Something has happened. Commodity that shouldn’t have. Commodity that, until this moment, I anticipation to be impossible. And yet, commodity has happened. Aback in 2011, I wrote an commodity for HomeTheaterReview.com entitled, “Calibrating Your HDTV is a Problem You Shouldn’t Have,” in which I railed adjoin the charge for arrangement accustomed all the alleged advancements in affectation technology up and to that point. In July of the afterward year I wrote a mea culpa, an commodity advantaged “Rethinking The Importance of Video Calibration,” whereby I absolutely rebuked all of my above-mentioned assertions about arrangement acknowledgment in allotment to two Home Theater Review readers who helped me to see the light, so to speak. In that additional article, I outline why arrangement is important–both technically and artistically speaking–and why it’s (arguably) absurd for a affectation to be absolutely calibrated at the branch level. Fast advanced to today, six years later, and I feel I’m about to address what will be apparent as the third chapter in my arrangement odyssey.
Enter LG’s 9000 Alternation LED backlit LCD SmartTV, the 55SK9000PUA.
I will be the aboriginal to accept that I’ve had a bit of love/hate accord with LG articles in the past. I’ve consistently anticipation their computer articles were topnotch, but some of their beforehand TV outings were a alloyed bag. One affair I’ve consistently accepted about LG, however, was their amount proposition. LG has consistently arranged a lot of appearance into their products, about at a lower amount credibility than abundant of the competition. The SK9000 looks to be a assiduity of that tradition, aggressive with the brand of Sony and Samsung, but at two-thirds or alike a third the cost. The SK9000 comes in two sizes: 55-inches (reviewed here) and 65 inches diagonal. The 55-inch archetypal carries an MSRP of $1,499 but streets afterpiece $1,099, admitting the 65-inch archetypal about sells for about $1,699, bottomward from a $2,199 MSRP. That puts the SK9000 in the crosshairs of the Sony X900F Alternation of LED LCD TVs and Samsung’s Q6FN Alternation of Quantum Dot LED LCD TVs. The X900F is Sony’s non-OLED flagship, admitting the Samsung Q6FN is several rungs bottomward from flagship status, and both backpack amount tags agnate to the LG, if not a little more. Added on this adorable three-way later.
The SK9000 is a glossy allotment of kit–y, even. Borrowing beheld cues from both Samsung and Sony, the LG has a actual attenuated atramentous bezel lining the central bend of an alike narrower charcoal bezel. For whatever reason, this makes the LG arise beneath beefy than both the above Sony and Samsung products. In truth, the SK9000, from a ambit of about three or added feet, looks like a attenuate OLED. It’s not, of course, but for whatever the acumen the display’s automated architecture gives it a added graceful attending that I accept is activity to acquisition favor with a lot of consumers. The SK9000 in its 55-inch agreement measures some 57 inches above by about 33 inches alpine and two-and-a-half inches deep. It tips the scales at aloof beneath 60 pounds.
Around back, the SK9000 sports a rather amiable and bland aphotic blah artificial accomplishment with baby cutouts for the display’s I/O panel. Its adeptness bond is a rather a smallish, about laptop-like receptacle, which keeps aggregate (and cable management) to a minimum. As for inputs and outputs, it has the accepted complement: four HDMI HDCP 2.2 inputs (side mounted), three USB 2.0 inputs (two side, one rear), one blended AV jack (rear), one optical audio out (rear), one RF antenna ascribe (rear), an Ethernet anchorage (rear), and an RS232C mini jack (rear). The SK9000 has abutment for ARC, but alone on HDMI 2. Non-physical affiliation options accommodate WiFi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.2.
Under the hood, the SK9000 boasts an LCD console with a congenital resolution of 3,840 pixels above by 2,160 pixels vertically, acceptable for 4K/Ultra HD classification. This additionally agency any arresting beatific to the LG not in Ultra HD gets upscaled to the display’s congenital resolution. It sports LED backlighting with abounding arrangement bounded dimming. LG claims a brace amount of 120Hz, admitting they acclaim the SK9000’s TruMotion amount as actuality 240Hz. The TV is an LG Nano Cell Affectation (LG’s acknowledgment to Samsung’s Quantum Dot or Sony’s Triluminos), and it is able of breeding today’s broadcast blush gamuts above bald Rec.709. It has HDR abutment in the anatomy of Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR by Technicolor, HDR10, and HLG (hybrid log gamma).
The complete affectation and all its appearance are controlled via LG’s latest α7 processor utilizing webOS. The SK9000 has Google Assistant congenital and can collaborate with either Google Home or Amazon Alexa devices–both of which are awash separately.
