LG OLED55B6P 4K HDR OLED TV REVIEW
The LG B6 OLED TV is the company’s most affordable OLED television, but it’s got the same stunning picture quality you should expect from any of LG’s other OLED models, right up to the super-premium Signature G6 OLED. So, if the B6’s picture quality is the same but the TV is less expensive, what must you give up? As it turns out, the answer is very little.
For this review, we’ll go ahead and rehash some of the glowing things we said earlier this year about LG’s OLED TV picture quality, clarify some of its outstanding features, and go over the short list of things you don’t get with this model. Ultimately, though, here’s what we want you take away: The LG B6 OLED offers the best picture quality you can buy today, at the best price yet.
Out of the Box
No shortage of ink has been spilled over how incredibly thin OLED TVs are, and the B6’s panel itself is certainly impressive in that respect, measuring thinner than an iPhone 6. Keep in mind that all the hardware needed to light up that panel has to go somewhere, and in the case of the B6, that place is the lower half of TV’s back panel, where the unit’s total depth is extended to about 9 inches. Even so, the TV still looks incredible mounted on a wall.
Without its table-top stand, the B6 weighs just 35.7 pounds, and with the stand just 43 pounds.
Riding along with the TV is an accessories box which contains our favorite iteration of LG’s Magic Motion remote (more dedicated buttons!), along with batteries for said remote and some product literature.
Features and User Experience
LG distinguished itself from its competition this year by offering a healthy selection of TV models which support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, two different High Dynamic Range (HDR) formats which have a noticeable impact on picture quality when watching HDR content, the bulk of which can be streamed from Netflix and Amazon or sourced from Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Presently, Dolby Vision is only available on certain streaming programs, but it will soon be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray too, and when it is, it will offer yet another hike in picture quality for OLED owners since Dolby’s flavor of HDR can adjust to suit a TV’s contrast capabilities – a fact worth noting here since OLED currently offers better black levels than other displays on the market.
The screen’s perfect black results in contrast that really must be seen to be understood.
Add in four HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2 support and you’ve got a 4K Ultra HD TV that is as well steeled against future developments as you could hope to have right now.
WebOS 3.0 continues to serve as LG’s operating system and smart TV platform, and remains one of our favorite on the market (in a close tie with Samsung’s Tizen OS). If you don’t care for waving your remote around like a magic wand, you can always use the more conventional directional pad and enter key along with dedicated buttons for things like input selection and settings menu access. Still, I think users will find moving the cursor by aiming the remote a pretty big help when entering text for usernames and passwords.
WebOS 3.0 also offers some convenience features like keeping apps open in the background for instant access and quick switching to and from other apps or TV channels; no need to reload Netflix every time you pop out to check on game scores – Netflix will automatically resume right where you left off, and making the switch is lightning quick.
What you don’t get with the B6 model is a built-in premium sound system or a super-fancy “screen on glass” effect that come with some of LG’s higher-end models. I don’t miss the integrated sound bar found in the company’s flagship G6 Signature OLED much, to be honest – the B6’s sound quality is decent for such a thin TV, and better sound can be had with a third-party sound bar anyway, or, better yet, a full-on surround system.
Most TV manufacturers are dropping 3D entirely, but I recognize some still enjoy it. Keep in mind that if you choose the B6 OLED, you must give up on your dreams of in-home 3D. If it’s any consolation, I don’t think you’ll miss it much.
As for design, this is a very handsome TV, and it’s flat, too! No more having to accept a curved screen to get that premium OLED picture quality.
As I stated above, the B6 offers the best picture quality money can buy today, owed mostly to its perfect black levels, but also to increased brightness over prior years, and dazzling color capabilities.
Clearly, a lot rides on that perfect black level component. The hard fact is that LED/LCD TVs simply can’t avoid certain pitfalls due to their LED backlighting systems – there will always be some degree of light leakage, blooming, and halo around bright objects. The OLED doesn’t suffer these issues because when a pixel is off, it is completely off and completely black. This results in contrast that really must be seen to be understood. Still, I’ll try to illustrate: Imagine a scene in a film showing a big, bright moon against a dark night sky. On an LED TV, you’d notice that the letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the TV aren’t perfectly black as they should be, the dark sky appears to have a subtle shade of dark blue to it, and you’ll note that the moon’s edges are somewhat soft, with a bit of glow extending past what should be the edges. By contrast, an OLED TV will have perfectly black letterbox bars, a perfectly black night sky, and the edges of the moon will be razor sharp, with no glow spilling out onto the screen. Plus, any stars in the night sky will be tiny pinpricks of light rather than splotchy dots.
Clean lines and outstanding contrast set the stage for everything else the B6 OLED can do. Its color is deep and vibrant, with subtle shades rendered beautifully. When you watch HDR content on this TV, you will see colors in movies you know very well were never there before. For me, that moment came when I watched JJ Abrams’ Star Trek for the 43rd time. Crimson hues burst from the crew’s uniforms, the sky took on a new shade of blue, and Uhura’s sexy, green-skinned Alien roommate, Gaila, leapt off the screen in a shade I found completely unfamiliar. You may think you’ve seen your movies before, but until you’ve seen a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray where a colorist has taken free reign in the mastering process, you have no idea what is possible.