LG 84LM960V 4K Ultra HD TV review

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posted on Sunday, 23rd December 2012 by Steve May

home cinema  4K 

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The 84-inch LG 84LM960V is the first 4K Ultra HD television to enter wide distribution. Unlike the rival Sony KD-84X9005, which has limited availability through Harrods and appears to be in short supply, this LG set is now available from a number of high-street retail outlets, as well via AWE Europe.

4K Ultra HD represents the new high-end of the display business and as such can be considered a considerable opportunity for the custom install industry; it's a rarified commodity that requires specialist handling. Offering four times the resolution of Full HD, it's available only on super-large panels which currently retail for more than £20,000 - perfect for high-net worth clients seeking only the best.

The catch is that there's no 4K commercial content available to watch on it, a situation likely to change sometime over the next 18 months. Of course, those in the entertainment industry may well have access to 4K material that they already need to display. For others, the TV will predominantly be used to view upscaled HD.

LG 84LM960V: Build and features
There's nothing lightweight about the 84LM960V's construction and the material finish is high. The 84-inch panel is edged with an upmarket brushed aluminium bezel. Installers should note that screen tips the scales at 68.2 Kg, so substantial support is required. Alternatively, it ships with a sculptured stand. Connectivity is in line with other well equipped consumer models. There are four HDMIs, three USBs (one of which can be used to record to an external HDD), PC VGA, component and Ethernet. Wi-Fi is integrated.

The set has two tuner options, standard Freeview HD and DVB-S2 satellite. Once online, there's a fair selection of Smart TV services available to users, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, LoveFilm, and YouTube. The TV is also DLNA compliant. File compatibility, as we've seen from other LG models lower down the range, is excellent.

Four passive 3D glasses come in the box, along with a pair of spectacle clip-ons and two Dual Play polarized glasses, intended for simultaneous two-player gaming. This Dual Play feature works surprisingly well; we auditioned it with an Xbox and saw only minor second screen ghosting. Two remotes are supplied. A standard doofer and LG's Magic Remote RF alternative.

LG 84LM960V: Performance
We evaluated the set with a variety of 2D HD content plus native 4K played from a bespoke Ultra HD media server. It impressed with both.

A word on placement: while this model is effectively the same size as four 42-inch TVs, it doesn't necessarily need to be accommodated in a huge room. The ultra-tight pixel density that 4K affords means the panel can be viewed comfortably up close, with no picture break-up or deterioration evident. 

As we've seen with other large, LED edge-lit sets, there are background uniformity errors, but for the most part this isn't likely to prove problematic. The screen comes with a raft of picture presets, including two ISF calibration modes (Expert 1 & 2). Colour vibrancy, black level and dynamics are all impactful, although as we've seen with other LG sets, blacks have been crushed at the expense of shadow detail to emphasise contrast.

With native 4K, the level of fine detail delivered to the screen is extraordinary. It's immediately clear that the viewing experience is significantly better than what you might expect from a large 2K TV. The arrival of a commercial 4K satellite channel on Astra, or 4K resolution content from the PlayStation 4 can't come soon enough! There's currently a smattering of 4K to be found on YouTube, but unsurprisingly it doesn't compare with what we saw from the UHD media server. A variety of graphics cards are available which output 4K, but it should be noted to get a 3840 x 2160 signal into this set, it has be delivered via a single HDMI and not a bank of four, or a brace of SDIs.

The screen does an excellent job upscaling Full HD Blu-ray and HD TV broadcasts. While there's no apparent extra information appearing onscreen, the image, remapped to 3840 x 2160, is beautifully smooth in both texture and edges.

The set also delivers an outstanding 3D performance. While the screen employs Passive FPR 3D, the extra resolution afforded by the panel means there's no clarity loss for Blu-ray 3D. Stereoscopic images are presented in Full HD 3D. Demo material of 2160p30 3D content reveals extraordinary depth and detail. Crosstalk is low when viewed square on; be warned though that when viewed off axis the picture begins to break up.

It's worth noting though that we did experience a micro-second delay when navigating the screen with the remote and playing games. We assume this delay is caused by the additional picture processing required to interpolate Full HD to 4K. Sound and vision remain completely in sync. It's unclear if Sony's 84-incher suffers similar problems as it has not loaned its 4K TV out for extended evaluation.

The screen's audio performance can be considered above average. With two 15w woofers on the rear panel, and a 20w downward firing stereo pair, the set gives a good stereophonic account of itself.

LG 84LM960: Verdict
Any doubt that 4K Ultra HD is a very significant upgrade to home entertainment experience is immediately dispelled by this impressive LG. Even with regular 2K content, the benefit of the improved resolution offered by 4K is clearly apparent on a screen this size, both in terms of 2D and 3D.

LG has produced a seriously impressive piece of kit, and we suspect that for many upscale clients the 4K upgrade will be a no-brainer, regardless of cost. The good news is that 4K doesn't require any infrastructure changes from an installer point of view, as it's compatible with existing high-speed HDMI and HDBaseT distribution. The future begins here - and we think it's looking great.

The LG 84LM960 4K Ultra HD TV is available now.
Retail price: £22,500.
CI Distribution is via AWE Europe. For more on AWE Europe visit our Partner Page.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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Posted by James Middleton on 23rd December 2012, 8:22 PM
Looking forward to seeing 4k on one of our jobs, awesome pictures from the screens I saw at IFA.

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