LG UH6500Review

49UH6500, 43UH6500

4K UHD TRUMOTION 120HZ LED TV, HDR playback

by , Reviewer

The UF6500 is one of the better priced 4K LED TVs with HDR capability in the market this year. This model forgoes some of the fanciest features such as Harmon Kardon speaks and the cinema screen (almost frameless) design. Instead it offers a better price for a 4K TV but still has some of the necessary upgrades like a TruMotion 240Hz refresh rate and the ultra cool and easy to use Magic Remote. If you remember the LED 7600 series, add the 4K resolution and you basically have this model. The 7600 has a very nice clear coat front panel for increased depth as well. A few key upgrades from previous 4Ks from LG include 3 HDMI 2.0 inputs, IPS panels for increased brightness and better side angle viewing, and Ultra Clarity for even better motion blur reduction. As is typical of LG, the built-in audio quality is just about as good as it gets without a home theater system. HD to 4K upscaling is another high point since native 4K content is not widespread yet.

Detail of LG-UH6500Bright colors, great clarity in the details, and strong contrast are see here really show off the highlights of the UH650000 and its IPS panel

Strengths

  • IPS panel brings many benefits to the overall picture quality including better side angle viewing
  • Highly adjustable picture settings make it possible to acquire the best calibration
  • Light-flow through and dark shadow detail are strong thanks to the backlighting
  • WebOS 3.0 driven smart TV features really streamline LG's Smart TV platform
  • Magic remote is as good as always and includes a convenient Input button

Weaknesses

  • The lack of a subwoofer makes a big difference in built-in sound quality
  • Motion blur is very noticeable when in the gaming picture setting
  • Most of the smart TV free apps and games aren't worth much attention
  • While the IPS panel helps with side angle viewing, it hurts black saturation
  • Does not have a high end local dimming package
  • Gaming input lag

Picture Quality Rating: 83/100

With OLED TVs now in the market we have to lower the picture rating on almost all LED edge lit LCD TVs, the UH6500's not withstanding. Color reproduction is very accurate benefiting from a 10 point white balance controls and accurate calibration. Colors are bright without looking unnatural consistent with past LG LED backlit models. It also sports a 120Hz refresh rate that helps with motion blur and judder typically seen on LED TVs. Sports programming and fast on-screen action end up looking much smoother on a native 120Hz screen.

Tru 4K Upscaler

There is no more important component of a 4K UHD TV than the video engine – particularly the ability to upscale/upconvert resolution to the native resolution of the panel. While LG's offerings in general are not as strong as the best Sony models in this regard, they do offer considerably more value. The lack of 4K content is going to continue well into the future, so stellar upconverting of all manner of HD resolutions - 720p, 1080p, 480p is essential. LG's UH6500 series has improved on a good performance. The new 4K upscaler is even better. There are some processing artifact with lower 480p and 720p signals. The higher up the HD chain you go, the better the clarity and detail to show off the native 4K resolution. The Triple XD Video engine is LG's processing engine from last year, so you save some money there, but it's not their best.

Side Viewing Angles (IPS Panel)

“"The IPS panel produces better side angle viewing and colors pop"”

The IPS (in-plane-switching) panel makes big improvements to the side angle, off center viewing quality. We started to see contrast and color saturation drop off at around the 20 degree off-center. However, it does not decrease nearly as markedly as a non-IPS panel. Since side angle viewing is one of the biggest knocks against LED TVs, I prefer the IPS panel even though it does not produce as good of black saturation from front and center. That's the tradeoff for better side angle viewing quality, and so it depends upon your room configuration as to whether the IPS panel is better or worse for you. “Blooming” or “clouding” can occur over time. This is when lighter splotchy areas invade what should be very dark or black content. It happens on most LED backlit LCD displays to some degree. Keeping the backlight at moderate levels can help alleviate it. Lastly, I like the colors from the IPS panel a lot. It's a good screen for the money.

Example of the LG UH6500 superb picture depth
Colors are looking a bit oversaturated, but can be reigned in with some tweaks

TruMotion Settings

The panel is 60Hz but the Trumotion feature bumps in a higher Hz rate. A true 120Hz panel reduces has a smoother picture. Our recommendation is to turn the TruMotion settings feature off with all but sports programming. It adds that “Telenovela” fake look to the picture by removing too much of the intended background blur. It does however decrease judder as intended. It's especially detracting from BluRay movies.

Color Prime Pro/ Color Rendition

Colors do to render more depth and slightly better saturation in these new 4K models. LG contends this is due to their new Color Prime technology-which uses phosphor (colored) based LED lighting. Out of the box colors are over-saturated but after calibrating the picture settings or using the cinema (user) setting with contrast at around 80% you get natural, crisp colors. The TV is HDR Pro certified which means that it will display new HDR content, although you would have to spend more to get one of the top models to be able to enjoy a wider color gamut and brighter picture from HDR. It can display HDR content, but not with all the benefits.

