webOS inside LG's Smart TVs makes its on-screen navigation significantly easier.
Supporting and enhancing this new software is a brand new Ultra High definition display technology and a TV with some significant processor grunt due in part to LG's development of new smartphone technology that is now making its way into a new generation of LG TVs.
Owners of this TV will get four times the definition of a Full HD TV that five years ago was state of the art, with a huge 65" screen size. To get all the performance this model is capable of delivering, it should be installed in a room that allows for at least three metres from the viewing position to the screen.
This model needs a decent sized living room to appreciate its entire performance.
The first thing you need to put into place when you open this monster is the stand. When you place the TV into the stand, just tighten the two pins either side and you're done. This is a big improvement from prior stands which were much more complex to install.
Built into either side of this massive screen are two discrete Harman Kardon speakers. While the technology used by 4K models undoubtedly provides picture quality that surpasses a 1080p model, you can now get outstanding sound due to improvements in audio driver technology and the incorporation of new Dolby sound processing technology.
With the built-in, forward-facing, channel speakers you get powerful room-filling sound way beyond what you normally get with a smart TV.
With LG's 65UB980T, its "4.2 channels" relates to the number of individual amplified audio channels used in the set's audio system.
The number ''4'' relates to the number of amplifiers dedicated to the forward facing speakers. The number ''.2'' indicates the number of amplifiers dedicated to the rear facing bass speakers.
LG says this is different to terminology normally used for home theatre systems where the first number relates to the number of full bandwidth sound channels and the second number refers to the number of sub-woofer channels or cabinets.
LG TVs ranged in Australia avoid confusion by categorising the audio sound systems by the number of frequency bands the audio signal is supported by, i.e. a 2-way system will split the audio spectrum into 2 using a high frequency speaker (called a tweeter) to produce the high frequency notes and a low frequency speaker to produce the low frequency notes.
LG said that its 4K Ultra HD range of TV's have sophisticated sound systems with a relatively high power output. To support the high output power, multiple speakers are sometimes used in some of the frequency bands.
The 4K Ultra HD models employ 2 Way and 3 Way sound systems.
49'' and 55" - 2 Way 4 speaker 20 Watt total output (UB850T)
65" - 3 Way 8 speaker 70 Watt total output (UB980T)
79" - 3 Way 10 speaker 90 Watt total output (UB980T)
84"- 3 Way 12 speaker 120 Watt total output (UB980T)
If we look at model 65UB980T, the 4.2 (6 separate sound amplifiers) are configured in this manner:
2 high frequency channels (Left and Right) for Treble - The treble speakers are placed high on either side of the screen in the side speaker columns.
2 mid-frequency channels (Left and Right) for Mid-range - The mid-range speakers (2 for left and 2 for right) are situated in the lower portion of the side speaker columns.
2 low frequency channels (Left and Right) for Bass - The bass speakers are mounted in a specially designed bass chamber that occupies a large area behind the screen with the bass sound directed to the rear of the TV.
The larger screen (79" and 84") models employ 5.2 channel amplifiers adding an additional centre channel.
The extra channel on these models drives full bandwidth centre speakers that are mounted underneath the TV screen (2 speakers for the 79" and 4 speakers on the 84" model). The centre channel sound is directed downwards and is used to assist in providing a solid sound stage for these large screen sizes.
The 2.1 channel speakers deliver crisp clear audio and excellent output, however I still prefer a more powerful 5.1 channel sound system which means that you will have to buy an additional LG sound system.
Smart TV powered by webOS
When you switch this TV on, one thing you will notice is a brand spanking new interface for Smart TV that is based on webOS, a piece of software that was originally used in mobile phones made by the now-defunct Palm brand. Its aim is to provide a solution to the clunky, unintuitive interfaces of previous and current smart TV interfaces.
The webOS interface is based around a Launcher window. This gives you access to all the main portals within the system, including streaming services like YouTube, ABC iView and social services like Skype and Twitter.
One of its most important triumphs is that it looks a lot better than most current TV interfaces. It is more than just about being pretty - a lack of visual intuitiveness is one of the key problems with many current smart TVs. Within minutes of trying to navigate using this new OS you realise that the process is a whole lot easier.
Part of the reason why the new LG webOS TV interface is able to look and feel so slick is that it requires a fair amount of power.
LG actually purchased the webOS operating system from HP after it made its debut on the ill-fated HP tablet in 2011 that was discontinued within weeks.
Gone with the new LG 2014 TV offering is the clunky remotes of old. What you get is a magic remote - a small controller that takes a little bit of getting used to. It's very much a case of steady as you point with the remote, placing a cursor on the screen allowing one to easily navigate the screen like you would a computer screen with a mouse.
The scroll wheel on the magic remote allows you to easily scroll up and down and you can click the direction arrows for side to side control.
This UB980T also has built in Wi-Fi as well a pop up 8-megapixel camera that can be manually raised for Skype calls.
Another advantage with this TV is that one can attach a large hard drive. I connected a 4TB Western Digital drive that had a lot of prior recorded content, and it worked perfectly. I also set up a partition so that I could record content using the twin HD tuners that are built into this TV. This is unlike a Foxtel drive which is only 500GB and fills up very quickly when you want to record your favourite shows during a trip.
Another big advantage is the built-in Intel Wi-FI technology that allows users to beam content from a notebook to the TV. You can also wirelessly mirror an Android device screen to the LG television using Miracast.
The LG UB980T 4K Ultra HD model delivers four times the picture definition of 1080p Full HD - that's eight million pixels compared to two million pixels.
What that means in terms of potential image clarity is more fine detail, greater texture and an almost photographic emulsion of smoothness. A Triple XD Engine decides the colour, contrast and clarity that needs to be delivered taking into account of the setting and room ambience.
When it comes to Full HD and upscaling, this TV delivers an excellent picture.
When watching a Blu-ray Disc movie on the LG UB980T, the upscaling technology kicks in to deliver an excellent high quality movie. Viewing angles were excellent because of the inbuilt IPS (In Plane Switching) panel.
If you are going to move to a new TV, the UB980T has what you need: excellent picture quality, good sound and above all a really impressive webOS management system that seriously sets this model apart from its rivals.
On average, a large TV like this has a life of around five years and what you are getting with the built-in 4K Ultra High Definition technology found in this TV is serious future proofing. LG's display technology and its smartphone processor technology is also built into this TV, and this ensures that what you get are high quality components that are not sourced from other manufacturers, but components that are built by LG. So when you see the LG logo on the TV, you know exactly what you're getting.