LG 65LA970W review: LG 65LA970W

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The Good Great looking design; Cool motorised soundbar; Really engaging passive 3D pictures; Deep black levels; Good smart TV system.

The Bad Only three HDMI ports and none support HDMI V2.0; More expensive than most of its rivals; Not much benefit to 4K resolution at this screen size; Banding from the backlight is intrusive on sports footage.

The Bottom Line With its slim bezel, classy stand and cool motorised drop-down soundbar, LG's 65LA970 is a really handsome TV, and it produces some great pictures across SD, HD and Ultra HD. Its images on sports footage are marred, however, by banding during camera pans, it doesn’t support HDMI V2.0, and the benefits of Ultra HD aren't all that apparent on a screen this size.

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7.5 Overall

LG was pretty quick out of the blocks when it came to 4K, putting out its 84-inch model ahead of most of its rivals. The 65LA970W is essentially a smaller version of that TV. It still sports an Ultra HD panel, but its smaller 65-inch screen size means that it's probably a more palatable option for most homes.

Currently John Lewis is selling it for £4,499. Support for Ultra HD doesn't come cheap, but this set is £500 cheaper than Sony's KD-65X9005. The LG does have a much slimmer bezel though and it supports local dimming of its LED backlighting. It has some weaknesses, however, so you may not want to drain your bank balance of four and a half grand just yet.

TV guide

Although this is a 4K TV, its menu system has the same look and feel as LG's Full HD tellies -- but when it ain't broke, why fix it? LG's system hasn't changed a huge amount over the last couple of years, but it's still attractive, logically laid out and speedy to navigate.

The picture menu, for example, offers all the basic contrasts, sharpness and colour controls, while in the expert and advance menus you'll find extras such as settings for the motion processing and a full colour-management system.

65LA970W Menu System
The menus look attractive and are speedy to navigate around.

LG's Freeview programming guide has been lagging behind the competition for a while now and the one on this TV is no different. It could definitely do with an update as it looks quite basic and lacks some of the more advanced features now found on other brand's TVs, such as the TiVo-like suggestions included on Samsung's sets.

Smart TV

LG's smart TV isn't quite on a par with Samsung's system either, but it's still pretty good. It's presented as a homescreen with a series of panels across the top, divided into categories such as premium apps, 3D online content, Smartworld apps (all the non-premium stuff) and media that you've shared to the TV from your computer. LG's motion controller, which is like a mouse you wave around in the air, makes it quick to move through the menus and launch apps.

The line-up of apps is on the whole pretty good. Along with BBC iPlayer, it also has Lovefilm and Netflix onboard and there are also apps for Facebook and Twitter, as well as premium movie rental services, such as KnowHow. LG is also the only manufacturer to currently support Sky's Now TV service. It still lacks support for ITV Player, Demand 5 and 4oD however, which are all available on Samsung's platform.

65LA970W Smart TV
LG's smart TV system supports a pretty broad range of apps.

As with all of LG's smart TVs, this one has a good integrated media player so you can either play files locally from its three USB ports or alternatively stream them across a network from a PC or networked hard drive. And unlike Sony's 4K TVs, this model supports HEVC, so it can play compressed HEVC 4K files via its media player.

Editor's note: LG has promised that its smart TVs will receive an update to stop them transmitting data on viewing habits and streaming media, following widespread concerns over user privacy. Read more here.

Design and connections

With its 65-inch screen, the LA970W is, of course, a humungous TV, but its design makes far less domineering in a room than Sony's slab-like KD-65X9005. In part, this is due to the slimmed-down bezel, which is just 1cm wide. This combined with the elegant stand gives the TV a much lighter feel than Sony's model. So, despite its large size, it's a very stylish telly that looks every inch the high-end set that it is.

65LA970W HDMI Ports
There are only three HDMI ports and none of them support HDMI V2.0.

The ports are fairly evenly distributed between a panel on the left-hand side of the set and a corresponding row that runs along the rear. Here you'll find three HDMI ports as well as a pair of USB 2.0 sockets and a single USB 3.0 socket. There's a coax input for Freeview HD and an HD satellite port.

As the satellite tuner supports the HEVC codec it should be able to receive Eutelsat's experimental 4K channel. To pick up this channel however, you need a dish pointed at a different satellite to the one Sky uses so I couldn't test this out unfortunately. Naturally there's Ethernet onboard and Wi-Fi built-in, and you get breakout cables for legacy connections such as Scart and component.

There are two issues with the HDMI ports, though. Firstly there are only three of them, when most other high-end TVs have four, and secondly the ports only support HDMI V1.4. This means that they're currently limited to supporting 4K video signals at up to 30fps, whereas Panasonics' latest Ultra HD model supports 4K video at up to 60fps, which is what the new HDMI 2.0 standard demands.

Support for faster frame rates is important because broadcasters may use them for future sports channels. Unfortunately, LG hasn't provided any information on whether it's planning to upgrade this set's ports or not, so it's definitely something we'd think carefully about before shelling out on this TV.

4K picture quality

There's an increasing number of 4K TVs hitting the market, but there's still pretty much a total dearth of 4K content. One benefit this model has over Sony's KD-65X9005 is that it supports HEVC, so you can at least play back clips in Ultra HD via drives plugged into its USB ports. LG supplied a number of clips in 4K to view on the TV, but I was also able to play back 4K test files in MKV and MP4 format that I had downloaded from the Web.

Up-close the 4K footage looks stunning. Even with your nose pressed up against the screen the detail on offer is astounding. Think of the iPad with a retina display versus the original iPad to get an idea of the increase in clarity.

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