LG OLED55E6 4K HDR OLED TV Review

The sweet spot within LG’s 2016 OLED television lineup is undoubtedly the E6 series: it’s less expensive than the flagship “Signature” G6 series, yet offers a flat-panel design and 3D capability over the step-down C6 and B6 ranges for only £500 extra (at least in the UK). Two screen sizes are available, namely the 55-inch LG OLED55E6V (which we’re reviewing today) and the 65-inch OLED65E6V.

LG 55E6 OLED TV

Like other 2016 OLEDs from the South Korean manufacturer, the LG E6 is as well-specced as 4K TVs come this year, boasting Ultra HD Premium certification and therefore the necessary criteria of 3840×2160 UHD (ultra high-definition) resolution, 10-bit panel, DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage above 90%, HDR (high dynamic range) support, and a peak brightness/ black level of at least 540/ 0.0005 nits.

However, what separates LG’s 2016 OLED televisions from other companies’ models in the UK is Dolby Vision HDR compatibility – the Korean brand is the only one in European territories to support the HDR standard which uses dynamic metadata to optimise each scene for minimal distortion and maximum image fidelity. Whilst TVs that are not Dolby Vision-enabled can still enjoy HDR content mastered using the open HDR10 standard, and it’s too early to tell which version is superior, compatibility with another format is always a bonus, since Dolby Vision support is embedded in the SoC (system on chip) and cannot be added via a firmware update.

Design

There’s no other way to put this: aesthetically the LG OLED55E6 looks absolutely gorgeous even by the high standards set by Samsung, Sony and of course LG themselves in recent years. The panel itself and the black bezel are both ultra-thin, permitted by OLED’s lack of need for a backlight. The screen is laid on on a transparent glass backplane whose borders extend slightly beyond the outer edges of the bezel on all sides, hence LG’s “Picture-on-Glass” description.

Picture on Glass

The 55E6′s anti-reflective filter rejects ambient light effectively; in fact the TV’s diamond-patterned rear is more reflective than the front screen. A non-detachable soundbar with a ridged appearance lies beneath the OLED screen, pumping out more gratifying bass, volume and clarity than most inbuilt TV speakers.

Despite the screen-wide soundbar, the presence of a central brushed metallic silver stand means the 55E6V can be placed on a narrower AV rack (yes we’ve tried). Build quality has a premium feel – the entire setup just oozes class.

Connections

Using a Murideo Fresco SIX-G tester, we verified all four HDMI inputs on the LG OLED55E6 passed 3840×2160@60Hz resolution with HDCP 2.2 enabled.

Connections

Calibration

We calibrated our LG OLED55E6V review unit using a profiled Klein K10-A meter, a Murideo Six-G 4K HDR signal generator, and SpectraCal’s CalMAN Ultimate software. LG has introduced a number of improvements to help with the calibration process, though there’s been an unwanted change too:

  • The user menu is dark-shaded instead of white, and the adjustment submenu occupies a small area at the bottom left of the screen, allowing for stable readings without being affected by ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter);
  • There’s now a [Copy to all inputs] function in the top-level picture menu (previously it was only available for [White Balance]) which also copied all the settings to the USB ports and streaming apps (it didn’t before). However, the [Colour Management] settings still have to be entered manually for each input;
  • A new [Adjust luminance] option can now be found in the 20-point [White Balance] system, effectively providing 20p gamma adjustments without having to increase or decrease RGB in equal measure;
  • The 20p WB controls are no longer locked to specific [Contrast] and [Brightness] values;
  • Navigating between different picture-affecting controls is snappier (as with the rest of WebOS 3.0); and
  • [Previous] and [Next] buttons have been added to the adjustment submenu presumably to allow for menu item cycling without having to back up one level, but we don’t like it. For example, when calibrating greyscale at any video stimulus, moving from [Blue] to [Red] will require pressing [Down], [Left], [Click], [Click] and [Up]; whereas on 2015 models we only needed to press [Down], [Left], [Left] and [Up]. The difference may not sound like much, but because we’re calibrating 20 separate intervals back and forth, not to mention having to peel our eyes away from our laptop graphs to look at the TV screen owing to the lack of intuitiveness, hopefully you’ll understand our frustration.

We performed multiple calibration runs to test how the LG 55E6 responded to various adjustments of its onboard controls. As was the case with the LG G6 we reviewed earlier this month, while [Adjust luminance] could be used to obtain a flat 2.4 gamma, we discovered that excessive adjustments in pursuit of a perfect-looking chart would actually introduce image-degrading posterization artefacts.

For the same reason, tweaking the colour management system (CMS) also had to be approached with care. Fortunately, after aligning greyscale to D65 using the two- and twenty-point [White Balance] controls, colours fell into place quite nicely (LG’s engineers have clearly done some work in this area), after which only a few clicks here and there in the [Colour Management] submenu was required to achieve wonderfully accurate colours. In fact, out of 140 hues measured in the Colour Checker SG chart, only one slightly exceeded the commonly accepted perceptible threshold of delta error (dE) 3, which is a remarkable turnaround given the colour tracking issues we’ve seen on previous LG OLEDs.

Note: To minimise the risk of image retention and screenburn, like the previous generations of LG OLED televisions, the E6 will automatically dim its light output in a gradual manner after static elements (channel logos, test patterns, etc.) have been present on screen for more than one minute 105 seconds. The auto-dimming happens so slowly that most viewers probably won’t notice it until they need to perform user menu action, in which case the screen will brighten up suddenly as the auto-dimming is halted.

