OLED TVs were a revolution last year and LG was at the forefront of driving this technology forward. However, up until recently, the price tag has been prohibitive for most, with entry models from the Korean manufacturer hovering around the 3k mark.
Enter the LG OLED55B6V, which has now come right down to around 1.5 grand, making it the most affordable OLED screen on the market. However, it’s still fairly expensive by LCD screen standards – so is it worth the extra?
Our verdict is yes. The picture quality is simply stunning and recent firmware updates have addressed many issues that people had when the TV was first released (e.g. frame skipping on Blue Ray). Even at this price, the LG OLED55B6V represents excellent value for money.
LG have given the OLED55B6V a very light touch design. The incredible slimness of the TV straight away marks this out as an OLED screen (as they don’t need backlighting). The bezel around the screen is barely noticeable, and there is only a small LG logo underneath the set. The partially transparent stand gives the effect that the TV is floating:
If you’re going to wall mount it you should be aware that it juts out to just under 5cm on the back. This is to make room for the speakers and the connections. Other models have got round this by putting these in the base units, but with this floaty design, it’s just not possible.
If you’re wedded to a curved design you can go for OLED55C6 – but be prepared to compromise on viewing angles.
What Exactly is an OLED Screen?
The vast majority of TVs in the shops have LCD (liquid crystal display) screens – sometimes people call these LED (light emitting diode) TVs. Essentially, these sets have a display that is lit up by a LED backlight.
OLED displays are different. Each individual pixel is illuminated. The major benefit of this is that there is no light leakage into pixels. So when you want a particular pixel to show black, it shows the darkest black possible – and this makes for excellent contrast in the picture which makes it really pop. The picture below gives you an idea of the difference.
It’s this improved contrast that just hits you as soon as you switch on the OLED55B6V. As a result, the picture gives a much better sense of background and foreground. This means the image, while not reaching the standards of a 3D TV, does sometimes feel as though its coming right out of the box.
The TV also has 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) technology. The first means it fits in about 4 times as many pixels as a standard HD TV, and the second means that it can better reproduce shadow and light. Both are essential in a modern set.
4K is straightforward on this TV – you get a super crisp image that is clear to see.
The HDR is stunning. A new firmware update has improved on minor niggles we had when the TV first came out to make this a truly standout model.
However, there is still one drawback with the HDR performance. Sometimes HDR pictures call for bits of the screen to be extra bright, especially in a set capable of reaching near perfect darks, and the OLED system can’t quite match the lighting power of backlit TVs. It’s generally not a problem, but it’s something you should be aware of.
It’s also more than offset by the fact that it doesn’t suffer from “light leaking” like LCD screens – so the image, especially in bright scenes, is generally much more controlled.
There is a slight trace of motion blur too. This is generally not noticeable unless you are playing a first person shooter or watching a faced paced sports match (UPDATE: this has been largely smoothed out by the recent software upgrade).
Overall though, these are just niggles. The picture is simply superb and despite the cheaper price, it does give LG’s more expensive sets such as the E6 and G6 a run for their money.
Standard HD and dynamic range content, like you get on say YouView, is handled amazingly well – there’s nothing to even come close to troubling this set and it can produce it as well as any rival available today.
Note: The TV also has 4k upscaling. Currently, 4K content is limited to a few online providers like Netflix, and even then it’s limited to certain shows. However, LG has packed in some tech that intelligently fills in the gaps between pixels to try to get a more detailed image. Its results are impressive, with a marked bump in quality – but unfortunately, there is still a noticeable gulf between upscaling and true 4K.
The sound is OK. The speakers are Harman Kardon, a great name, but it feels like they don’t have enough space to put in enough speaker to get a truly cinematic experience. Voices are generally clear, but we would really recommend going for a soundbar so you can get a sonic stage that matches the awesome picture.
Smart TV Features
The webOS 3.0 operating system that is built into the TV is excellent. It works around a simple pop-up menu across the bottom end of the screen where you can access popular apps like iPlayer right away, or install more from LG’s app store and connect to anything you plug in via HDMI (for example is you have a YouView box).You can also use the TV to surf the web. Usually, this is an annoying process, mainly due it being difficult to navigate with a traditional remote control. However, LG ships a Magic Remote that allows you to point at the screen to cursor. Typing is still a hassle though.
When you first start up the TV you will be prompted to log on to WiFi and set up is really straight forward.
The OLED screen also has the added benefit of making the TV super energy efficient.