There are big TVs and then there’s the 84LM9600 from LG—one of the only Ultra High Definition TVs (UHD) that’s commercially available in India. The TV is one of the first to support the new 4K UHD resolution – which is four times that of Full HD or 1080p – and hence the name. Since this is LG’s flagship TV, expect everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to features.
Design and build
Calling this 84-inch behemoth ‘big’ is quite an understatement. LG uses its trademark IPS panel for the display, which is backlit using edge LEDs. We expected a full-array LED arrangement given it’s their flagship TV, but despite this, the 84LM9600 still features Local Dimming for deeper blacks and lesser backlight bleeding. The TV is surrounded by a relatively thin bezel, but that doesn’t matter since wherever you look, all you see is screen and more screen. There aren’t any physical or touch sensitive menu buttons on the front apart from the illuminated LG logo. The buttons are instead placed around the back. The stand is designed well and supports the massive TV quite well, with the usual little wobble that’s found on most LED TVs. There’s some amount of flexibility in terms of a swivel function.
Just one word – Overwhelming!
Physical connectivity isn’t quite what we expected. You get the same amount of rear connectors as you would on a 40K LG Smart TV. We certainly expected a lot more in this area. On the sides, we have three USB ports for hard drive connectivity as well as four HDMI connectors. Below that, we have two AV-in connectors for Composite and Component along with RF-in, VGA, PC audio-in, LAN and finally, a Coaxial/Optical combo port for digital audio-out. The TV also comes with Wi-Fi built-in so you don’t need a separate dongle as well as support for Intel’s WiDi technology. WiDi basically lets you clone your laptop screen on your TV wirelessly and with the newer Ivy Bridge CPUs, you can now stream Full HD content as well.
We expected a bit more in terms of physical ports
The 84LM9600 falls under LG’s Cinema 3D line of televisions, so you get the well-known FPR passive 3D technology baked right in. LG bundles along four pairs of 3D glasses as part of the bundle. The TV also features LG's Dual Play technology that allows both the players of a split-screen game to view their version of the game in its entirety, without actually having to split the screen. We’ve covered how this worked in depth in our 55LM8600 review. You also get 2D to 3D conversion, which works decently, but the result is obviously not as good as native stereoscopic 3D.
Plenty of customisable setting
The panel supports a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 or 2160p. The only way you can actually play video at the native resolution is if you connect a PC to it with an HDMI 1.4 port – so any of the newer discrete graphics cards will easily handle this resolution. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other commercial devices yet that support this, so all your game consoles and HD media players still run at 1080p, while the TV does the up scaling.
Plenty of apps to choose from
Like most high-end LG TVs, you get two remotes – one regular and one motion sensor based. The motion sensor remote comes handy when surfing the net or when you’re in the app menu, as selecting items becomes easier. In case you aren’t able to get the hang of it, no worries, LG has provided a jog dial as well as navigational D-pad to make life simpler. The USB ports support hard drives in the NTFS files system and we have DivX HD support too, so all your ripped MKVs and most other video formats playback without a hitch. You can even choose to view these videos in 3D if you’re feeling adventurous.
None of the current home entertainment devices will be able to exploit the true potential of a 4K TV. Thankfully, LG sent across its demo PC loaded with 4K content so that made our job a lot easier. When connected to the onboard GPU of the Intel Core i7-3570K, the PC refused to scale to the native resolution and maxed out at 1080p. We didn’t have any issue with a discrete card though. With the native resolution set and Media Player: HC installed, we were in for a real treat. Videos looked absolutely stunning even when viewed from as close as 5 ft. The IPS panel produces crisp pictures with very vivid and sharp colours. The viewing angles are quite impressive as well with very little to no colour shift. The FPR 3D technology works well with barely any crosstalk visible. Due to the bandwidth restrictions of HDMI 1.4, you can do 1080p 3D just fine, but it won’t be able to playback 4K 3D videos at the native resolution. The audio quality is actually pretty good. The TV features two 10W speakers along with two 15W woofers that manage to deliver decently on the lows and high notes.
Tweaking the 3D settings
The upscaler does a good job of rendering 1080p content at the native resolution. We noticed a very slight jitter when playing back a Blu-ray from our PS3, but video from a PC or USB played back just fine. Animated movies look good when upscaled even from 720p, but most 720p videos look like SD content on this TV due to the huge difference in resolution. The 2D-3D conversion is also not too bad, especially for photos. LG has included a 3D World app that gives you access to plenty of 3D content that can be streamed directly off the Internet. The LG Remote app for Android and iOS complements this TV very well and makes it a lot easier in navigating the variety of apps that come pre-installed. It also lets you turn your phone into a trackpad, which is easier to work with compared to the motion remote.
The SmartShare interface
LG also packs the LM9600 with what it calls LED Plus, which is essentially local dimming LEDs. This brings LED TVs one step closer towards OLED, as individual areas of the TV can be dimmed depending on the scene at hand. While this does give deeper blacks and even lower power consumption, it does cause a hallowing effect if a scene changes too fast from light to dark, which is typical of action movies. Since the LEDs can’t dim or brighten fast enough, there’s a very visible hallow effect. This has always been an issue with local dimming LEDs.
Verdict and Price in India
The LG 84LM9600 will set you back a cool Rs.1,700,000 (that’s Rs. 17 lakh, in case you were wondering), and it’s the price you pay if you want to be on the cutting edge of technology. Even if you happen to have this amount as spare change, we wouldn’t advise investing it on a 4K TV right now for one simple reason – Content. Don’t get us wrong, the LG LM9600 performs brilliantly and does what it advertises. 4K videos look absolutely stunning and the IPS panel manages to deliver rich and vibrant colours, excellent viewing angles and very deep blacks. The 3D is also spot-on and there’s plenty of 3D content to stream off LGs portal. But the main reason you would even consider buying this is for 4K videos, and there’s the problem. A 4K movie will easily be about 100GB or more and right now, the only way of distributing it would be streaming. There’s no player or device other than a PC that can play 4K content, so there's another issue. LG’s 84LM9600 is an excellent technological exercise that showcases what’s possible with the current state of tech. And the fact that it has managed to make it commercially available to the affluent few who can afford it, is truly commendable.
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