Dim lighting: OLED was king here. All four of the OLED TVs in my lineup produced equally perfect black, compared with the variously lighter shades of black found on the LCD TVs. As usual the difference showed up most in dark scenes, for example in "The Revenant" Chapter 21 where Hugh emerges into the searchers' torchlight. The black bars above and below the image, the shadows among the trees, and Hugh's silhouette all appeared in true black or very dark shadow, and all looked blacker and more realistic than any of the LED LCD sets.
Another big difference between the OLED and LED LCD TVs was OLED's immunity to blooming. The best LCDs, like the ones in my lineup, all use local dimming to improve contrast and deliver deeper black levels, but all suffer to a greater or lesser extent from stray light that leaks from bright areas into dark. It showed up most in onscreen graphical elements, like my Blu-ray player's icons or the subtitles against the lower black bar in Chapter 4 of "The Revenant," but also some normal program material. The KS8000 was the worst while the Vizio and JS95000 were very good, if not perfect. The issue worsened from off-angle and brighter picture settings, including HDR.
Shadow detail isn't OLED's strongest suit but all of the LGs were still very good in this area after calibration to fix the default settings' crushed blacks. Looking closely at that Chapter 4 scene, I saw very slightly more detail in Hawk's face and clothing in the Samsung LCDs compared to the OLEDs, but nothing that would be evident outside a side-by-side comparison.
Bright lighting: While OLED's black level and contrast advantages are more obvious as the lights dim, they're still evident in normal and even brighter room lighting, delivering more pop at the same light output settings as the LED LCDs on test.
On the other hand the biggest advantage of those LED LCDs is superior light output, giving the Samsungs an advantage in the very brightest of rooms (the Vizio wasn't that much brighter overall than the OLEDs in SDR, and dimmer in HDR). It's easy to overstate this advantage, however, and the simple fact is that any of these TVs is plenty bright for pretty much any indoor lighting situation.
Nonetheless, here's how the TVs measured. As LG promised, the 2016 models are notably brighter than last year's EF9500 in HDR mode.
TV light output in nits
|TV||Mode (SDR)||10% window (SDR)||Full screen (SDR)||Mode (HDR)||10% window (HDR)|
|Vizio P65-C1||Vivid||502||572||Calibrated Dark||468|
|LG OLED65E6P||Vivid||441||143||HDR Vivid||710|
|LG OLED55B6P||Vivid||367||115||HDR Vivid||651|
LG says it improved the antireflective screen of its OLEDs this year but I found it tough to tell the difference. All of the OLEDs did a superb job of maintaining a deep black level in a bright room, beating the Samsungs by a hair and the Vizio by more. They also dimmed reflections very well, albeit not quite as well as the KS8000. Overall, however, the OLEDs performed extremely well in a bright room.
Color accuracy: No major complaints here, at least on the review sample LG sent me. The B6 showed highly accurate color according to my measurements, and observations of program material in most areas backed that up. Watching one of my favorite references for skin tones and color in natural lighting, "Tree of Life," the faces remained true in most lighting, the green of the grass and trees looked natural, and white areas like sheets and the cloudy sky looked neutral.
In relatively dim areas, like a firelit interior from the fort in "The Revenant," the E6 and B6 did take on a somewhat redder appearance than the other TVs in the lineup. The issue wasn't a big deal in my book, however, overall color accuracy was on par with the best TVs I've tested.
I mention the review sample LG sent me because I suspect it might not represent the B6 TVs available for sale to the public as much as I normally expect. This issue doesn't immediately affect the outcome of this review, and I doubt most viewers will notice, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless. As usual, If you want to be assured of the most accurate color on an LG OLED, I recommend a professional calibration. Check out my calibration and HDR notes for details.
Video processing: The B6 was very good in this category, and LG has alleviated some of the jumpiness I saw last year with some pans and camera movement with film-based material. Looking at some of my go-to 1080p/24 film cadence favorites from "Skyfall" and "I Am Legend," the "Off" TruMotion settings of the B6 and E6 both showed less judder (in a good way) than did the EF9500 last year, and were more in line with the other TVs.
People sensitive to blurring will likely want a setting with better motion resolution, however, and User offers the best of both worlds. At a setting of zero for De-Judder and 10 for De-Blur, the B6 delivered maximum motion resolution (600 lines) and correct film cadence. The rest of the settings (with the exception of Off) introduced some form of smoothing, or soap opera effect, and none bested that resolution. Notably, the same setting on the E6 was introduced unwanted 2:3 pull-down stutter, so film buffs should choose either Off or De-Judder: 1 (which introduces minimal smoothing) for that TV.
UPDATE: Input lag in game mode was one area of difference between the two TVs, although it's not as wide of a gap as I originally reported. The B6 measured an impressive 26ms the first time I checked, but subsequent tests (one per day for about a week after this review published) yielded a consistent 37.6ms. I'm going with the repeatable result in the Geek Box, and I have no idea why the original measurement was off. For what it's worth, repeat measurements of the E6 consistently showed 56ms.
Uniformity: Another big OLED's advantage over LCD is its superb image when viewed from positions other than the sweet spot directly in front of the screen. Seen from off-angle, the B6 maintained black level fidelity and color accuracy much, much better than any of the LED LCDs, all of which washed out in comparison.
