At last year's IFA event in Berlin, TV manufacturers (Sony, Toshiba and LG) exposed their first 4K televisions, all of them 84in models. Almost five months later, they are beginning to arrive in stores, so Hardware.Info tested the LG 84LM960V, which happens to be the cheapest 84-inch UHD television on the market.
The recommended price varies greatly depending on where you live. As usual UK customers are fleeced as the set sells for a whopping £22,499 at Currys, which is almost twice its price in mainland Europe where its SRP is €14,999 (or around 12,850). For the US market, the TV has a slightly different name, LG 84LM9600, and carries a SRP of $19,999.
As for all UHD (Ultra High Definition) sets, the 84LM960V has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (that’s around 8.3 million pixels); that's four times the full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). In contrast, 4K resolution, as used by the Digital Cinema Initiatives and often referred to as native resolution, has a horizontal resolution of 4,096 pixels.
So what are the benefits of such a high resolution? It's unlikely that mainstream UHD broadcast will appear in the short term though Eutelsat, a major satellite service provider, has confirmed that it is already UHD ready.
It's expected that Blu-ray will be updated at some point in order to support UHD resolution albeit it will probably require an uptake of dual or quad layer media (50GB or 100GB) as well as new Blu-ray players since the brand new H.265 codec will be used.
As for existing devices, a bog-standard computer with a HDMI 1.4 connector will be UHD compatible which is also the case for most current generation cards. You can watch YouTube videos in 4K resolution but there isn't a huge amount of 4K material yet, however. You can also view photos in UHD resolution and with a powerful gaming rig, you can play video games in 3,840 x 2,160 resolution.
The lack of native UHD material has encouraged TV manufacturers to innovate and developed clever video upscaling technologies scaling full HD content to UHD resolutions. For example, Sony's 84-inch TV has a dedicated hardware engine that compares the current frame with the next one in real time and tries to add extra detail via interpolation.
The demo they ran at IFA proved that upscaling holds a lot of promises when done right as the upscaled 4K image was clearly sharper than the same image on a normal Full HD TV. Sony did indicate that the source material needs to contain enough “high frequency information”, which means that there has to be enough detail present in the footage.
LG hasn’t equipped the 84LM960V with an upscaling feature though. In fact, the TV runs on the same platform as the full HD models from the LM960V series and LG indicates that even the motherboard is identical. The sharpness tests in the HQV 2.0 benchmark showed that upscaled 1080p material doesn't look sharper than on a normal 1080p screen. So LG, at least when it comes to upscaling, is behind Sony and Sharp.
To find out how this 84-inch UHD TV from LG performs and whether it’s worth the money, read the full review on Hardware.Info.