To prevent this behaviour from disrupting calibration runs, a very fast meter (e.g. the Klein K10-A that we use) or a software which inserts dimming-defeating slides between patterns is required. Whilst not recommended, there’s also a proven method to disable the auto-dimming permanently.

Greyscale

Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
Pre-calibration Delta errors
Pre-calibration [ISF Expert] RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)
Post-calibration RGB Tracking
Post-calibration Delta errors
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [ISF Expert] mode

Gamma

Pre-calibrated Gamma tracking in [Professional] mode Post-calibrated Gamma tracking in [Professional] mode
Pre-calibration gamma tracking (2.45) Post-calibration gamma tracking (2.37)

Colour

Post-calibration Colour saturation tracking in [Professional] mode
Post-cal colour saturation tracking against Rec.709 standard
Post-calibration colour errors in [Professional] mode
Post-calibration colour errors (<3 not appreciable to the eye)
Post-calibration colour checker
Post-calibration Colour Checker SG test
Post-calibration colour checker errors
Post-calibration Colour Checker SG errors (<3 not appreciable to the eye)

Benchmark Test Results

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity No more vignetting; one very faint thin vertical band
Overscanning on HDMI 0% with [Just Scan] engaged
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0 cd/m2
Calibrated black level (4×4 ANSI) 0 cd/m2
Black level retention Intermittent raised blacks
Primary chromaticity Very good
Scaling Very good for HD
Video mode deinterlacing Effective jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Passed 3:2 & 2:2 cadence tests in SD & HD
Viewing angle (cone) 166°
Motion resolution 650 with [TruMotion] engaged; 300 otherwise
Digital noise reduction Optional; effective when engaged
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
Luma/Chroma bandwidth (2D Blu-ray) Full Luma; Chroma horizontally blurred
1080p/24 capability No judder in 2D or 3D
2160p/24 capability No judder
Measured panel refresh rate 120Hz
Measured peak brightness 596 cd/m2
Measured DCI-P3 coverage 96%
Leo Bodnar input lag tester 34ms in [Game] mode
Full 4:4:4 reproduction (PC) Yes for both 1920×1080 and 3840×2160@60Hz

Power Consumption

Default [Eco] mode 116 watts
Calibrated [ISF Expert] mode 85 watts
[HDR Standard] mode 129 watts
Standby <1 watt

Picture Quality

Black

Because of its self-illuminating display characteristic, OLED technology stands peerless when it comes to rendition of absolute blacks. Indeed, our Klein K10-A meter returned a reading of 0 cd/m2 from both a full-field video black and a 4×4 ANSI chequerboard pattern, confirming that the LG 55E6V can switch off on a per-pixel basis and emit no light if required.

WRGB OLED subpixel
Macro photo confirming WRGB OLED subpixel layout from LG Display

Interestingly though, the 55in E6 would sometimes present areas of lightness on full-screen black (for example during fade in/ out to black), even though [Brightness] had been set correctly on a modified PLUGE pattern such that reference black was 16. We’ve witnessed this floating black phenomenon on last year’s EF950V and EG920V too, which can only be eradicated by lowering [Brightness] and thus crushing some shadow detail. In practice, we didn’t find the floating blacks bothersome, as it would appear only rarely in cuts to black, and even then the OLED55E6′s superb black depth meant that the lit areas amounted to nothing more than a gentle glow which is still below the MLL (minimum luminance level) of every other non-OLED 4K TV on the market.

Some quarters mistakenly believe that since FALD (full-array local dimming) LED LCDs are also capable of producing 0 cd/m2 black, they operate on the same level playing field as OLEDs, but nothing could be further from the truth. The key difference is that in non-black scenes, LCD-based displays still have to illuminate the screen using an LED (or CCFL of yesteryears) backlight which usually carries a blueish undertone, whereas OLED TVs can do so out of a perfect canvas of pure black. This is the number one reason why any OLED will always deliver a richer, more vibrant image with more depth and dimensionality than any LED LCD once both are calibrated to the same standards.

Also, because there’ll be times where the lit region is smaller than the individually dimmable zone, even the best FALD LED TV is prone to exhibiting haloing/ blooming where a bright element against dark backdrop will be enveloped by a larger block of illumination. The LG 55E6 (and any other OLED TV for that matter) suffers from no such problem, since each pixel can be switched on and off independently of adjacent pixels.

Near-Black

Ironically, LG OLED televisions have traditionally struggled in the area just above black – transitioning smoothly from zero black to various gradations of dark grey hasn’t proved to be the easiest thing to achieve. To clarify, there are three separate issues:

  • Vignetting: The sides appearing darker than the centre;
  • Banding: Vertical darker streaks (mostly thin, somethings thick) running up and down the screen; and
  • Sub-8-bit gradation: Lack of finesse in handling video signal just above black, resulting in increased blockiness and noise in dark sequences.

Vignetting was pretty much gone on our LG 55E6V review unit: what LG has done is to brighten the sides instead, similar to what we’ve observed on later builds of the EF950 FLOLED. Of course, this meant that the centre of the screen would appear darker than the sides at certain dark grey intensities, but in real-life viewing this was a lot less offensive than the other way round.

