LG OLED65E7P OLED Ultra HDTV Review Page 2

OLED TVs are prone to image retention from long exposure to fixed images. These might linger as faint afterimages now and then, which generally fade out a few minutes after the picture has passed. Nevertheless, this TV offers a pair of anti-retention features, and I’d be inclined to use them, with the same cautions here that applied to plasmas—particularly now that we have ultra-bright HDR sources to contend with. Avoid extended exposure to bright, stationary images and stay away from torch-like picture modes such as Vivid; an OLED isn’t your best choice for a sunroom set! The only time I saw afterimages, which faded in a couple of minutes, was with high-luminance white window test patterns.

Like LCD TVs, OLED sets produce more motion blur than CRTs and plasmas did. You can reduce it with LG’s TruMotion control, but that produces the dreaded soap-opera effect. The feature’s Custom mode offers separate Blur and Judder controls, which helped, but I preferred to leave TruMotion off entirely. Did I see motion blur? Yes, but I never found it annoying.

617lgtv.rem.jpgHD with SDR
The OLED65E7P passed all of our standard video tests except Motion Adaptive 480i SD, which it failed with visible jaggies. On the audio side, the TV delivered both Dolby Digital and DTS in full surround from its Toslink optical audio output (but not their lossless versions, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, which can’t be carried over Toslink).

I began with the set uncalibrated for color. Apart from being incapable of LCD-like super brightness (though bright enough for any practical use, and no one looking for realistic images will complain), the TV’s performance was stunning. On Blu-ray, the colors in the brightest scenes from the documentary Samsara (shot on 70mm film) were exceptional. Even in the BT.709 color gamut used for 1080p HD, the bright red robes of the monks and their multicolored mandala, the vividly costumed Asian dancers, and a jaw-dropping shot of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles all stood out brilliantly. Detail was excellent as well; the set does a beautiful job of upconverting standard HD sources to its full 4K pixel array.

A calibration improved the color a bit, though the visible differences were subtler than the measurements might suggest (see Test Bench). A Pioneer Kuro promotional Blu-ray sampler from 2006—produced on the cusp of the Blu-ray format’s introduction—remains competitive with anything you’ll see today in 1080p SDR. The colors on this disc looked as rich as above, and the resolution was first class.

Prometheus is one of my prime go-to Blu-rays for judging blacks. The starfields and the many scenes in dark caves could hardly have looked better. But I did notice one thing that was different from the performance of previous LG OLED sets. Most of the time, the luminance on the OLED65E7P faded to total black between scenes, as with past LGs. But sometimes, this set faded to a black that wasn’t quite total—a very, very dark gray. Admittedly, this was a distinction visible only in a fully darkened room. Is it a step back? I don’t believe so. The newest LG OLED sets have added finer gradations of grays in the region just above black. In the past, the first step above black might have been read by the TV as black, so the set pulled it down to black even though it was mastered as almost but not quite total black. The 2017 models can now respond properly to these near black gradations—and in a truly dark environment, you can see them. This TV is merely telling it like it is.


But I did find one issue. On full dark-gray field test patterns (I used 5 percent), there were dark vertical streaks on the screen. This was troubling, but I never saw it on any real-world material. That doesn’t mean it will never show up in normal use, only that it should be rare. Was this a sample defect? I don’t think so. I’ve just begun working on a new Sony OLED for our next issue, and while I hesitate to refer to a review still in its opening stages, it had the same problem. Sony OLEDs use LG panels (but different Sonydesigned electronics).

Ultra HD with HDR10
We’ve all seen ads promoting HDR. They start with a bland, unimpressive image. Then, with a swipe across the screen, we see—wonder of wonders!—HDR in all its glory. This could hardly be more meaningless, particularly if you’re watching the ad on a computer or a non-HDR set.

Even plain HD can look far better than such material suggests. But it’s also true that 4K with HDR can look even better. For this report, I watched a number of Ultra HD Blu-rays in the HDR10 format, before and after a full calibration, and they consistently ranged from impressive to spectacular. In Oblivion, the hairs of Jack’s stubble, the freckles on Victoria’s face (which I never noticed before), and the dirt and textures on the page of a book Jack is reading were all vividly rendered. The film’s wide swaths of blue sky showed no trace of banding. Post-calibration, fleshtones were convincingly natural (they were slightly too reddish before). And while the HDR wasn’t as immediately obvious on this disc as on some others, it stood out clearly in sunsets, in a night shot of Jack and Victoria’s house/command post with the shattered moon gleaming above, and (especially) in the dark, underground remnants of the New York Public Library, where Jack fights off the Scavs.

