If you were to look at LG’s product page, you would encounter more than a dozen 55-inch TVs, each sporting a unique combination of features and technologies. A good number of these aren’t very old either, making the whole selection process a bit daunting, especially since 55 inches is the common size for many experiments. The cheap ones have a 1080p display with a basic Smart TV interface while a few others come with Google TV and some recent ones with webOS installed. Most of these displays are LED while the most expensive ones use OLED technology. 4K is another emerging standard but the price is more reasonable. The LG 55UB8500 combines the cutting-edge webOS operating system with all the cool features, including 4K and 3D, and comes out the low price of $2,299. Understanding why this is a great buy means discovering exactly how these features work together.
LG is known for its varied approaches of stand design and the 55UB8500 manages to take on yet another unique approach. Once again, it focuses on stability where the width of the stand is almost the same as the display itself. It looks surprisingly simple but manages to look attractive nevertheless with its horizontal bar that curves upward and back downward to form a leg on each side. With the exception of the bottom bezel, the borders are very thin and there is a slight downward curve on the bottom for the LG logo. It also weighs around 5 pounds less than the pricier LG 55UB9500 model. As a whole, the front of the LG 55UB8500 makes 2013 displays look obsolete.
The connection ports should be sufficient for a standard home theater system. You get 4 HDMI ports and 3 USB ports all conveniently found on the side which means that they can still be accessed even if you mount the TV to the wall. The remaining connections are located on the back of the TV.
The 55UB8500 may be around $1,000 cheaper than the LG 55UB9500 but this 55-inch LG display has a very similar feature set. In fact, both of these TVs provide the same network-connected experience making the LG 55UB8500 a clear pick if want a 4K TV with all the webOS goodies. webOS is not your average online TV portal; it is very bold, trendy and most importantly speedy and user friendly. You will see some fun animations revolving around an onscreen mascot named Bean Bird who helps you set up the TV right from the start. The “Home” menu is unlike any other Smart TV with a neat scrollable dock with stripes containing icons. Above is the status bar showing things like the time and you can still continue to watch your active source.
This innovative menu can be brought up by pressing the “Home” button on the included LG Magic Remote. You use the remote as a pointer and simply point to the app you wish to launch. The app immediately loads with this cool animation. The best thing about webOS is its multitasking capabilities. Just press the “Home” button again from the app and you’ll see the same familiar dock. This dock can be customized so you can put all of your favorite apps front and center. It is also easy to go to the LG App Store to see what other apps you can download. The app selection is pretty good too with plenty of popular streaming services and games to boot.
The LG 55UB8500 is pretty hot on local networking features too. It is armed to the teeth with built-in Wi-Fi, support for Wi-Fi Direct, SIMPLINK, MHL and even Miracast and WiDi. Using the Ethernet port is completely optional making the network setup process simple. Once you are good to go, you should be able to stream music and movies from smartphones, tablets and PCs to the TV with ease. WiDi and Miracast support make it easy to do wireless screen sharing as well.
The 55UB8500 also has all the 3D features found in the older TVs including a 2D to 3D conversion feature and vice-versa along with 20 levels of 3D viewpoint control. You will find 2 pairs of passive 3D glasses in the package and they do not require batteries.
All the modern content shown on the LG 55UB8500 looks fantastic for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this LED TV utilizes an IPS panel which is a good choice for getting good viewing angles and maintaining accurate colors. The best part of the 55UB8500 is the Tru-4K Engine because it lets any type of content tap into the 3840×2140 resolution. Just like the way older TVs would upscale DVD content to full HD, this resolution enhancer upscales SD and full HD content to 4K and the results are amazing. But nothing beats watching native 4K content and for the time being, you can enjoy some of that through the Netflix app (subscription is required). You are also guaranteed support for future 4K content from networks and studios because the LG 55UB8500 has the HEVC or High Efficiency Video Coding Decoder. The UCI 1200 rating also represents how good the TV is in eliminating motion blur and smoothening out the visuals. This makes the 55UB8500 a pretty suitable display for gaming as a result.
The right LG for you still boils down to your exact preferences, and since LG provides such a vast selection of 55-inch LG displays, you should be able to get a good TV for a very reasonable price. If you don’t mind spending about $2,300, you should consider the LG 55UB8500 as a frontrunner because 55 inches is the sweet spot for big living room TVs that can still fit and the 4K ensures support for the newer generation. Finally webOS brings out a fantastic experience that doesn’t feel bloated. Consider the 55U9500 only if you want a superior audio experience and an even better upscaling engine.
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