After a few self-triggered compensation cycles, vertical banding on our sample was also suppressed to a level where it’s no longer an issue. We played the underwater fight scene in Skyfall (around the 02:08:47 mark) on the LG E6 in a side-by-side comparison with a Panasonic DX902 we’ve just tested, and were very happy with what we saw in terms of near-black uniformity:

Panasonic DX902 vs LG E6
Left: Panasonic TX-58DX902B; Right: LG OLED55E6V

Although LG has this year provided a [Clear Panel Noise] option in the user menu to start the compensation cycle manually, we strongly advise that you use it sparingly, because it triggers an hour-long “Super Compensation” process which is originally intended to run after every 2000 hours of operation. In any case, the OLED55E6 will perform its own compensation cycle (which takes 10 to 20 minutes as detected by our power consumption meter showing higher-than-expected wattage) in standby after 4 hours (+/- 1 hour) of accumulated usage.

Compensation cycle 0
Compensation cycle 1
Compensation cycle 1
Compensation cycle 2
Compensation cycle 2
Compensation cycle 3
Compensation cycle 4
Service menu record of compensation cycle count (UTT = number of hours)
Clear Panel Noise
Service menu record after running [Clear Panel Noise]
Clear Panel Noise
Default number of hours before automatic kick-in of Super Compensation is 2000

The 55E6′s near-black gradation was better than its predecessor’s, injecting a more palpable sense of dynamism and solidity to low-light detail. Nevertheless, there were a couple of telltale signs indicating it’s still not quite on par with that seen on Panasonic’s inaugural CZ950 OLED TV. For starters, the E6V’s default [Brightness] position of “50” has been purposely set up from factory to crush some shadow detail so that most users won’t pick up its near-black foibles. Once we raised [Brightness] to its correct reference value, we could see that the television was applying dithering to shadowed areas to better mask above-black blockiness.

For example, the Shanghai night sky at the beginning of Chapter 8 in Skyfall appeared noisier and more pixelated on the LG OLED55E6V compared with other displays we had at hand in our test room. However, it’s no longer a dealbreaker especially at normal viewing distance – last year’s OLED models exhibited larger and more distracting macroblocks.

Screen Uniformity

White uniformity was clean on our OLED55E6 sample: putting up a full-white screen, we didn’t notice any yellow bands seen on some LG EF950 and Panasonic CZ952 last year. On full-field grey slides, there’s a faint, thin vertical band (that could look lighter or darker depending on the background luminance) around 25% in from the left edge of the screen most apparent on dark greys, but it didn’t bother us in real-world content including fast-panning shots in football broadcast.

Viewing Angle

Thanks to its self-emissive display properties, the LG E6V OLED did not suffer from any viewing angle restrictions in terms of contrast and saturation, although brighter elements took on a blue tint off-axis.

We’ve taken this for granted but haven’t always stressed it enough in reviews – OLED’s viewing angle is miles ahead of any LED LCD, even IPS-based ones.

Motion

The LG 55E6V’s motion clarity was no different from the company’s previous 4K OLEDs. With [TruMotion] disabled, motion resolution came in at 300 lines according to the horizontally scrolling lines pattern in Chapter 31 of the FPD Benchmark Software test disc, which is typical for a sample-and-hold display without enlisting the help of additional motion processing.

[TruMotion] off [TruMotion] User
[TruMotion] off Optimised [TruMotion] “User”

Engaging [TruMotion] more than doubled motion resolution to 650 lines, although it would invariably introduce interpolation artefacts or soap opera effect (SOE) to 24fps films. One improvement from 2015′s EF950V is that owners no longer need to customise their [TruMotion] “User” settings to obtain judder-free 1080p/24 playback – the LG E6 does this automatically with [TruMotion] off and [Real Cinema] on.

LG’s engineers currently believe that OLED’s instantaneous pixel response time (which we agree produces clean motion without black trails/ smearing) is enough for high-quality motion, so fans of black frame insertion (BFI) may have to wait until Panasonic or Philips implement their respective light strobing technologies on their upcoming OLED TVs.

4K HDR

LG is the only TV maker to support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision (DV) HDR standards in the UK and Europe this year. Upon receiving HDR10 or DV metadata, the OLED55E6V would kick into the respective mode with three available picture presets:

HDR mode Dolby Vision
HDR presets Dolby Vision presets
[Vivid] and [Bright] did not provide as many calibration controls (the former was basically dynamic mode anyway) as [HDR Standard]/ [Dolby Vision Movie Dark], so they were pretty much out of the running. [HDR Standard] sets [OLED LIGHT] and [Contrast] to their maximum position of “100” by default, and offers no 2-point [White Balance] controls, only a rather cryptic [Code Value] which from what we can tell acts as a 20p WB system. The individual [Code Value] numbers from 127, 254, 324 all the way to 622 and 668 – we wonder if they represent luminance level in nits, and 668 is the nominal peak brightness of the set?

[Code Value] [Dolby Vision Movie Dark]
[White Balance] > [Code Value] [Dolby Vision Movie Dark]

Interestingly, the default [OLED LIGHT] setting in all the [Dolby Vision] presets is at the halfway point of “50“, although we found that adjusting the slider even up to the maximum value of “100” did not dramatically alter the light output on screen. Two- and twenty-point [White Balance] controls are also unavailable in [Dolby Vision] mode, reinforcing the notion that DV’s dynamic metadata knows what’s best for scene-by-scene optimisation without user (or manufacturer) intervention.

With pleasantries out of the way, let’s do some measurements. Peak brightness came in at 596 cd/m2 at UHDA-approved window sizes, surpassing the 540 cd/m2 figure needed for Ultra HD Premium status. Due to ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter), full-field peak white was capped at 120 cd/m2 either in SDR or HDR mode. Long-time readers may remember that LG’s 2015 55in curved 4K OLEDs could hit 149 cd/m2 on full-screen white, suggesting that the E6 may feature a more aggressive ABL algorithm, but this was simply not borne out in real-world viewing.

