First impressions of LG’s 55” UHDTV

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The 55” LG UHDTV (55LA9700) came out of the box yesterday and having spent some time with it, here are the first impressions.

Picture Quality

Obviously the first thing we need to discuss is the picture quality. Ultra high definition is the future or displays and it’s easy to see why. LG kindly provided a bunch of source material on a USB3.0 HDD, this thing is amazingly gorgeous. After seeing an 84” in-store UHD was always going to be stunning, but the question for the 55” is how that high resolution works at a smaller size.

The answer is that UHD, even at 55” is still a dramatic difference. The point at which 1080p breaks down is around the 55-60” mark, so that’s why manufacturers start UHD sizes at that level. We’ll talk more about content sources for 4K in a future post.

Stand and Weight

Putting on the stand was a nervous process as it involved laying that gorgeous glass display down on the carpet, hoisting up the display with a couple of pillows so you can drive the 4 screws in to place. Once the stand is connected, and you carefully stand the TV upright, you’ll feel just how much this baby weighs. Turns out pixels weight a lot and when you add 4096 x 2160 of them into a display it gets bloody heavy.

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PC input

Look at the bottom of the image below, you’ll see a tiny Windows Taskbar. This photo comes from my 2013 MBA connected via HDMI cable to the LG UHDTV. When outputting to just the TV, I was glad to see the MBA was able to power all 4096 x 2160, however there were no zoom options and the charms bar couldn’t be accessed. Windows 8.1 is much happier at 3840×2160 where everything was visible.

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Miracast

New in Windows 8.1 was the introduction of Intel’s Miracast technology. Most of us don’t have Miracast enabled devices or displays, but fortunately the LG UHD does. After trying this, connecting via HDMI felt ridiculous. Wirelessly transmitting your computer display to the TV works phenomenally well.  Thankfully Windows now has a serious competitor to Apple’s AirPlay in OSX Mavericks. I’ve heard a lot from people who complain the start screen tiles are to large and too few when used with large displays. Well haters, displays don’t get too much larger than this and as you can see it works well. There’s a key option you need to set to enable this many tiles on your start screen. When on the start screen, choose Settings from the Charms bar and select Tiles, from there enable ‘Show more tiles’.

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Remote

I’m going to need more time with the remote before forming a final opinion on it, but in concept it works surprisingly well. The pointer, scroll, gesture and voice controls work in combination quite well. Particularly the pointer and scroll wheel, with the scroll of channels being the fastest method I’ve ever used to channel surf.

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Gaming

Switching to the Xbox 360 for a spot of GTAV uncovered one issue. After pouring hours into the game, something felt strange on this TV. I thought to try a different picture mode and it happens LG have one just for gaming. Instantly the responsiveness corrected and felt normal. The problem with this is that switching inputs to the console’s HDMI2, doesn’t automatically switch the picture mode.

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Overall

The first impressions are good, but look out for the full review which will extensively evaluate the LG against competitors and and discuss whether the $5,000 price tag is value for money. So far so good.. I am a little concerned that I may have been spoiled by 4K now and will forever hate my 1080p display.