HDR Pro Included

HDR Pro is LG's designation for TVs in their lineup that will accept and play HDR content but do not have as high of specs as the Super Ultra HD TVs in terms of how wide the color gamut is and how they show HDR content. I would call it HDR compatible. Most HDR content will only be able to be shown on an HDR compatible or enabled TV similar to 3D content in that regard. HDR Pro will not be compatible with Dolby Vizio for example which combines HDR with wide color gamut technology.

What is HDR?

The big focus TV feature for 2016/2017 is HDR (High Dynamic Range). HDR extends the range that a pixel in an LCD TV can show. This applies to the brightness and luminosity of images. Contrast is enhanced by increased brightness rather than deeper blacks. Rather than just increase the brightness of the picture overall though, the real purpose of HDR is to increase contrast in various image areas of the picture. It improves the presentation in the brighter parts of the picture and this creates more contrast with surrounding darker parts of the picture. Since picture contrast is one of the primary features in improving perceived depth, HDR is considered a major picture quality improvement even though it may not increase the overall contrast of the panel a lot. Bright colors receive enhanced purity. A good HDR image will show better shadow detail, and the scenes that you will notice the most are those with light illuminating images, such as a room that has sunlight coming in through a window and illuminating parts of the room. HDR content is and will be in short supply for a while.

The studios, distributors (Netflix, Amazon) and TV manufacturer must all be on the same page for you to see HDR content. Some Amazon Original series are currently offered. Vudu currently offers 30+ Dolby Vision titles. Dolby Vision is HDR plus wide color gamut.

Features Rating: 85/100

WebOS 3.0 Smart TV Features

After taking flack from us and others two years ago, LG has put effort into speeding Smart TV function with the first WebOS and now WebOS 3.0. Boot up times are fast, and this is either the best or one of the best Smart TV systems out there now in terms of speed, and user interface. The interface layout is straightforward and more intuitive and makes sorting your favorite programs very easy with the point and click operation of the new LG Magic Remote (we love the Magic Remote). The ability of the user to order and place the various Apps that matter most is a considerable strength over competing systems. Overall, WebOS provides a painless, and enjoyable experience. The one knock is that Samsung's Tizen, Android and Roku do offer more Apps selection, although LG will have nearly all of the major Apps that are considered important.

Example of WebOS 3.0
WebOS 3.0 makes it very easy to choose your apps without leaving what you are currently watching

Smart TV options are Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, HSN, Showtime, Drama Fever, iHeart Radio, and newly DirecTV, and GoPro. The GoPro Channel App is only available to LG webOS and allows LG TV owners to stream GoPro videos on-demand.

The one I like for you cable-cutters out there is Sling TV, which for a monthly fee ($20) gets the all important ESPN and ESPN 2 taken care of. It also gives you the addictive and entertaining Food Network. IheartRadio is an digital audio service which allows streaming of live radio stations.

Magic Remote

Example of the Magic Remote
This is the updated look for the Magic Remote accessory. It's got all of the necessary buttons (even an Input button)
“The Magic Remote takes a day or two to get used to but then is fun to use and speeds browsing”

Magic Remote Control Initial Set up very easy. Shake the remote to get the cursor working, the arrow pops up immediately if you have a hot signal going into the TV. We have always liked the point and click operation of the Magic remote and still do. It speeds section selection and browsing, but can take a couple days to get used to. This year the new magic remote control has even better voice recognition technology. It works very well to find the programming you are looking for by speaking into the mic on the remote control. A list of potential fits and the various channels appear down the right hand side on-screen. And it finally has an input selection button. This has been a fault that we have noted for the past few years.

Gaming Performance

This is not one of the better gaming TVs on the market at around 55ms input lag. It's not bad but there are better gaming models from Samsung and Vizio.

Speaker Performance

Sound quality from the UH6500 is not as good as the LGs with woofers built in. Clear Voice II and Virtual Surround Plus options here add interesting choices, but our choice is the Cinema setting with Clear Voice II setting enabled with the level set at 3. The Standard setting is our second favorite with Clear voice II enabled. It is better than the other manufacturers (in mid-priced TVs) we've tested as well by a long shot. The speaker in the bottom back of the TV adds most of the overall depth to the TV.

Design and Appearance

Both the UH6500 and UH6550 have the unattractive feet based stand that I dont care much for. Other than that, the styling and appearance is very nice with a nearly frame-less design of about a half inch with brushed dark silver bottom and top frame. Depth is between 2.4” and 3” depending on the size model.

Value Rating: 90/100

43UH6500 - $597

49UH6500 - $697

The UH6500 series is priced very competitively. It's a nice “bridge” model for those wanting to future-proof for 4K HDR content arrival but not concerned with paying up. It compares favorably in value terms with other offerings in the 4K market from Samsung, Sony and Vizio.

Overall Rating: 85/100

Quick Specs

  • Resolution 3840 x 2160
  • HDR compatible - yes
  • Dual Core Processor
  • Tru 4K Engine
  • Tru 4K Upscaler
  • Just Scan (1:1 Pixel Matching) 0% Overscan (HDMI/Component/RF)
  • 9 Picture Modes
  • 20 Watt Audio Output
  • 3 HDMI 2.0
  • 2 USB
  • 4K UHD File Playback
  • No 3D
  • Limited Local Dimming


Robert Wiley Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert

 



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