Published: October 7, 2013 2:26 PM
By Pierre-Jean Alzieu
Translated by: Catherine Barraclough
The LG 55EA980V curved OLED TV arrived in our test lab at the end of last week and was swiftly hauled off for its first round of testing. Ahead of our full review (coming soon), here's a sneak peek at the first results fresh from the lab, including contrast readings, viewing angles, ghosting time and more.

LG 55EA980W
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After several years in the pipeline, the first big-screen OLED TVs are finally hitting store shelves. And OLED technology could be set to change the shape of the TV market, just like the mass arrival of LCD did not so many years ago. OLED promises to combine all the strong points of plasma technology with those of LCD. And expectations are riding high, with word of wide viewing angles, high contrast, ultra-deep blacks, constant brightness levels over the screen, excellent responsiveness (low ghosting) and relatively restrained power use. So does the LG 55EA980V deliver?

Contrast and Black

LG Oled 55EA980V contrast and black
Extract from the film Batman - The Dark Knight.
Left: LG 55EA980V // Right: Philips 65PFL9708 UHD TV (3000:1).

There's no need for fancy test equipment to see that the black looks perfectly deep, rich and dark with this OLED TV. With the lights switched off for pitch-dark viewing, the onscreen image literally looks like it's floating in the darkness. In fact, it can actually feel a little unnerving if you're used to seeing greyish bands above and below a movie image. With LG's 55EA980V, the black is perfectly black. So much so that it's impossible to make out the TV when watching with the lights off—even after your eyes have had a couple of minutes to adjust to the dark conditions.

LG Oled 55EA980V contrast

But we still had a go at measuring the black with our test sensor to double check what we had seen. And it was no surprise to see the reading come out very close to zero. The contrast ratio can therefore be considered "infinite". In other words, it's perfect!

Viewing Angles

Viewing angles can be problematic with LCD TVs. With LCD screens based on VA technology (PVA, PSA, UV²A, etc.), the black gets so washed out when the screen is watched from an angle that contrast can drop tenfold. IPS technology does a little better, although variations can still reach 70%. Plasma screens aren't affected nearly as much by this kind of problem, however, as brightness levels don't vary by more than 10% when the display is viewed from an angle. That makes plasmas a top choice for home cinema buffs.

LG Oled 55EA980V viewing angles

As you can see from the images above, this OLED screen has viewing angles on par with plasmas. From 45 degrees, we measured the variation in brightness at just 10%.

Uniformity

LG Oled 55EA980V uniformity

Like plasma technology, brightness is kept nice and even over this OLED screen. We measured an average variation in the white level at less than 5%, which makes for excellent screen uniformity!

Responsiveness

LG Oled 55EA980V responsiveness

And this OLED TV has still more impressive performances in store, as screen responsiveness is simply incredible! As soon as an image appears onscreen the previous frame has already gone. We've never seen such an amazing result from a TV! In comparison, the most responsive LCD TVs get ghosting times of 8 ms in our responsiveness tests, whereas the speediest plasmas get around 6 ms. The LG 55EA980V, however, pushes that down under 1 ms. That's so good that we can still hardly believe it!

Power Use

As well as having a monster contrast ratio, an ultra-deep black, uniform brightness levels, wide viewing angles and breath-taking responsiveness, the LG 55EA980V is also a relatively power-efficient TV. On standby, we measured power use at under 1 W. Once switched on and running, this rose to 114 W, which makes 137 W/m² for this 55" (140 cm) model. This is the only field in which LCD TVs actually do a better job (usually running on 100 to 180 W/m²). Still, this OLED model is much more efficient than plasma TVs, which use 450 W/m² on average.

We then measured the max and min power use for this telly when displaying a totally white then totally black onscreen image. With all the diodes switched on (white screen), the TV used 124 W. This dropped to 50 W with all the OLEDs switched off (black screen).

The first test results from this OLED TV look very impressive indeed, but can it deliver on colour fidelity, build, hardware features and more?

Stay tuned for our full review of the LG 55EA980V, coming soon.
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