Last year we saw TV sets from other manufacturers that used LG’s OLED panels for the first time. And the success of OLED in the premium market seems to grow steadily. However, LG wants to continue to profile itself as the market leader for OLED, and is therefore taking a step forward in the new 2018 models. We tested the LG OLED65E8PLA (E8 series) OLED TV, with its new image processor, auto calibration, and a smarter WebOS.
LG OLED65E8PLA – specifications
- What: Ultra HD oled TV
- Screen size: 65 inch (165 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (1x ARC 4x v2.0a), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB, 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HFR, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, WebOS 3.5, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock, Auto calibration
- Dimensions: 1.449 x 910 x 222 mm (including foot)
- Weight: 29 , 9 kg (incl. Foot)
- Consumption: 150 / 0.3 watt (Energy Label A)
- List price: 4.999 euro
A complete overview of all the models that LG brought to the market in 2018, can be found in the 2018 LG TV line-up. Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.
LG OLED65E8PLA – design
Design is an important item in the premium segment. A 65 inch device is impressive, and we would like it to be a design object in the living room, and not as a bulky colossus. LG still uses the Picture-on-glass design on the E8 series, but although there are many similarities with last year’s model, there are also striking differences. The screen is mounted on a glass plate, but it only protrudes a millimeter past the screen. The foot is also reminiscent of last year, a central aluminum base plate that tilts slightly forward.
However, the fastening mechanism has changed considerably. The glass plate continues on to your TV cabinet, and seems to cut the foot in half, as it were. During the assembly we asked ourselves if this is correct, because the foot really grasps the glass over a small 60 centimeter width and 3 cm height. With that, he tows the entire screen. That looks really fantastic, but anyone who grabs the television on the top can easily make the screen wobble.
The device is equipped with four HDMI connections, of which three are on the side and one on the rear end. They are all ready for Ultra HD HDR. On the side we also find a USB connection, and at the back two extra USB connections, the headphone output, optical digital output, network connection and antenna connections. All connections at the back point to the rear wall, so that’s a point of interest if you choose wall mounting.
The headphone jack is located quite deep behind the device and is therefore difficult to reach. You can optionally connect an adapter cable and put it within reach, or you can use a Bluetooth headset.
LG OLED65E8PLA – ease of use
The installation is quick and easy. We now notice how many permissions you have to give for recommendations, voice commands, smart TV usage and general terms and conditions. That is the case with all manufacturers, and certainly not only with LG. But we point out that whoever does not like to share data, must pay attention to the installation and carefully read the questions.
You can still reach the menus in two steps. A push of the settings button takes you to the Quick Menu where you can quickly change the picture and sound mode. From there you go to the general settings, where you can find all the settings. Compared to last year, there are only a few minor organizational changes.
The Magic Remote is an important part of the ease of use of WebOS. You simply point it on the screen, and move the cursor by moving the remote. You point to things on the screen, as it were. Where the E7 got a slightly more luxurious version last year, the complete line-up is now equipped with the standard Magic Remote. That’s a great decision, because the remote is easy to handle, and it has enough keys to function perfectly even without the pointing function.
There are two specific keys for Netflix and Amazon Video . Via the built-in microphone, you can not only record searches for YouTube or the entire web, but you can also activate various TV functions. LG also hopes to make a software release available by the summer, so that you could also use the remote to control your set-top box for digital TV.
LG OLED65E8PLA – features
Smart TV platform
WebOS, the smart tv system of LG is now in version 3.5. The playful but very handy interface remains one of our favorites. In daily use you will find everything on the Home screen that takes the form of a ribbon at the bottom of the screen with icons for all sources on the device, from live TV, to external inputs and internet applications.
 The main differences in the interface are cosmetic, the Search function is now also on the Home screen and the content store has a new layout.
The most important new function is the addition of ThinQ AI. That is an advanced way of voice control that recognizes a whole series of smart voice commands. You can also link Google Home or Amazon Echo to the LG TV so you can even enter voice commands without the remote. That link is currently not yet available in Belgium and the Netherlands.
