What's it like to watch regular content on LG's monster ultra-high-definition TV? Find out in our hands-on preview.
By anyone's standards, LG's 84-inch 3D UD TV dominates a room — it's an almost monolithic slab of screen. There's definitely nothing average about its appearance, nor its price tag. We were able to get a couple of hours with the UD TV out at the Qantas Lounge at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. LG had set up a PC to display the usual 4K content that's available for people wanting to show off 2160p screens — mostly cityscapes and beautiful wilderness vistas — but the fact is that for the moment, very little 4K content is going to be viewed on this TV. Luckily, LG had a Blu-ray player and gaming consoles set up, along with connectivity for its smart TV offerings, so we were able to get a good cross-section of what the TV can do.
The UD TV uses the LG magic remote, which is a vaguely phaser-shaped minimalist motion controller that has just a few buttons, and controls a pointer as you wave it around. The remote is extremely convenient, and the LG home screen is easy to navigate with the controller. The remote also gives access to Blu-ray functions from the main screen, but we couldn't find a simple way to get the pop-up menu to display while playing a disc.
There was a surprising amount of heat being generated when we were up close to the screen, which was very noticeable from a few inches away. In the bright room, we also had a fair amount of glare on the screen, but mostly in darkened scenes — although it could be quite distracting at times.
A quick look at the back revealed four HDMI slots and three USB ports, along with the usual array of LAN and other options.
We tried some IPTV, checking out ABC's iView, and the picture was surprisingly viewable. In fact, the image actually looked a bit better than what we'd seen on some smaller-sized TVs.
We dragged in our usual test disc — Clash of the Titans — and were quite impressed by the clarity of the colour and the image. There was a little bit of the hyper-real "Soap Opera Effect", but nothing out of the ordinary for a modern set. (And not enough to make Sam Worthington any less wooden.) The scorpion fight in particular (our popular go-to action sequence) looked amazing.
One of the reasons why we use Clash of the Titans (apart from the chance to write about the delightful Sam Worthington) is so that we can check the same scenes in both 2D and 3D. The passive 3D on the UD TV definitely works well; the size seems to actually help with the overall effect. Again, it was clear, with not too much fuzziness around the edge of the screen that some TVs get, although some of the less-action-related scenes (the Olympian talk fests) had a tiny bit of ghosting on some of the objects. We even noticed that the 3D has a slightly wider viewing angle than usual. The aforementioned scorpion fight scene, while definitely not as crisp as it was in 2D, still looked great.
Gaming — Modern Warfare 3 on the Xbox — was particularly enjoyable on the 84-inch screen. The action was clear, and the colour was excellent. It was easy to get drawn in to the action; we played through two quick missions without feeling overwhelmed by the size, or having any problems with how the upscaled image looked.
We also took a look at a DVD release of Chinatown to see how an older film would look. It definitely had some fuzz on the large screen, but again nothing so jarring as to make it unwatchable. In fact, we thought it was looking quite decent, given the quality of the source material. It would be interesting to try a black-and-white film at a later date.
Sound wise, the in-built 2.2-speaker system — two 10W speakers and two 15W woofers — is clear and pleasant. The woofers definitely help with action scenes; both on films and in gaming, they provide big, deep sound. Gaming in particular gets a great benefit from the sound. It's also loud. Pop it up to 100 per cent, and on a big action moment, you'll walk away with ears ringing.
That said, when watching Chinatown, the sound was quite subdued and needed to be cranked up quite high to be heard clearly, but this was likely to be more of an issue from the disc itself rather than the TV.
With only two hours' experience, it's obviously hard to formulate more than a brief opinion on how the LG 3D UD TV performs. In the time we had, however, we found the viewing experience to be excellent across the board. At this size and price, this TV is not going to adorn too many lounge rooms around the country. But this is a genuine home-cinema experience; we can only imagine just how immersive the experience would be when coupled with a surround-sound system. If it's within your budget, there's no reason we've seen for you not to consider this television.