The TV world is inundated with acronyms: LCD, LED, 4K, UHD, SUHD, HDR, DTS, EPG… you get the picture (sorry).
But the one LG really wants you to know about is OLED. Why? Because it’s a panel technology the Korean TV giant pioneered, and its thin, light, self-illuminating, high-contrast powers arguably have the potential to change TV forever.
The 65in 65EF950V is one such OLED TV, and it ticks off a couple more of those acronyms by being 4K and HDR-ready too. All of which means it's about as spectacular and future-proof as a TV can be.
If Carlsberg did tellies, indeed…
FLAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT
Unlike the other 4K OLEDs we've seen, it's not curved - instead, it's actually the world's first flat 4K OLED TV, along with its 55in sibling. That's fine with us though. Curved TVs aren’t to everyone’s liking, not least for their hit-and-miss viewing angles, and you won't have to play tic-tac-toe with your mates for centre spot on the sofa here.
No, it doesn't quite have the X-factor of the 2.57mm-thick LG Signature 65OLEDG6 that had people salivating at CES, and neither can it rival the LG panel that hangs over South Korea’s Incheon airport like a circus tent roof and really shows off OLED’s contortionist skills.
Then again, the LG Signature set is likely to cost an arm and a leg and the Incheon OLED is the world's biggest and therefore not a practical option for your two-bedroom semi. This set, meanwhile, now costs a 'mere' £3700 - down from its original £5000 asking price and just about within reach of mere mortals.
Now the hoo-ha over 4K has died down a little, it’s HDR that’s being thrust into the limelight. If you're not up on HDR then check out our guide here, but the basics are that it gives your screen far higher dynamic range than a standard set. In layman's terms, it makes the darks darker, the lights lighter and the whole caboodle better as a result.
The technology will be baked into the forthcoming Ultra HD players and discs that are coming to a living room near you soon, and the good news is that all three of the LG’s HDMI 2.0 inputs will support those players.
But until then, Amazon Instant Video is bringing you the HDR bacon, through its own shows such as Mozart In The Jungle, Bosch and Transparent. You'll find an Amazon Instant Video app built-in to the 65EF950V, alongside the usual likes of Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Demand5, and if you're anything like us you'll be sticking it on straight away to see whether all the HDR fuss is justified.
Well trust us - it is.
Two minutes into the (4K HDR) Mozart In The Jungle pilot, as the orchestra takes to the stage, we’re already counting five tones of black in suits. Five. Light glistens off instruments, and the whole picture looks wonderfully radiant and lifelike. It’s like walking into an art gallery and needing a moment to take in the floor-to-ceiling mural on the wall: pretty overwhelming.
You'll need to do a bit of fine-tuning to get the LG to its level best - we toned down brightness and turned on ‘smooth’ processing - but needless to say it’s worth it. You’ll need a sharp pencil to follow the pristine lines watching 4K stuff.
Colours are confident, straddling richness and realism, and while whites leap off the screen, blacks are so dark you’ll find yourself sitting through end credits for much longer than normal.
Although a Netflix stream of Scream is a noticeable downgrade, it remains a perfectly good watch… providing you don’t mind masked deranged killers and buckets of the red stuff. DVD collections shouldn’t be resigned to the bin either, although standard definition channels should be avoided like the plague: a softer picture may be kinder to Roy Walker’s aging face in his latter Catchphrase days, but it’s hardly why you shelled out all that cash on a 4K set.
Of course, you’ll want to treat the ears as much as the eyes, so while the LG sounds comfortably weighty and solid (loud too), your next organ sale should be spent getting yourself a good surround system. Come on, you're spending £3700 - another few hundred won't make any difference.
LG's slick UI makes the EF950V a joy to use
It's all very well a TV looking great, but at this price we also expect it to be Brylcreem-slick and packed with smarts. Well, you needn't worry here.
LG’s WebOS is well and truly the darling of TV software with its squeaky clean and colourful design, and the EF950V packs the latest 2.0 version: quicker and slicker than ever before. It won’t try your patience, which is more than we can say for the rival Android OS that runs the show on Sony and Philips sets.
Apps load in a heartbeat, and more often than not menus sit on top of what you’re watching for minimal disruption. Can't decide what to watch after Corrie? WebOS is first to offer a helping hand, offering recommendations based on viewing history – smart, eh?
What’s down to you is which control to use: the intuitive (free) LG TV Remote app for iOS and Android; the traditionally unfussy remote; and, our favourite, the magic remote, which complements the ‘smart’ experience a treat. A track wheel makes browsing web pages and scrolling menus a breeze, and there’s navigation buttons for when your arm gets tired from using the pointer function.
The only real minus point is that its app line-up isn't 100% complete, with ITV Player and All4 sadly AWOL. As a result, competing platforms with all-inclusive YouView onboard technically have the upper-hand on the content front, but we doubt it will be much of a problem in reality: chances are your Sky box, games console or Blu-ray player stocks them instead.
IT'S THE LITTLE TOUCHES...
If you need further persuading that the 65EF950V is a class act, take a look round the back.
Now, making the back of a TV look nice may be like lining the inside of a jacket with colourful silk, but LG has done it anyway. And hats off to it. While we’re hard-stretched to imagine anyone forever plugging in and unplugging HDMI cables just to admire the shiny smooth panel on the read, it goes to show how much care LG has taken to make the 65EF950V a beauty to behold.
Because that’s just what it is, what with the 5mm-thick panel, metal framing and almost-AWOL bezel. The cherry on the cake? The clear acrylic panel that joins the metal stand to the frame to give the TV a gorgeous floating effect.
LG 65EF950V verdict
Look at that lovely, er, edge
OLED, 4K and HDR make up TV's holy trinity right now, and watching the 65EF950V is aptly a heavenly experience.
The three combine here to serve up a picture that is wonderfully sharp, beautifully colourful and packed with contrast. It excels with 4K HDR content from Amazon Prime Instant Video and is expertly placed to make the most of Ultra HD discs when they arrive soon. It's also a joy to use and to look at - come on, how many TVs have that level of attention shown to their rear panels?
No, we can't afford one, but we really, really wish we could. For those of you who do have the cash, it's the very best TV you can buy.