Review of LG 84LM9600 Ultra HD TV

Reviewed by Grant Clauser



LG 84LM9600 Ultra HD TV


The massive images on this 84-inch look great and it produces the best 3D on TV.

Rating: 9.3 out of 10



Features

Ultra HD TVs have a resolution of at least eight million active pixels - 3,840 horizontally and 2,160 vertically in a 16:9 aspect ratio - which is exactly the resolution of this model.

The 84LM9600 includes all of LG’s top TV features, including the smart TV platform, the gyroscope-like Magic Remote (with voice features), built-in Wi-Fi and a pretty good audio system. It also comes with a standard remote. It wears an attractive, fairly narrow bezel for a TV of this size and is only a hair over 1.5 inches thick. That slim depth is a result of LG going with an edge-lit design rather than a full-array LED design, which other TV makers use on big models. Edge-lit LED TVs are thinner, but they can suffer from some light blooming and uniformity issues that don’t plague full-array models. Another issue with edge-lit TVs is their inability to locally dim the LEDs nearly as well as full-array sets. LG and other companies do employ an edge-based local dimming technology.

I started off digging into the TV’s menu and doing a basic calibration. The TV has a variety of pre-set video modes, including a Cinema mode that came very close to the final value after my own calibration. It also includes a feature called Picture Wizard II, which guides you through a set of images to help you properly set the TV to your preference.

In addition to the basic controls, LG includes advanced features like Dynamic Contrast, Super Resolution, Color Gamut, MPEG Noise Reduction, Black Level, Dimming Level and TruMotion (a 240Hz refresh rate processor). This set also offers full ISF day/night modes. For some reason the advanced picture settings are divided into two menus: Expert Control and Picture Options. This can make finding the feature you want a little difficult.

After finalizing my settings, I ran through several Blu-ray discs of test patterns. On dark fields I could clearly see some light blooming around the edges from the edge-mounted LEDs. This was most noticeable on the lower right and top left corners. When a bright white element was added to the scene, I could see some light leakage affecting an area around the bright element - I was able to improve that by engaging the local dimming (which seemed to work best on Medium setting). I was told that the set had 16 dimming zones.

Light issues are prevalent on every LED LCD TV, especially edge-lit ones, which comprises most of the market. Compared to other edge-lit TVs, the blacks on this set mostly looked pretty good. On real content material, the light bleeding was minimal and not enough to be a distraction unless you tend to be fanatical about that kind of thing. On other test patterns, like color, motion and deinterlacing, the TV performed very well.

I switched to some 1080p Blu-ray discs and watched clips from several popular movies, including The Dark Knight, Avatar and The Art of Flight. While the Ultra HD upconversion didn’t necessarily make the 1080p video look any better (it didn’t make it worse), it eliminated any pixel structure unless you were practically leaning on the TV. It’s quite impressive to sit five feet away from a TV that’s six feet wide and still see a perfectly smooth image.

Next I switched to 3D mode. With an Ultra HD TV, the passive glasses (6 pairs come with the set) cut the resolution in half, but you’re starting with double the resolution because the TV upscales the 1080p signal. When the glasses divide up the left and right image you’re still getting 1080p in each eye, but without the flicker and irritation sometimes encountered when wearing active shutter glasses.

This TV displayed the absolute best 3D I’ve ever seen on a television. I watched segments from a few 3D Blu-ray discs, but IMAX Under the Sea was the most impressive. The image was completely natural and realistic. In one scene a large grouper swims up close to the camera, and I could swear the fish was three inches from my nose. The illusion was that convincing. Other, less dramatic scenes still produced a depth and clarity that was stunning.

On this 84-inch TV, the extra 2,000,000 or so pixels made the picture more realistic, added depth and improved clarity, especially in 3D.

Rating: 10.0 out of 10

Ease of Installation

This TV is 6 ft wide, but will be installed by specialty retailers or custom integrators only. So you don't have to concern your self about the physical installation. But arranging a room around a TV this big raises particular issues, especially seating distance. Using the THX seating distance formula (diagonal screen size divided by .84) gives an ideal seating distance of 8.3 feet. That might seem a bit close, especially if you’re using a 1080p TV, but with Ultra HD resolution, you can actually sit much closer. Most living rooms will put a little more distance between the TV and the sofa, so I set myself up at 10 feet.

The LG Ultra HD comes with a small, but very sturdy-looking table stand that permits it to swivel to either side. A swivel stand is unusual in the massive class of TVs, and this one swivels remarkably well - you’d hardly guess by how easily it moves that the TV weighs 150 pounds.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Reliability

Barring out-of-the-box failures, the reliability of LCD/LED TVs has been excellent. With LG's proven track record you should expect to experience many years of flawless operation from this TV.

But, the size of this TV moves you into unknown territory with no reliability statistics to fall back on.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10