LG 55EM9600

We got a first look at LG's new 55-inch OLED TV at its official unveiling in the lead-up to the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix. Here are our first impressions.


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Technology

Organic LED (OLED) TVs have always been touted as the holy grail among flat-screen panels. They were previously available only in 11- and 15-inch screen sizes until the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier in January, where Samsung and LG both unveiled new 55-inch models.

These displays are highly sought after for two reasons. Like plasma TVs, OLED panels have pixels that are self-illuminating. This eliminates the need for a backlight, like those found in LCD TVs, and allows OLED screens to deliver a very high-contrast display with deep, rich blacks. Without a backlight unit, OLEDs can also be much slimmer and lighter than other similar-sized TVs in the market.

OLED and WOLED

(Credit: LG)

To help differentiate the 55EM9600 from its competitors, LG has developed a new white OLED (WOLED) technology. WOLED introduces a discrete white layer on top of the standard red, green and blue (RGB) primary colours, as well as a colour refiner filter. These enhancements supposedly produce more accurate hues, compared with conventional RGB OLED panels.

We were able to get a short, hands-on session with LG's OLED TV at a convention in Monaco. Here are our early impressions.

Design

The 55EM9600 is, possibly, the thinnest 55-inch TV in the world. It features a new Paper Slim design that combines an attractive 4mm-thin chassis with a 1mm-wide bezel. Just how thin is this panel? Below is a quick comparison with a pen.

Paper thin

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

This LG OLED TV features a minimalist design with a brushed-metal frame and illuminated LG logo, while a thick, translucent layer of plastic sandwiched between the panel and tabletop stand creates a unique floating effect, too.

Floating panel

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

Notice the carbon fibre texture on the TV's back (below)? According to LG, this is the first time that carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) have been used for a TV, as CFRP is more commonly used in the planes and racing cars. CFRP not only strengthens the panel, it also reduces the TV's weight to just 10kg, or about half the weight of an LCD TV of the same size.

Carbon fibre backing

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

Three installation options are available: the typical fixed tabletop stand, a floor-standing version with additional swivel and height-adjustment functions and a wall-mounted option.

Stand

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

The TV tuner, A/V inputs and other auxiliary electronics have been offloaded to an external media hub housed in the base of the tabletop and floor stands. A compact set-top box equivalent is available to cater for wall-mounted sets. The hub also doubles as a media file player and digital video recorder.

Hub

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

Four HDMI inputs, three USB ports, an Ethernet jack and on-board Wi-Fi are available on the panel. Also included is Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi), which allows users to wirelessly stream A/V signals from laptops running select Intel graphics chips to the panel.

Note that the layout of these sockets is not finalised, and production units may differ from the photo below.

Ports

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

The media hub is connected to the panel via a new slim, transparent optical cable. The wire transmits both audio and video signals, and is quite inconspicuous from afar. Note that only one cable will be required when the 55EM9600 hits the market.

Optical cable

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

LG will be bundling its premium 3D glasses with the 55EM9600, although the company has not decided on how many pairs it will be including. This swanky eyewear can easily be passed off as a pair of expensive sunglasses with its stylish design and soft nose pads.

3D glasses

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

Features

In this respect, you can expect the 55EM9600 to offer all of the bells and whistles found in the 55LM9600 LCD TV. Here are some notable examples:

  • Passive 3D technology

  • A dual-core processor for a better smart TV experience

  • A new web browser compatible with the latest version of Flash

  • A new Magic Remote featuring a scroll wheel, as well as voice- and gesture-recognition capabilities

  • A second display function for streaming TV shows, movies and recorded programs from the panel to mobile devices.

Performance

With self-illuminating pixels, the 55EM9600 outputs some of the deepest blacks we've seen on a flat-screen TV. The image below illustrates this point, as the TV is able to display a scene without compromising the shadow details around the church, amongst the bright city lights.

Blacks

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

This LG also boasts a 120 per cent NTSC colour gamut, meaning that 55EM9600 can faithfully reproduce the hues that film and TV directors had in mind. Videophiles can also tap into the unit's extensive colour settings, or use the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) professional calibration app.

Wide colour gamut

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

OLED panels also boast excellent viewing angles, as there's negligible colour shift between viewing the screen from directly in front to almost side-on. Unfortunately, we weren't able to test motion reproduction, though this model has a high 120Hz refresh rate that should minimise judder.

Side-on view

(Credit: Philip Wong/CNET Asia)

Outlook

In many ways, the 55EM9600 is the spiritual successor to the legendary Pioneer Kuro. Until we've had a chance to check out the Samsung OLED panel, this LG easily sets the new benchmark in terms of TV picture quality and slim design. However, a drawback of this screen is its estimated US$10,000 asking price, making it only affordable for well-heeled movie buffs or fashionistas with deep pockets.

This 55-inch OLED TV will go on sale in the second half of this year; the exact timing of Australian availability has yet to be announced.

Via CNET Asia



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smarttrams posted a comment   
Australia

When I saw LG unveiled its OLED TV I had the same feeling as when LCD and Plasmas came out. OLED TV is the next-gen TV, it just needs some time to walk inside everone's living room.

 

kentla posted a comment   
Australia

I can't believe they're able to make it that thin. It's as thin as a pencil! With that price and size, I would definitely worship it in our livingroom.

 

EspenV posted a comment   

this looks like a great tv. I bet watching a 3D movie or playing a game in 3D would be amazing. I should start saving up for it !

 

jmds posted a comment   
Australia

Hopefully this so called LG smart LG 55EM9600 TV has a proper Flash Player 10 or 11 and upgradable as the one we bought last December LG model 47LW6500 is already obsolete with a non working Flash Player 8.Most content on the internet need at least Flash Player 10.

 

AlexV1 posted a comment   
Australia

Sony should have stuck with the tech , but so many of these CEO's get caught up with the "cost cutting" bug thinking it will cure all their sorrows.
Nice looking TV nonetheless, LG's been making some big strides.




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User Reviews / Comments  LG 55EM9600

  • smarttrams

    smarttrams

    "When I saw LG unveiled its OLED TV I had the same feeling as when LCD and Plasmas came out. OLED TV is the next-gen TV, it just needs some time to walk inside everone's living room."

  • kentla

    kentla

    "I can't believe they're able to make it that thin. It's as thin as a pencil! With that price and size, I would definitely worship it in our livingroom."

  • EspenV

    EspenV

    "this looks like a great tv. I bet watching a 3D movie or playing a game in 3D would be amazing. I should start saving up for it !"

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