A more important problem is that ThinQ AI does not yet speak Dutch. When Dutch arrives, LG could not tell us. Those who wish can help with English, French, German or Spanish. To do this, you not only have to set the voice recognition in the desired language, but also switch the menus to the same language. You can always use commands to control the TV (such as volume and channel or switch to game mode). But to use the real smart things that also appeal to the program guide you should of course look through the built-in tuners, and with the help of a CI + card. You also need to change your location to UK, for example, and you need to enter a zip code. Even then it does not work completely, presumably because the channels set do not match what the TV expects. For full functionality there is therefore little else than waiting for Dutch to be supported.
The media player plays all known music formats, including ALAC and FLAC. It is also very versatile for video, where it plays all of our test formats, both in SDR and HDR and with all subtitles.
LG OLED65E8PLA – Image quality
The 2018 models from LG are equipped with a new OLED panel, but LG said that there are no material differences with last year’s panel. The devices use a new image processor the Alpha9, so it is in that area that we expect the most important improvements. Just like last year, all 2018 models use the same panel and processor (except for the B8 series that uses the Alpha7 processor). There are only differences for design and sound.
In our article on the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities to work with a professional. the best picture settings. If you want to get started yourself, please go to our home cinema information guide. Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.
|General||Advanced operation||Picture Options|
|Picture mode: Cinema
Setting end aspect ratio: Original
Energy saving: Off
OLED Light: 80
|Dynamic Contrast: Off
Super resolution: Low
Color range : Auto
Color filter: Off
Gamma: 2.2 / BT.1886
White balance: Warm2
|Noise reduction: Low *
MPEG noise reduction: Low *
Black level: Automatic
Real Cinema : On
Motion Eye Care: From
TruMotion: Clear (or modified)
Explanation of main settings;
- The Cinema setting provides the best start. The ISF presets are an alternative for those who want day and night versions.
- The effect of Superresolution is very limited. You can leave it safely activated.
- Noise reduction and MPEG noise reduction are best activated if you start from a bad source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube). Especially MPEG noise reduction is best left on Low because it also eliminates color bands.
- TruMotion: Clear gave the best results. Do not put it out, you lose too much detail. Anyone who chooses a personal institution can put deblur between 8 and 10, and the adjudicator between 7 and 9.
General image and image processing
With the new Alpha9 processor, LG wants to show that in terms of image processing it is at the top of the platoon is running.
LG could already boast of excellent image processing last year. , and that is a good basis for the improvements this year. Very good deinterlacing makes you rarely or never see serrated edges or moiré effects. The noise reduction was improved. Especially the MPEG noise reduction, which typically prevents blocking, now also works specifically on those annoying color bands that you sometimes see in very soft gradients. We therefore recommend to activate that setting at least in low mode. In that position you already work out a little, but really annoying effects require a higher attitude. In that case we sometimes found the image a bit too soft and stripped of structure. So experiment with what you think is acceptable.
The upscaling of older content is excellent, but with DVD content we notice again that the result is sometimes a bit soft. As soon as you use Full HD content, the result is excellent, with great sharpness and detail, although you can not really set the sharpness above 15-20 to avoid a ‘sharp’ look.
 The motion sharpness is excellent, but is still at the typical level of OLED, and therefore hides the finest detail. This year LG has provided a kind of Black Frame Insertion (under the user setting of TruMotion you will find the setting Motion Pro). It delivers real but minimal added value and we sometimes see the image clearly flicker. You can consider it for Sport, but we recommend to leave it out. The ‘Bright’ mode is the best choice for those who dislike images that are too fluid. But the ‘Fluent’ mode is, as we saw in demo, significantly improved. There is significantly less halo visible around objects moving against a complex background. Those who like to eliminate the stutter from pan images can safely use this setting.