DCI-P3 coverage

DCI-P3 coverage measured 96%. Please note that when comparing peak brightness and colour gamut measurements across different publications, results may vary at different window sizes/ colour temperature. Ours are always measured with D65 white point using the methodology adopted by the Ultra HD Alliance for UHD Premium certification.

Using a Murideo Fresco HDMI 2.0a signal generator to inject the necessary HDR10 infoframe, we tried our hand at calibrating the LG OLED55E6 in [HDR Standard] mode. While we could attain a reasonably flat greyscale by hammering away at the [Code Value] controls, to our dismay we saw a disturbing amount of posterization and shimmering artefacts as a consequence when we watched some Ultra HD Blu-ray movies, which went away upon zeroing our [Code Value] adjustments.

RGB tracking in HDR mode
Post-calibration Delta errors
RGB tracking and dEs in [HDR Standard] mode

The 55E6V tracked PQ (perceptual quantizer) EOTF (electro-optical transfer function) pretty well, though there’s some red channel clipping at higher luminance levels according to specialised test patterns.

Gamma tracking in [HDR Standard] mode PQ EOTF tracking in [HDR Standard] mode
PQ EOTF (electro-optical transfer function) tracking in [HDR Standard] mode

HDR Colour

In [HDR Standard] mode, all three [Colour Gamut] options of “Normal“, “Extended” and “Wide” yielded wider-than-Rec709 colour space, although two of them blew out coloured highlight detail. Regrettably, the colours in HDR mode have been programmed to track DCI-P3 rather than the Rec.2020 container used for 4K Blu-ray. No amount of tweaking the [Colour Management] controls could even remotely reduce the inaccuracies, and in any case the adjustments required would be so large that we’d introduce visible artefacts to the picture. Using the [Tint] control to try and align the hues was a no-go too: it worked globally (as expected), so correcting one colour would inevitably worsen another.

Colour saturation tracking in [HDR Standard] mode
Colour saturation tracking in [HDR Standard] mode against Rec.2020 standard
Colour errors in [HDR Standard] mode
Colour errors (<3 not appreciable to the eye)

We sampled our collection of UHD Blu-ray titles on the LG 55E6, swapping between a Samsung UBD-K8500 and a Panasonic DMP-UB900 – the two 4K BD players available in the UK at this time of writing – as the video source. With both players, [HDMI Ultra HD Deep Colour] (buried in the TV’s [General] submenu) needs to be manually switched on for the specific HDMI port before proper 4K HDR playback can take place. Without the setting enabled, the Samsung K8500 would produce a picture riddled with posterization/ banding, crushed blacks and oversaturated reds; whereas the Panasonic UB900 wouldn’t even send the HDR metadata, opting to downconvert to SDR instead.

Once we got 4K HDR Ultra HD Blu-ray up and working, we compared the HDR presentation on the LG OLED55E6V side-by-side against a calibrated Panasonic DX900 LED LCD, the most accurate consumer-grade TV so far in terms of PQ EOTF and Rec2020 tracking. And straight away we could see that colours didn’t look right on the OLED: the sandy desert in Mad Max adopted an orangey tint, giving off a cartoony feel (even though some viewers may prefer this richly saturated look); while skin tones in The Martian appeared ruddier than usual even during scenes on Earth. Furthermore, the E6′s default [Brightness] setting of “50” crushed a not insignificant amount of shadow detail, requiring a few upward clicks to bring black floor in line with the Panasonic DX9.

Where the 55E6 had the definite upper hand was in low-APL sequences: stars shone brightly against night skies in both The Martian and Mad Max without incurring halos, and blacks clearly looked inkier on the LG OLED. At the other end of the contrast spectrum though, the sun and specular highlights went brighter and thus were more impactful on the Panasonic LED TV.

Disappointed with the 55E6V’s HDR10 colour fidelity, we moved on to check out its Dolby Vision HDR performance using several demo clips (including snippets from Pan and Jupiter Ascending) kindly supplied by Dolby. Immediately we could tell that colour tones looked correct: DV’s dynamic metadata seemed to have mapped the greyscale and colours accurately, so it’s like watching a pristine Blu-ray on steroids (more shadow and highlight detail visible simultaneously on screen without blowing one another out).

One minor complaint we had about the Dolby Vision HDR presentation on the LG OLED55E6V was that it’s slightly too dark and subdued: we compared the demo videos directly against the same scenes from Blu-ray displayed on a TV calibrated to 120 cd/m2 peak white, and the APL (Average Picture Level) on the DV presentation actually appeared lower. We suspect this might be a direct repercussion of Dolby Vision’s tonemapping having to take into account the E6′s peak brightness of circa-600 nits. We have asked LG for a Golden Reference file to see if we could improve things through calibration, and will update this article when we receive/ test it.

Update 3 July 2016:: We’ve calibrated a 55in and two 65in LG E6 OLEDs with the latest firmware this week, and they now track Rec.2020 colour saturation points correctly (many thanks to Chris Heinonen who runs Reference Home Theater for the heads up):

Colour saturation tracking in [HDR Standard] mode
Colour saturation tracking in [HDR Standard] mode against Rec.2020 standard

As we’ve explained in our Samsung KS9500 review, since the mastering displays for 4K Blu-rays are using DCI-P3 gamut, it’s more accurate to measure against DCI-P3 standard within Rec.2020 signalling:

Colour saturation tracking in [HDR Standard] mode
[HDR Standard] saturation tracking with reference to DCI-P3 inside Rec.2020 container

This means LG E6s should present colours from Ultra HD Blu-rays correctly, although we still hope the company will allow for at least 2-point white balance adjustments in the future.

