folks suggested I try out simulating it from an extreme angle and the viewing experience was still good. As the Forbes article suggested, since curved TVs turn the edges of their images towards off-axis viewing positions, the extreme edge of the screen is still curved towards you. Another reason is the LG curvature is also less aggressive than other competitors, such as Samsung (on average radius curvature of 16.4 vs 13.7 feet).
OLED still isn’t cheap enough for the average consumers, and LG would be also pushing their other LEDs with the ColorPrime technology. This offers improved colour, with a gamut boost of around 30%.
webOS 2.0 is available in selected LG’s 2015 TVs. It builds on the success of last year initial webOS launch, with an improved UI and under-the-hood performance. The interface does look more polished and the transparent overlays offers a cleaner look. LG is also working with new content partners on exclusive content for webOS. One of these is the One FC collaboration, MMA fans can access match highlights through the One FC app. More content is definitely required.
Content is still not enough though. Apps like Skype, Google Map, Facebook, Twitter are all useless on a Smart TV. Thankfully, there’s YouTube and Toggle from Mediacorp. I look forward to content platform apps such as Kodi or Plex being available on webOS. There’s a beta version of Plex called PlayZ on the Australian webOS store and that’s a good start.
Netflix and Hulu is available on WebOS US store. Your default Singapore LG TV would be tied to the APAC Store. To change it, here’s the link to the instructions I found.
LG’s webOS Smart TV implementation is one of the most user friendly at the moment. If you are a power user, an Android Box is great. But for your other family members, it can get rather complicated. LG shared they would no longer be offering Netcast based TVs. Instead, the focus would be WebOS on their premium TVs, and on the lower end models, just focus on delivering a good quality panel. I think this is a great decision. This would be the UF670T, and only the price of the 49-inch UF670T is available, at S$1,899. It is likely that the panel would be same as the one used in Xiaomi’s MiTV2.
Which LED TV TO BUY IN 2015?
While I go around looking at other brands, I am shortlisting the LG 49LF630T and LG 49LF540T for future consideration (I’m on a budget!). Between the two, I find the LF540T to have a nicer stand design. Strange, considering it is the lower end model. Price should be around the 1K range.
Size of televisions are definitely increasing – I used to be satisfied with a 42″ TV – but I am definitely looking at a minimally 49″ TV and up for my living room. The TV should come with DVB-T2 or DVB-C, for FTA channel access in Singapore. I don’t think I will be signing up a cable or TV plan for the moment. Smart TV is a good to have, but it’s not a priority for me. Neither is 4K, hardly any content at the moment.