For a television set that barely has a presence in any room it sits in, LG's Signature G6 range of OLED TVs leaves quite an impression the moment anyone lays eyes on it.
And much of the awe goes to its display, in more ways than one. Even when switched off, the 2.57mm thick display on the 65-inch review set, which is roughly the thickness of three credit cards, is a wonder to behold. Stand directly perpendicular to the screen and it is as if the panel of glass does not exist, simply because it is so thin.
But move just one cm in the direction of the screen to face it, and it is like watching a hidden window suddenly come into focus.
Turn it on and the magic happens again. The glass screen is actually made up of two thin panels. A smaller black one is placed against a larger clear one, and the display appears on the black panel. Most TVs have a sheet of glass covering the video display, but the reverse that happens here is a subtle one, and a strong statement of what LG has achieved.
What makes the Signature G6 impressive is not how thin the screen is, but how it is still able to produce the best mix of colours, from absolute blacks to precise details all around. In the world of TVs, words of war have been traded between OLED and LED technology but the truth is, OLED, with its ability to generate absolute blacks by turning off the lights of each diode powering the screen, is the leader of this race. It is also the more expensive of the two, hence the five-figure amount for this model, but the G6 Signature series covers just about every present and upcoming video format there is.
For those who want 4K playback, this TV delivers. If you happen to be a fan of 3D stereoscope, LG is still using the passive form on this model. When it comes to smart connectivity, LG's use of its webOS operating system is a smooth one, allowing users to toggle between the different HDMI ports linked to set-top boxes, game consoles and media players easily.
Alas, those looking for a curved panel will have to look elsewhere, as LG seems to be focused on flat screens this year.
And if you're a Netflix fan, the integration here is flawless. If you had previously turned off the TV while using the streaming service, turning the TV back on will bring up the Netflix app immediately, allowing you to binge-watch your favourite TV series, without navigating through countless menu options.
There are two remote controllers. The traditional multi-button one has numerical buttons for those keen on some nostalgic free-to-air viewings, while the smaller streamlined one skips the numbers and just offers the channel, volume and navigation buttons.
And holding up this massive 65-inch marvel is a stand that doubles as a soundbar and receptacle for all the components in the TV. The forward facing 4.2 channel, 80-watt soundbar is slim, with a grill panel that more closely resembles the front of a luxury car than a speaker mesh. The bronze coloured base extends to the rear, where all the connectors sit.
This base panel has also been specially designed to be folded downwards, so that the entire TV can be made flat, and hung on the wall like a painting.
A new standard of the 2016 range of smart TVs is HDR, or high dynamic range. Unlike HDR on cameras, HDR on TVs refer to the ability to display a wider gamut of colours, across brighter whites and deeper blacks.
The catch is that HDR content is not widely available and, at the moment, Netflix is probably the only local source for a variety of HDR content. LG's TVs have taken an additional step with HDR, and are adopting the Dolby Vision format.
Tech aficionados know that any new technology has to undergo stringent standards before they are understood and widely adopted, and HDR for TV is still in its teething stage. Dolby Vision HDR standards cover a lot more ground for future implementation and LG has opted to stand by the standards adopted by Dolby for its HDR delivery.
It is also capable of playing the other HDR standard, HDR10. Luckily, Netflix has opted to offer HDR content in both Dolby Vision and HDR10, so selecting the 4K stream within Netflix will automatically reveal the movies that are Dolby Vision ready. The thing is, there is very little perceptible difference when watching Dolby Vision HDR Netflix content on this TV, and the same HDR10 HDR content on the Samsung.
While Dolby Vision is technically superior on paper, it seems that the current crop of HDR content has not hit that ceiling, to matter to audiences.
LG Signature G6 OLED TV
Panel: Ultra High Definition (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), OLED HDR with Dolby Vision, 4K Upscaler
Operating system: webOS 3.0
Audio: 4.2 Channel, 80W
Connectors: HDMI x 4, USB x 3 Composite/Component In x 1 (Shared), Ethernet x 1, Optical x 1
First published in The Business Times