3D

As stated in our unboxing/ first impressions video, the 55-inch LG E6V did not pass full HD 3D resolution – the TV failed to fully resolve the 1920 alternating black-and-white single-pixel lines in our custom-authored test pattern. If you have access to a 2D single-pixel resolution pattern (for example in the excellent AVSHD 709 disc), you can test this and see it for yourself. Play the pattern and enable 2D-to-3D conversion on the 55E6V: the 1080 horizontal lines should remain intact, but the television is doing something strange when displaying the 1920 vertical lines. We experimented with [H Sharpness], [V Sharpness], [Super Resolution] and other 3D-related settings in an attempt to restore full HD 3D resolution but to no avail.

Update 28 April 2016: To clarify, we were indeed using our own native 3D pattern to test 3D resolution; we merely suggested the 2D-to-3D conversion method for users who don’t have access to our pattern to see the resolution loss for themselves.

The good news is, this 3D resolution limitation didn’t seem to manifest itself in real-life content. We threw a bunch of 3D Blu-rays (including our go-to Tangled and Pacific Rim) at the OLED55E6, and they all looked highly detailed. Our running theory is that even a worst-case scenario of halved horizontal resolution would still deliver an extra-dimensional resolution of 960×1080, and resolution alone ranks fairly low among the different attributes that contribute to good picture quality (hence all the “why it’s pointless to buy a 4K TV” arguments we heard a few years back).

24Hz and 50Hz tri-dimensional material was handled smoothly without judder. As with most passive 3D systems (the TV shipped with two pairs of polarized glasses), there’s no crosstalk and no flicker. And when the 55E6′s insane black depth and higher brightness capability were added to the mix, the result was an utterly engaging and immersive 3-D viewing experience. This may sound cliché, but we saw things that we never noticed before in 3D on the LG E6V.

Gaming

The LG E6 returned the exact same input lag figure as the step-up G6, strengthening hope that all of the brand’s 2016 OLED ranges will output the same high-quality image. In [Game] mode, our Leo Bodnar tester measured a lag time of 34ms on the OLED55E6V, which is the most responsive yet recorded on any 4K OLED TV to date.

Input lag

Input lag in [ISF Expert] mode was 1.5 frames higher at 57ms, but enabling [TruMotion] would bump the figure up to a significantly sluggish 117ms.

Video Review

Conclusion

The LG OLED55E6 is a stunning, stunning TV (yes it’s so good we said “stunning” twice). Acting upon constructive feedback from reviews and shootouts, the Korean manufacturer has systematically addressed the shortcomings of the company’s previous OLEDs, culminating in the exemplary display sitting right in front of us today. Undefeatable noise reduction? Rectified. Near-black vignetting? Gone. Uneven colour tinting? No longer an issue. Dark-scene hue errors? Corrected.

Over the past couple of years, LED LCD manufacturers could still count on missteps from LG to compete with OLED, but that’s no longer the case now. With improved near-black uniformity, post-calibration colour accuracy and gaming responsiveness, the OLED55E6V (or any LG 2016 OLED model for that matter) deserves to be the number one display on any video enthusiast’s wishlist for HD content consumption. And when you add OLED’s true blacks and super-wide viewing angles to the equation, the comparison against LED LCD isn’t even fair: if this was boxing, the referee would’ve stopped the match by now.

This is where we have to explain why we still didn’t hand out our coveted “Reference Level” badge despite the LG 55E6 (along with the 65G6) clearly being the best 2016 TV we’ve tested in terms of picture quality. Unlike other publications, we currently reserve our top award not for the best display on the market, but for a display which we feel comes very close to fulfilling the promise of the technology (i.e. near-perfect), and the 55E6V still has some way to go. Motion resolution, near-black gradation and especially HDR10 colour rendition are all potential areas of improvement.

Now don’t get us wrong: here at HDTVTest, we are a critical bunch, perhaps the most critical of all AV publications. But we’re absolutely bowled over by the LG OLED55E6. We’re not even going to qualify the following endorsement: if you can afford it, this is the TV to buy.

Note: If you’re considering buying this television, please support this website by making your purchase from our sponsor Crampton & Moore – call 01302 365760 and ask for Richard, quoting HDTVTest for competitive prices and first-rate service.

Best in Class

51 comments

  1. what is the proven method to disable the auto-dimming permanently ?

  2. THX. Indeed brilliant telly.
    I own now a 55E6D (replacement for a faulty 950V) and noticed the less light output immediately.
    Isn’t the max lower full-field peak white (capped at 120cd/m2) some kind of back-engineering compared with the former 950V? Did you measure 1/2 and/or 1/4 white screen? Some sources say that was also capped.

  3. What was the solution to the messed up colors with 4k Blu-ray?

  4. Great review Vincent! Do you know by chance the input lag of the C6?

    As for turning off the auto dimming, I did that about 6 months ago on my EC9300 and have seen no ill effects by doing it, it looks alot better especially with pc use to not have the auto dimming kick on :)

  5. Thanks for the great review – sounds awesome on many fronts, but given the 65G6 review there seems to be a ~25% difference in peak brightness between the two units. Is that sort of thing expected – I had read expectations that the 65 may be brighter than the 55 so unsure if we could expect the higher brightness on the 65E6 as well as the 65G6.

