A TV with a 55-inch screen is often considered as the borderline that separates the small TVs from the huge ones. For the average living room, this is the ideal size as it looks really big, still fits in the living room and has a reasonable price if you really take the time to pick the right one. When you consider all the brands and models, 55-inch TVs can cost from as cheap as $800 to well over $9,000. Oftentimes, the cheap displays have fewer features while still maintaining some impressive technologies to make the picture quality appreciable for consumers on a budget. But then there are TVs like the LG 55UB8200 which are priced above $2,000 but are lacking on the feature side of things. This is because the 55UB8200 has a 4K resolution and knowing why this is a big deal is important before you consider a TV like this.
The LG 55UB8200 looks more like one of those large screens for a projector. But the 55UB8200 is indeed a TV with an impressively thin bezel and a slightly thicker bezel on the bottom to house the LG logo. It is the legs on the left and right of the display that make it a bit less TV-like although it is a common element of larger TVs since they require the additional stability. You just need to measure the width of the display and compare it to the width of the surface you intend to place it on. If you have a clean wall, you can also purchase a VESA 400×400 mount and attach the TV to the wall as the stands are removable. Just make sure you set up the connections in advance because there are 2 HDMI ports on the back as well as the LAN jack which you need to use for Internet connectivity because the LG 55UB8200 lacks Wi-Fi. There is a more accessible HDMI port on the side and a trio of USB ports (one of them USB 3.0-enabled). The rest of the ports are pretty typical and can also be located at the rear.
Most 55-inch TVs that cost over $2,000 would most probably have pretty high-end online connectivity features. But the 55UB8200 gets a small portion of that to put this 4K display in the budget category. LG’s webOS operating system isn’t installed in this TV so you are left with a pretty barebones interface that still takes advantage of your Internet connection. While you won’t be able to install apps on this TV, it does come with Netflix and that’s important. This not only allows Netflix subscribers to easily enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows but it also offers a growing selection of 4K content. If you are going to spend extra on a pricey TV because of that 4K display, you might as well play back some 4K content and give your eyes a treat. You can access other premium VOD services on the LG 55UB8200 as well including YouTube, Hulu Plus and a few others. There is also a Skype app but you need to buy the camera accessory separately if you really wish to engage in video conversions through the TV. The LG Recommendations service is available as well so you can enjoy the leisure of having the TV suggest programs for you. If you have friends that own an LG TV as well, they can also provide recommendations to you. Your home network can benefit from a network-connected TV too. It works like other mainstream TVs in the sense that you can have tablets, mobile devices and laptops to stream multimedia to the TV.
4K isn’t just the only reason to consider the 55UB8200. It turns out that this advanced panel and its internals improve image quality in general. It uses an IPS 4K panel which is the same technology being used by mainstream consumer electronic devices including the iPhone. It makes the viewing angles fantastic and keeps the colors accurate without the unwanted blackening effect.
But it isn’t the panel that does the work alone; there is a special technology called the Tru-4K Engine which allows other types of content to utilize the 4K resolution. 4K is equivalent to a lot of pixels (more than 8 million) and watching 1080p content on a large ultra-high-resolution display without an upscaling technology would look subpar. What the Tru-4K Engine does is that it analyzes the source and intelligently enhances the detail so it looks really good. Action movies, sports programs and even video games and SD sources get these benefits. This might make 4K less valuable but it is still an experience that shouldn’t be missed because the LG 55UB8200 also features an HEVC Decoder. This compression format is vital to making the upcoming 4K content work properly so the 55UB8200 will still feel like a very mainstream TV several years later when there are real 4K movies out there. On top of that, LG has given a UCI of 1080. This stands for Ultra Clarity Index and while it isn’t the highest rating of its TV lineup, 1080 still signifies the TV’s ability to show off clear pictures while minimizing motion blur too.
With an impressive set of specs, you would expect the LG 55UB8200 to consume more power than a 1080p display. Fortunately, that isn’t the case as the panel has good efficiency and the Energy Star certification is proof. Don’t worry about upgrading from an older display especially if you are going from a plasma one.
$2,199 is a lot of money to pay for a 55-inch TV in 2014. However, it becomes a lot more reasonable once you keep your expectations in check. Expect a TV that isn’t big on the Internet features, which can be a good thing since many consumers consider that as bloat. Not all people that purchase a flagship “Smart TV” will use these features especially if they already have a set-top box. Thanks to the Tru-4K Engine, you will use the picture enhancing features no matter what, so you actually get more bang for your buck with the 55UB8200.
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