The SDR calibration of this LG in Cinema mode is, just like last year, of reference level. So out of the box this TV could take a seat in the film studio. The gray scale is perfectly neutral, color range and color reproduction are perfect. The gamma value of 2.2 is a good choice for all-round use. Anyone who looks at eclipse to go for the real cinema effect can adjust the gamma value to BT.1886 for a little more emphasis on dark display. The E8 also shows very well all black detail, which was a problem for previous generations.
Wide support for HDR remains an asset on the LG OLED TVs. Just like last year, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision are provided. LG also supports Technicolor HDR, but since we have not yet heard about any content of that format, that is less important for the time being. LG could not tell us anything about HDR10+, but since that is the preferred format from Samsung, we would not be surprised if that format is still lacking.
For HDR10 and HLG LG provides its own form of dynamic tonemapping , with which it simulates the use of dynamic metadata. You can activate this using ‘Dynamic Tone Mapping’. The result is that certain parts of the image become slightly brighter, but especially in the highlights you notice that with dynamic tonemapping much more light detail is visible. In the picture below this is clearly noticeable in the central cloud head.
The basic performance has changed little. The screen provides a peak luminance of approximately 750 nits. It can increase to about 810 nits over time. On a completely white screen, the maximum is about 147 nits. Color range clocked up to well-known values: about 97% DCI-P3 and 71% Rec.2020. In short, this panel does not seem to perform substantially better than the previous one.
The calibration is excellent, yes, even exemplary. The gray scale is nicely neutral and perfectly follows the required brightness curve, and neatly displays all white detail. The results clearly show that LG’s new chip allows precise calibration. HDR images are also to be feasted on this television.
Anyone who wants to give an existing HDR look in the image settings chooses the preset HDR effect. With three different strengths you can determine the impact yourself. We are still not convinced of the result, the color temperature gets a bit too cool, and the colors a bit too intense.
Reflections and viewing angles
OLED screens have an excellent viewing angle, so that also who is not right in front of the image can enjoy the excellent contrast and colors. The LG refutes reflections well, but attention to the right lighting is required.
In cinema mode we measure a 100 ms layer, quite high, even for a casual gamer. In game mode the lag drops to 21.4 ms which is an excellent result. We also see these two results in HDR mode. The screen is a decent choice for gamers.
LG OLED65E8PLA – Audio quality
Where the E7 was equipped with a clearly visible soundbar, the E8 has been discreetly concealed in the design. Just below the screen is a border of approximately three centimeters of perforated black metal, behind which are the various drivers. The sound system delivers 60 watts of music power and a 4.2 configuration. The LG also supports Dolby Atmos. That narrow frame surprisingly delivers a very sturdy sound of excellent quality. There is more than enough volume, and the sound is full of a lot of bass. If you let the volume climb too high, the bass sounds a bit messy. We recommend to leave Adaptive Sound Control on and choose a suitable audio mode. You can leave Dolby Atmos activated, although you can not expect real Atmos results from normal music or film. If you deliver an Atmos soundtrack, the E8 succeeds in creating a light surround feeling. If you want to optimize the sound, you can adapt the sound to the acoustics of the room with the help of ‘One Touch Sound Tuning’ and the Magic remote. This is certainly worth trying.
For the lay measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use HDFury Vertex.
LG OLED65E8PLA – Conclusion
The LG E8 series is for those who want to combine OLED image quality with good design and good sound. Our main complaint is that ThinQ AI, the extensive voice control and major renewal of LG this year, is not yet available in Dutch. There is also no date in the prospect that this will change. The design looks great, but keep children’s hands away from this screen, it wobbles easily. The price is correspondingly, not exceptional for a top model, but of course it remains expensive. However, you get the same image quality with the C8 which is considerably cheaper.
The OLED65E8PLA does a fantastic job on image. The image quality is excellent, even from reference level, both for SDR and HDR. Excellent shadow detail, incredible contrast and plenty of brightness and color for beautiful HDR images. The new image processing eliminates a few earlier weaknesses, such as contouring and excessive halos at Trumotion. The sound is attractive and powerful, even though the speakers are hardly visible. The E8 is a pleasure for film fans, sports enthusiasts and gamers.