    Thanks again and hope they send you the rest of the OLEDs to put through their paces. Would be interesting to see if the image quality improved further ~100 hours in as user feedback so far suggests the sets take a while to settle and gradually improve.

  6. I find interesting that apart from the dx900 most of the 2016 TVs don’t track to rec2020 and its rec2020 container need for ultra bluray, is this something that could be fixed with an update.

  7. Are you using a 2D test pattern to test 3D resolution? The 2D to 3D conversion process will naturally result in a loss of resolution because it’s generating two frames (one for each eye) from one frame. You need to use a native 3D test pattern to test 3D resolution.

  8. Thanks for the review, Vincent.
    I would have liked to hear your impressions about the 65E6, considering that british owners noticed a thick vertical band in the centre, noticeable on horizontal pans, while the 55″ seems to be fine.

    @Luke: I think someone over at avs already measured the input lag of the 55C6 and it’s about the same.

  9. how do you turn off the auto dimming then ?

  10. So without even a 2-point white balance in HDR10 mode the set is basically worthless for UHD BD?

    What the heck were they thinking? Is this something that could be fixed with an updated firmware? That’s kind of a big thing to dismiss like that, or are they counting on the format failing and everyone moving to Netflix Dolby Vision streaming?

    Great review though, hoping the C6 isn’t too far off in terms of performance since I want curved (though if the HDR10 viewing remains wonky I’ll probably wait another year.)

  11. How does this TV do while upscaling 1080p or even lower res content? I imagine the majority of anyone’s viewing will not be from a 4k source, and from what I’ve read Sony is miles ahead on the upscaling front, not to mention Samsung.

    So I’d like to see a rating given today’s input – would you still go for this (or any other) LG OLED, or pick an LCD/LED instead?

  12. Can you comment on this?I guess led is better now?WTF https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLwfZEhD_38

  13. aca>> Is that supposed to be a joke? LCDs are brighter, thats all the video tells us. Didnt you know that already?

    Also…Vivid mode. Way to go.

  14. Theo>> It would be interesting to see PQ EOTF tracking in [HDR Vivid] and [HDR Bright] mode as well.

  15. Theo>> It seems that the LG goes into “DCI P3 mode” when input is HDR10, yes. One have to wonder why this mode is in the tv in the first place, DCI P3 is not a consumer format/container.

    Could that maybe also explain the somewhat warmer white point? DCI P3 white point IS warmer than D65 after all. In other words, once(if) LG fixes this DCI mess-up maybe the white point gets improved as well.

  16. Great review Vincent!

  17. Yeah aca WTF ?!? Please read the review thoroughly one more time. There really is no competition between LED LCDs and OLED.

  18. I’m very curious about the issues with 3D and color tracking in HDR. Did the G6 also exhibit the same resolution loss in 3D? What about the 65E6 (if you have had a chance to test it?) Also curious to know if the G6/65E6 had the same issues with the HDR color tracking that you mentioned. Any more info on this would be much appreciated.

  19. Dear Vincent, I have a question. Does a 4K TV make 1080p (say, PS4 & X1) games look worse visual-wise due to upscaling? That’s what happened to PS2-era games when 1080p TVs came out.

  20. I wonder why the colour errors are so high in HDR10 mode. As it seems this will be a common standard for HDR viewing I wonder if it’s possible to get that any better as it seems so far off… Really wonder if there are ways to improve that. I’m not an enthousiast like most people that much but if I spend so much on a TV the HDR10 has to be good as well…

  21. What about dimming method? Does it use PWM and at what frequency?

  22. It would be great if you could share the 3D test pattern you used or, at a minimum, include a picture that demonstrates what the loss in 3D resolution looks like.

  23. My main use for this set (or the 65C6) will be 4K Blu-Ray’s (as well as regular 1080p and 3D BD’s), so I’m a bit concerned. Is there a fix in the settings for the HDR10 issue?

    This was not mentioned on the 65G6 review, was it not a problem on that model? According to LG these new G6, E6, C6 and B6 models was going to use the same panel, so it should inherite the same pros and cons…

  24. Patrik Gårdewall

    You can do better with the comparision photos
    how are we going to see any eventual blocks/noise and bandning on a 500×175 res photo lol?
    referring to the skyfall photo.

    Take upclose photos so we can see what the picture details actually looks like.
    you cant judge anything from the above photo!

  25. Patrik Gårdewall

    Great that you brought up about ABL
    but those 120cd/m2 you got on a full 100% white field was with max OLED light right ?

    i hope you have the tv still so you can do a fast check
    can you set peak brightness to 120cd/m2 and then measure a 100% white field.

    im almost sure that you dont get linear brightness even there.

    what do you you get?
    im guessing 60-70cd/m2 ?

  26. Patrik Gårdewall

    For those who doesnt understand what ABL does to the picture
    ABL is not anything you want if you want a picture with a stable gamma and high brightness for all scenes.

    When ABL kicks in it first dims down the picture but it also changes gamma.
    bright scenes will look more flat and washed out.
    that gamma curve that you measured with the window patterns is no longer present when ABL is in use.

    Going from 540cd/m2 bright parts in one scene to only 120cd/m2 overall in another scene is huge jumps.
    that Hockey match or skiing sport you watching at max brightness will not be any brighter than 120-150cd/m2 with this amount of ABL dimming.

    only the LCDs have a more linear light output.

    with this amount of ABL dimming you will never get all what HDR has to offer either.
    once ABL dims down a scene you will not get any super bright parts from HDR in that scene.