I617lgtv.side.jpgn the World War II spy drama Allied, the LG’s HDR also stood out, but not in a flashy way. The HDR highlights seen in reflections of lights glistening off cars, the shading and shadow details in night rooftop scenes, and the bright lights of the anti-aircraft tracers and fiery plane crashes in a night air raid on London universally enhanced the film’s drama without distracting from it. The resolution was also superb. The whiskers and other skin textures in the actors’ faces were crisply rendered, as were other small details, such as the red swastikas on the back of German playing cards and the natural, painted-over wear and tear in the woodwork of Max and Marianne’s London house. This Ultra HD Blu-ray was produced from a 4K digital intermediate, which certainly helped make it look as good as it did, but the LG’s contribution was unquestionably significant. The colors here were also true across the board, from fleshtones to natural green foliage, skewed only by the subtle sepia tone of the transfer—common to films set in this time period.

Back when I reviewed the most recent 2016 LG OLED set, I noticed some HDR peak white clipping (though only on the most difficult material). But not here. None of the sources I watched—including the roiling surf and bright cloud scenes on a Samsung HDR test disc that had given the 2016 set some problems—showed any visible signs of it.

I also sampled the HDR Effect (User) mode mentioned earlier, which simulates HDR on SDR material. While I’m still skeptical of such simulations (and it’s not at all clear how to calibrate for them!), the mode often worked surprisingly well—though better on some sources than others. I had mixed feelings about it and would likely reserve it for certain material (such as animation, where it was most effective). But tastes will vary here, not to mention how the mode might skew the intent of the content’s creator. Some viewers will love it, while others might exile it to the outer darkness reserved for pan and scan on widescreen movies and colorization of black-and-white films.

The OLED65E7P is ready for Dolby Vision, the primary competitor to HDR10 (the latter exclusive to all Ultra HD Blu-rays as of mid-2017). During my evaluation, no UHD Blu-rays with Dolby Vision had yet been released (the first discs have since come out). Nor are there fully developed tools ready to properly calibrate a display for Dolby Vision. LG did provide us with a few minutes of Dolby Vision material on a flash drive; viewed without calibration, it looked as good as anything I’ve seen from HDR10. But without a direct comparison with the same material encoded in HDR10, it’s not possible to come to any definitive answer on how the two formats match up.

Is this the perfect Ultra HDTV? Of course not; there’s as yet no such thing and likely never will be. But for now, in most of the ways that count, this is as close to it as I’ve experienced. Might we see a better TV next year, or even next week? Sure, anything’s possible in the fast-moving world of home video.

Only in peak brightness capability does LG’s OLED set take a back seat to the LCD/LED competition—and some might argue that this doesn’t count for much, considering the currently available, real-world UHD/HDR program material. So if you’re on the hunt (and have the budget) for the best, the LG OLED65E7P belongs on your (very) short shopping list.

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jnemesh's picture

Never saw that before!

davidbe's picture

The 3D on the 2016 models was hugely better than the other improvements on the 2017 models, so I say they are "de-proved". I bought an extra 2016 model as a spare to preserve my ability to enjoy the absolutely stunning 3D on the 2016 OLEDs.

HDTV1080P's picture

I agree no 3-D, means a lesser quality TV. I will be purchasing a high-end DLP projector in the future to get reference quality 3D.

Bosshog7_2000's picture

3D was a contrived feature that the majority of consumers could care less about. I for one could care less about 3D and most people feel the same way which is why it is going the way of the dinosaur.

Hobart's picture

This review was so compelling that I recently bought this TV.

Two questions:

1) Can you please update with your recommended settings for Dolbyvision?

2) Were your recommended settings done with Eye Comfort Mode turned off?


Hobart's picture

I also get those vertical lines on dark grey full screen images. It seemed to go away after doing a pixel refresh, but returned a short time later.