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Next-gen TVs

What are OLED and 4K TVs really like?

By Simon Lucas | 117 days ago

We go on about how good this new TV tech is – but what are the real differences? How much better is it in practical terms? What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision editor Simon Lucas explains in terms we’ll all understand…
 
OLED v LED
Viewing angle There’s no such thing as the Cheap Seats with OLED. LED TVs have a definite viewing angle and, should you fail to get a good chair, watching from outside the sweet spot is a bit like watching through dirty glasses. From the same position an OLED picture is like when you’ve given your spectacles a good wipe.
 
Silly sizes 
Much like Bear Grylls isn’t even a real bear, an LED TV isn’t really LED. It’s an LCD screen, backlit – because LCDs have to be – by an LED light source. But OLED needs no backlight. So OLED TVs can be preposterously thin. Not everything in life is improved by being as slim as possible, of course, but sometimes it’s better to arrive in a speedboat than in a cross-Channel ferry.
 
Black is black Because OLED technology produces its own light it can display true black, and is capable of far higher contrast ratios than its LCD/LED equivalent. This is nothing but a benefit to your viewing experience – if the LCD/LED contrasts are like opening a fridge door in a dark kitchen, OLEDs are like stepping from the dark of a cinema into a blazing summer’s midday. In Buenos Aires.
 
ULTRA HD 4K v FULL HD
Big and beautiful It’s simple, really: Full HD is a pool table, 4K is a snooker table (but doesn’t take up any more space). Having four times as many pixels as Full HD means 4K is a 400% pay-rise for your movie collection – the details are handed over with all the enthusiasm of a back-fence fishwife having the first gossip of the weekend.
 
No loss of detail 
”Come away from the TV!” every mother cried. “You’ll give yourself square eyes!” But it doesn’t apply any more, and not simply because smart-arsed kids might reply: “I think you mean 16:9 eyes, Mother…” Because 4K has four times the pixels of Full HD, they’re smaller and closer together – so you can sit closer without a) sending your eyes a funny shape or b) individual pixels betraying their position.
 
Ultra clarity 
Ultimately, it’s about fidelity and realism – and 4K is absolutely streets ahead of Full HD in every aspect of picture-making. Sport, as ever, is the acid test – a football game in native 4K is like being in the ground, and it makes Full HD feel like you’re watching through a frosted bathroom window.
 
Simon Lucas is the editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision magazine
 
For more information on LG’s ULTRA HD 4K TVs, see here. For more information LG’s Curved OLED TVs, see here.