    ABL in use= no or less HDR effect

  27. I would like to know how the ABL works (or doesn’t) on calibrated SDR too. I mean if it’s able to maintain a constant 120 nits on a full white field then theoretically it should be able to display 120 nit peak calibrated SDR without ever having to engage the ABL right? But that’s exactly the kind of logical and obvious conclusion that I could see them somehow messing up anyway.

    I don’t think I would be overly bothered by any brightness limiting in HDR mode as after testing a few clips on my Samsung I find the extreme brightness a bit much for viewing in a dark environment anyway. However I have my display connected to my PC and with the amount of bright windows moving around on the desktop I think I would find it very annoying if the brightness kept constantly fluctuating.

  28. Patrik Gårdewall

    About that Skyfall underwater scene
    it looks like an nuclear blast over the ice ;)
    i hope its the camera that just blows out the bright parts and the red color thats there and not the tvs ?
    you probably raised the exposure time just to be able to see the shadow details right?

    Anyway here is what that scene should look like in terms of brightness and shadows details.
    3D LUT calibrated KRP-500M at 120cd/m2 peak brightness and Gamma 2.3
    Photo is an HDR photo with 22 stops of dynamic range so what you see is what it looks like.

    http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb192876/Skyfall%20underwater%20500M.jpg

    Question is does the E6 OLED match this performance near black?
    if not im sticking to the 500M

  29. @Pakk Very good question…

    @Patrik I just want to point out that even if you calibrate the TV’s HDR settings to have 120 cd/m^2 instead of 1000 cd/m^2, the HDR picture should still look better than its SDR counterpart simply due to the fact that the luminance range is divided into 1024 (?) steps rather than SDR’s 256 (and less on BD). So there will still be 4x more detail in the HDR image.

    And, personally, I think 1000 cd/m^2 i a bat cave sounds ludicrous. When watching stuff in a dark room, I never maxed out contrast on my LX5090, and I don’t even max out my 55″VT60, because it just gets uncomfortable for the eyes. And a bit jarring when going from a really dark scene to somthing like a snowy bright scene. I guess I’ll have to wait and see, but I’ve always been much more interested in the extra amount of detail than the extra brightness potential of HDR.

    ABL fluctuations from 540 to 120 cd/m^2 could potentially be annoying, though… Depends on how it’s implemented, and personal tolerance level, and for that I guess you’ll have to see for yourself.

    Great picture, btw.

  30. I wonder if the B6 will have a higher peak brightness, without the polarising filters required for passive 3D.

  31. Considering that the game mode is unusable due to the terrible motion blur, I’d say this isn’t the TV to buy, if you plan on using it for gaming a lot. +100ms of lag with TrueMotion is too much.

  32. Why is everyone trying to track to bt.2020 when it is obvious tvs can’t reach that far and are mostky tracking to the closest perceptually uniform colorspace …it is obviously for that reason that manufacturers are converting BT.2020 to p3 with the notable exception of panasonic who are allowing you to put tv in bt.2020 mode via a special setting even though this is not tv’s native colorspace and which may probably result in crude color transitions instead of soft rolloffs (talking about absolute vs perceptual conversion)…what makes p3 a non consumer standard, now that tvs can reach p3…???it’s just a display colorspace that they are mastering to for capable projectors… It would be very irresponsible to force BT.2020 as a display standard when you know no display can reach that, so obviously there is only requirement for bt.2020 when producing and storing…so apparently uhd alliance agreed internally to target P3…
    To cut it short: unless stated otherwise or there is a specific bt.2020 option I think one should assume P3 is the actual target for UHD content…

    Cheers

  33. @Vincent Teo

    Owning a 55E6, I can agree with your findings except for motion issues in normal HD 1080i 50 Hz broadcasting.
    So, buyers beware.
    I’m not alone in this, in a private group we are discussing why stutter & judder is annoying present on most HD broadcasting. Right now our best guess this is due to squeezing a 60HZ signal into a 50Hz one and LG processing is confused and locks a few frames wrong resulting in a few stutters for a moment. And in some series there a lot of this moments.
    With trumotion off it is a big stutterfest, with trumotion on 3/8, it is somewhat better but still not good enough for such a high-end tv. Every other tv in my house – cheap or expensive – does a far better job, including old ones.

    Key factors for image quality are dynamic range, contrast, color, noise, blur etc. – alle very good on the oled, no question about it – , but also image processing and the abiltiy to deal with () normal HD broadcasting should be considered. LG should be spanked for not adressing this careless behaviour in lesser HD material as the 950V showed the same issues already. Sure, Bluray is really good, but HD broadcasting is still alive, used daily by most people (buyers) and therefore should be rewarded as “important” factor.

    The big question: will there ever be a (software) solution for this?

    Kind Regards,
    Jean M.

    Still owner of a LG oled 55E6V

  34. @Jean M.

    judder is normal for film sourced material in 1080i 50 Hz broadcast (movies and most series)…60 to 50 Hz conversion artefacts are observed primarly from 60Hz live sports broadcasts converted to 50Hz (like from US or other countries that use 60Hz signal)..but such material hardly constitutes most of 1080i 50Hz broadcasts…this is definitely not the reason for the stuttering you may be observing…must be the TV and it’s frame interpolation system…did you try turning truemotion off?

  35. @Mark Callo

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, as said above, without trumotion the judder is extreme visible. The choice is between extreme judder & stutter without trumotion or quite a lot stutter & judder (and some soap effect) with trumotion on.
    The keyword is extreme visible. Every now and then there can be judder, I accept that.
    But when every new scene it starts with 3-4-5 judders before it tracks to normal/fluid, then a question mark is legitimate.
    I compared a few tv’s (Sony, Philips, both tested wth and withoud motion interpolation) fed through an active spitter simultanously, the difference is shocking: only the LG shows stuttering.

