Giant TVs used to be seen only at tradeshows, with television manufacturers each trying to better the other with ever-bigger plasma and LCD screens. Only Premiership footballers and their agents could do more than dream about owning such a televisual colossus. Read on for the LG 84LM960V / LG 84LM9600 review.
Now the first 84-inch Ultra-High Definition TVs have hit stores in recent months. Sony, Sharp, Toshiba introduced their first UHD models last year, and today the boffins at Hardware.Info tested the LG 84LM960V. In the US this TV is called LG 84LM9600.
The good news: it’s the cheapest out of the 84-inch UHD televisions.
The bad news: it’s priced at £22,499 – small change for the footballers and City boys and their bachelor pads. See: smart TV reviews
The 84-inch LG 84LM960V has a resolution of 3,840x2,160. That's twice the Full HD resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, resulting in four times the number of pixels. It’s like having four 42-inch TVs glued together.
The term 4K is thrown around a lot by marketing people. It comes from the world of movies and actually refers to footage with a horizontal resolution of 4,096 pixels. UHD screens have a horizontal resolution of 3,840 pixels, which is slightly lower so calling them 4K isn't entirely correct.
So what are the benefits of such a high resolution? It's unlikely that any UHD broadcast will appear in the short term. The transition to HD was challenging enough for many.
It's expected that Blu-ray will be updated at some point in order to support UHD resolution. That will likely require new players since the new h.265 codec will be used.
The next generation of gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony are expected to feature HDMI 1.4 and in theory support UHD resolution.
A PC is already able to support a UHD screen if it has a graphics card with HDMI 1.4, which is the case for most current generation cards. You can then watch YouTube videos in 4K resolution, and 4K demo videos are available if you look around a bit.
There isn't a huge amount of 4K material yet, however. You can also view photos in UHD resolution, and with a powerful graphics card you can play video games in 3,840-x-2,160 resolution.
UHD does have a distinct advantage for passive 3D, since now each eye gets Full HD resolution. With passive 3D technology each eye only gets to see half of the screen, which inevitably impacts the resolution in 3D.
Since there won't be much native UHD material available, a lot of effort has been made with video upscaling.
Sony's 84-inch TV has a special engine that compares the current frame with the next one, and tries to add extra detail that way.
In a demo session at IFA Sony proved that the effect is quite impressive, the upscaled 4K image is clearly sharper than the same image on a normal Full HD TV.
Sony did indicate that the source material needs to contain enough ‘high frequency information’, which means that there has to be enough detail present in the footage.
If that's not there, the upscaling effect will be very limited, and SD material doesn't change much at all. Sharp has a similar technology called ICC Purios in one of its upcoming 4K TVs, and what we've seen of its implementation was also impressive.
LG in its turn has not equipped the 84LM960V with an upscaling feature.
The TV runs on the same platform as the Full HD models from the LM960V series, and LG indicates that even the motherboard is identical.
The sharpness tests in the HQV 2.0 benchmark showed that upscaled 1080p material doesn't look sharper than on a normal 1080p screen.
So in this department LG is behind Sony and Sharp, but Sony's 84-inch UHD TV is also considerably more expensive.
To find out how this 84-inch UHD TV from LG performs and whether it's worth the money, read the exclusive full review on Hardware.Info.