Which brings me to the remote. LG has been utilizing action ascendancy in its remotes for years, and the SK9000 doesn’t breach with tradition. The alien feels acceptable in hand, appearance a admixture of altered concrete ons in that some are acceptable antic ones and zeros admitting others are shapelier and a little added difficult to discern. The directional pad in the centermost of the alien appearance a annal wheel, which is weird, because you use it in affiliation with the remote’s pointer-style action control. Yes, you accept to beachcomber the alien about like Harry Potter casting a spell to get the affectation to do anything. At aboriginal it feels absolutely antic and unnecessary, but afterwards a day or two of active with it, it absolutely adeptness be genius. No, I booty that back: it’s brainless and unnecessary. Or is it genius? I candidly don’t apperceive how to absolutely feel about the alien and the way in which it is implemented. Assertive canicule I abhor it, but others I don’t. To anniversary their own. The alien has aught backlighting and does arise to affection ons that for the best allotment don’t do anything, alfresco of assertive Apps, so there is that.
Good news, though: the absolutely chargeless LG TV Additional App for iOS and Android is aloof awesome, so if you don’t appetite to use the remote, your smartphone can sub in and accord you abounding ascendancy over the SK9000 as able-bodied additional a few added accretion and whistles. Also, you can additionally get the affectation to ball via your complete Google Home or Amazon Alexa products, so I assumption if you’re on the fence about the included remote, there are workarounds.
The HookupI took commitment of the SK9000 and promptly set it up in my home office, area I had hoped it would serve as a applicant adviser for a few in-home adapt sessions. Of course, this plan was predicated aloft the display’s adeptness to be calibrated, but seeing as how best displays these canicule can be, I threw attention to the wind and put it in my office. I set the SK9000 on a alternation of low cabinets application its included table stand, a two-piece architecture that’s a little large, width-wise, admitting its arcing architecture does dress it up a bit.
Once the TV was set up, I pulled out my crumbling Toshiba laptop PC to activate the action of calibration. Application my C6 ablaze beat and CalMan software, I went advanced and abstinent the assorted account profiles out of the box in hopes of award the one that was aing to appropriate initially that I could again tweak. Remember the antecedent commodity I mentioned, about how it seemed absurd for a affectation to arise from the branch calibrated? Well, aloft selecting the SK9000’s Technicolor Expert account profile, my accomplished apple angry on its head.
Straight out of the box, all of the added account profiles–such as Standard, Dynamic, and alike Cinema–were as you would expect: wrong. Sure, some were added adorable than others, but it didn’t booty adult arrangement accessories to be able to acquaint that none of the above profiles looked right.
Upon selecting the Technicolor Expert setting, things looked better, but because the antecedent profiles were so off, it didn’t initially arise actual or perfect. I began to do antecedent abstracts of the Technicolor Expert setting, and aural account it became bright that not alone was the contour the best authentic out of the box, it was technically calibrated. With three baby caveats in the grayscale–the 20 and 30 percent PLUGE patterns–everything abroad about the Technicolor Expert ambience accepted authentic and aural the allowance of absurdity best calibrators like to see. What was so off about the PLUGE patterns mentioned a moment ago? Their allowance of absurdity was hardly college than what I like to see, anniversary accustomed a Delta E advancing four, admitting I (and added calibrators) try and accumulate things beneath three. Accuracy is, a Delta E of 4 or 5 isn’t the end of the world, abnormally because this is the TV’s out-of-the-box achievement we’re talking about.
Colors were atom on, save for a accessory undersaturation of dejected with a Delta E of aloof over three. Accuracy was abstinent at 295 Nits, which may not complete like a lot compared to some displays, but accumulate in apperception this was the accuracy for the Technicolor Expert profile. Added profiles, such as Standard and whatnot, agitated with them far college accuracy readings. What I additionally begin hasty about the Technicolor Expert ambience was its apprehension of complete black, which abstinent at beard over bisected a Nit. If OLED can cede complete black, i.e. aught Nits, again almost over bisected a Nit from an LED LCD like the SK9000 is boss impressive.
All-in-all, while I was alone able to analysis one SK9000 and not a ample sample of accidental displays from the factory, it would arise that LG has done what I ahead anticipation to be impossible–they’ve produced a affectation that is calibrated from the factory. Sure, I still had to about-face off a few activity extenuative appearance and motion departure options, but for all intents and purposes, if you buy the SK9000, you can pop it into its Technicolor Expert account contour and be acceptable to go.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion…
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