  36. @Jean

    it’s definitely the TV…not familiar with all LG’s options but is there something that sounds like Film mode in advanced settings…perhaps you need to turn that off, it’s the case with Panasonic TVs that they stutter a bit at every scene cut if Film cadence option is on for non-film content…

    hope that helps

  37. Considering this tv but being scared of by the motion sensor issues as I watch lot of sports (football and cricket) and not an advanced user to keep changing the settings. Hence people have suggested buying the Sony XD 93/94 instead. Thoughts?

  38. Patrik Gårdewall

    so the best HDR experience is on the Sony XD900 and Panasonic DX902B then?
    the issues that you brought up here with HDR is a joke for this price.
    you should get near reference status for this price.

    also what does “signature” stands for?
    is it the polish workers who put a sign on the oleds before they throw it into the box?

  39. @Mark Callo
    As I understand it the issue here is that the LG is NOT converting Rec2020 to P3, it’s ASSUMING the content is P3, which would cause hue shifts and slight undersaturation in a Rec2020 signal.

    Converting to P3 internally is not a big deal because content will probably not contain colors outside that gamut for some time, but the whole point of the color space in Rec2020 is to provide room for improvement, which will no doubt come in the future. If they had just settled on the P3 color space then obviously things would have gone nowhere.

  40. I got the 65 inch of this one an a Lot of Crosstalk in 3D Mode. LG will change it. My distance to the TV is 2,5 Meters. Can that be the reason for the Crosstalk?

  41. yeah i hate when reviewers say ABL doesnt really have an effect in real viewing.. ridiculous. it very much does effect normal viewing, things like animations and video games it is very apparent and is actually annoying

    if reviewers would stop dismissing this annoyance maybe LG would do something about it

    OLED would literally be perfect without this problem

  42. I have recently purchased a 55″ LG OLED and think its the worst investment I have ever made. After 3 weeks of trying to get a decent picture I can tell you its like someone has put creosote on the screen or you’re watching with cataracts. I should have know really, as I thought Plasma looked terrible next to LCD. I can hear the adenoidal gasps of those that consider themselves the TV elite already, as they clutch their vinyl collections for comfort. There is a reason Plasma died-out and sadly I have fallen into their trap and purchased “the best possible picture” only to discover it is again horrible shades of brown and has less white than a blank panthers rally. Until you try and live with an OLED TV you wont realise how disappointing they are. In 5 years time I am sure everyone will be saying “do you remember OLED ?”, and I’ll still have one of the god awful thing clogging-up my living room

  43. Lg oled will never wuite get it right.
    Horrible judder and stutter on all models including 2016 range.
    Banding tinting and vignetting.
    A true reference picture is what lg dont understand.
    Lets hope other companies like samsung panasonic sony release a oled which aint a lg panel.

    The only oled worth buying and keeping was the samsung s9c oled.
    If you cant get that stick to youre panasnoic vt/zt and pioneer krp because lg make a mess of anything they touch. lG have the worst led plasma ever made.

  44. Vincent, I understand that all panels are slightly different and when calibrating them, they will have different settings; however, I was wondering if you would be willing to share your settings. The reason I ask is that I recently had a professional calibrator try to calibrate my set. After he completed his job, I ran a bluray of Star Trek (the 1st with Chris Pine) and noticed horrible artifacts almost immediately. He was baffled. Needless to say, I reset to factory settings and didn’t pay him. The reason I wanted to try your settings is that I was hoping to use them as a starting point and then tweak them to my liking. It seems like you were able to get rid of the artifact issue as well as handling all other aspects of the picture well.

    Thanks in advance.

  45. @Disappointed
    I don’t know, if you are a troll or simply have no clue about picture quality.

  46. I just bought an 65 e6 over the weekend. I’m torn with it. While watching a Dolby vision version of Pacific Rim on vudu I thought it looked incredible , but then watching A Dolby vision vudu stream of Fury road, I found some Ive the colors to be so saturated they looked clipped. Is this the tv or the source?

    Also while watching a 4K version of daredevil on Netflix I noticed the blacks were so deep there was no detail in them at all. It also looked super saturated. I was using the ISF bright mode.

    Any help or suggestions on fixing these issues?

  47. So in regards to the July 3rd update – Is HDR now automatically displayed accurately, or is it the now available 2-point controls that have to be used to calibrate for Rec.2020 color?

  48. I don’t know if I am reading this wrong, but can somebody tell me anything about the price? Can’t seem to find the price on Google? Looks a bit like a B&O tv – however I cannot remember the name?

  49. If I wanted a 4k TV and its primary function would be gaming (console) would this be the recommended TV?

  50. Well :-) :-) If you really think it looks like a B&O then just buy the LG – it’s much cheaper :-)

  51. I know this was a while ago now, but when you posted your update:

    “Update 3 July 2016:: We’ve calibrated a 55in and two 65in LG E6 OLEDs with the latest firmware this week, and they now track Rec.2020 colour saturation points correctly (many thanks to Chris Heinonen who runs Reference Home Theater for the heads up):”

    Did you find this was the case with Wide Color Enabled, set to enhanced, or just left alone when HDR engages? It is my understanding that it tracks properly now no matter what you set it to, but it may be more or less accurate depending on what color range you set the TV to. Any thoughts?

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