Last year the the EF9500 and other OLED TVs suffered uniformity issues in very dark scenes, which showed up as irregular darker edges and vertical banding in the darkest test patterns. LG, as it promised, seems to have largely fixed the issue with the 2016 models. Full-field patterns below 10% looked much cleaner than before, with only a slight darkening in the middle of the screen. With program material, like the challenging super-dark intro from Chapter 12 of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," the EF9500 and EG9100 showed the creeping darker edges, while the two 2016 models looked did not. I considered this issue minor last year, but it's nice LG fixed it for 2016. Bright-field uniformity was excellent.
HDR and 4K video: The B6 is a superb HDR performer overall, evincing similar advantages to what I saw with standard dynamic range content.
My first test involved sending my lineup of TVs the HDR10 version of "The Revenant," courtesy of the Samsung UBD-K8500 Blu-ray player and the AVPro Connect AC-MX88-UHD, a distribution matrix that allows me to send HDR (and all other) HDMI signals to multiple TVs simultaneously. This is the first opportunity I've had to compare HDR on OLED and LCD HDR TVs side-by-side in the lab using the same source, and it further reinforced my previous observations: that OLED is just as much a powerhouse with HDR as it is with standard dynamic range, despite its light output deficit to LED LCD.
The nature-scapes in the film looked brilliant in HDR on the B6, the sunlight and skies with more brightness, the clouds with that characteristic extra definition, the natural greens and blues with more realism, and an overall image that's the best I've ever seen in my lab. I watched the B6 and E6 side-by-side, switching back and forth between standard Blu-ray and the HDR 4K Blu-ray on both, and there was very little difference between the two 2016 OLEDs, with both outdoing the other TVs to a greater or lesser extent.
HDR on the EF9500 looked the next-best, but its highlights were a bit dimmer, leading to less pop and brilliance. Shadows also appeared too-bright, making certain images appear too washed-out, and clouds didn't have the same levels of definition (I'm blaming a wacky EOTF and poor tone-mapping, respectively, but I don't know enough about HDR to say for sure).
I was also surprised to note that both Samsung LCDs, although capable of higher light output in objective tests, didn't have a visible brightness advantage in most scenes. Spot measurements with a handheld light meter confirmed my suspicions: the LCDs were actually dimmer than the OLEDs in highlights by significant margins with "The Revenant," even the light cannon JS9500. I performed the same test on with the 4K Blu-ray of "Mad Max: Fury Road" and the results were similar: the B6 and JS9500 were about equal in the highlight I measured, the E6 was the brightest and the KS8000 and EF9500 were also about equal, and quite a bit dimmer than the others, while the Vizio was dimmest.
I can't explain the difference fully, but the main point is that with HDR, LCDs' brightness advantage over OLED with test pattern measurements (detailed above in Bright Lighting) don't necessarily indicate brighter highlights -- one of the main advantages of HDR. The reality varies by display, scene and content. In fact, I'm guessing some of the variations I saw between the two 4K Blu-ray discs was due to metadata: "The Revenant" carries metadata indicating it was mastered on a 1,000 nit display, while "Mad Max"was mastered on a 4,000 nit display. HDR really is the wild west.
Between the two 2016 OLEDs the E6 showed a slight edge in HDR overall. Its highlights were the brightest in the room, and it lacked a minor artifact that plagued the B6 in at least one dark scene. In Chapter 4 while Hugh addresses Hawk at night (19:55), the B6's black level raised slightly above perfection and I even saw slight shadowy fluctuations in the letterbox bars. I'm guessing the issue is restricted to very dark scenes only, but it's relatively subtle, and I couldn't replicate it in other scenes, or with SDR.
I also checked out the Dolby Vision stream of "Mad Max" from Vudu on the B6, comparing it directly to the HDR10 4K Blu-ray disc on the E6 and the other sets, and the differences were minor to nonexistent between the two OLEDs. Colors were a tiny bit redder in cast on the B6, but I didn't measure color in Dolby Vision's color on the B6, so I can't say which is more accurate.
I can say that on both 2016 OLED TVs, the Dolby Vision version delivered slightly brighter highlights with Mad Max than the HDR10 version, according to my measurements. Given the choice between watching Dolby Vision and HDR10 on this TV, I'd choose Dolby for that reason, and the fact that at this point I trust Dolby's certification process to produce the truest picture on this TV.
I also played through a suite of 4K test patterns by Florian Friedrich and the B6 passed them all without issues, and also delivered the full 4K resolution from YouTube.
I appreciate that when the B6 is sent an HDR signal from the Samsung K8500 Blu-ray player, the necessary "HDMI ULTRA HD Deep color" control is set to "On" and a little pop-up appears that asks you restart the TV so the setting can take effect. Samsung's 2016 TVs automatically handle HDR signals in a similar way (albeit without a popup or requiring a restart), but Sony's and Vizio's require you to know about and manually change the setting yourself.
|Black luminance (0%)||0||Good|
|Peak white luminance (100%)||128||Average|
|Avg. gamma (10-100%)||2.19||Average|
|Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)||1.652||Good|
|Dark gray error (20%)||1.71||Good|
|Bright gray error (70%)||0.96||Good|
|Avg. color error||1.467||Good|
|Avg. saturations error||1.87||Good|
|Avg. luminance error||2.81||Good|
|Avg. color checker error||2.75||Good|
|Percent gamut Wide (DCI/P3)||98||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||600||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||300||Poor|
|Input lag (Game mode)||37.6||Good|