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LG 49UH668V review

 Review: June 2016  
 

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The LG 49UH668V is a good TV for family viewing, with a big 4K screen and HDR10 compatibility, plus all the benefits of Smart TV - BBC iPlayer, Netflix 4K and Amazon Instant Video. Colours are bright and bold, adding to the TV's instant appeal, but sports fans and movie buffs might find fault with its motion blur and lack of shadow detail.

Best buy: LG 49UH668V from Currys (£699.00)



 

Design & looks

The LG 49UH668V is a mid-range model in LG's UHD TV range for 2016, with mid-range looks. We found its appearance to be quite chunky overall, with a thick metal crescent-shaped stand that's quite dominating. The brushed metal bezel surrounding the screen matches the stand, and the chassis of the TV is very deep, measuring almost 8cm at its thickest point. It's a bulky TV, and quite wobbly, despite the heavy-duty appearance of the stand.

Picture quality

The LG 49UH668V is a UHD (4K) TV with High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatibility. In fact, it's a HDR Pro TV, which is LG's name for the HDR10 standard. That means this screen uses 10-bit colour for up to 1 billion colours - better than many cheaper so-called HDR TVs. The screen certainly produces bright images with vivid colours.

Unlike Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, LG continues to use IPS screens in its LED TVs. IPS screens are good at producing bright colours with wide viewing angles, and a lot of people like the way they look. There's no doubt that the screen "pops" when viewing well-lit scenes. But IPS panels suffer from two intrinsic problems - they are slow, and they can't reach the deep black levels of rival screens.

There isn't a lot to be done about the slow native response of this screen, although clever motion compensation algorithms can go some way, at the expense of introducing an artificially-smooth "soap opera" effect. We found that like most LG LED TVs, the UH668V shows motion blur that's often noticeable in fast-moving scenes.

The second problem - low contrast - has been addressed by LG with a local dimming backlighting system. This certainly solves the problem of black levels, enabling the TV to reach very deep blacks, as well as very bright colours. But the system aggressively kills off shadow detail, producing an effect similar to turning the contrast levels up too high on an old-fashioned CRT television.

So, while the TV has plenty of headline-grabbing features that suggest top picture quality (UHD, HDR10, ULTRA Luminance and local dimming), and is superficially very attention-grabbing, in actual use the problems of motion blur and loss of shadow detail can be problematic.

Audio quality

The UH668V has a typical mid-range sound system consisting of two 10W speakers with simulated surround sound. The Clear Voice III feature helps to make dialogue clear, but there's little in the way of sound effects in movies. A soundbar is definitely recommended as an additional accessory with this TV.

Smart TV

The TV uses LG's latest WebOS 3.0 operating system to provide a raft of Smart functionality. From the menu you can select channels, access catch-up TV and on-demand content, and install a range of apps. You can also control devices such as a Blu-Ray player or home cinema system from within the WebOS user interface.

Catch-up TV services include the BBC iPlayer and Demand 5. There's on-demand content from the LG Content store, Netflix 4K and Amazon Instant Video. You'll also find a web browser, social media, YouTube, and access to apps from the LG Store.

Connectivity

The UH668V scores well for connectivity. In addition to 3 HDMI connections, digital audio output, a combined component/composite input, and a USB, the TV can connect to terrestrial (Freeview), cable and satellite sources. Smart networking is available via ethernet and built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth support is also provided. The TV handles home networking with ease, using either DLNA networking or Miracast to display content from other devices in your home, including wireless display mirroring of a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Conclusion - a mid-range HDR-capable TV

The LG 49UH668V could make a decent option for a family TV. It's priced fairly for a 49-inch UHD TV, and HDR10 compatibility makes it future-proof. The wide viewing angles and good daylight brightness make it a versatile option for family viewing, and the excellent WebOS 3.0 Smart TV provides the essential catch-up TV services and streaming content from Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube that a modern family needs.

But the picture quality isn't as good as we'd like. Motion blur and the aggressive flattening of shadow detail are a problem once you become aware of them, and this isn't a recommended TV for watching films or sport.

At launch, the UH668V is priced at just under £1000. At S21, we don't think it's worth that much. We'd be more comfortable paying £800 for this TV. Better still, we'd widen our search and consider the outstanding Samsung KU6470 TV instead.


LG 49UH668V features include:

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User questions

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Hello, i tried to connect ntfs formated hardrive but unsuccessfuly. Is it supports only fat32?

Asked by Andreas from Uk on 22nd Dec 2016

Speed of usb 2.0 sufficient for 4K videos?

Asked by Peter from Slovakia on 14th Dec 2016
I bougth the 49 version and expecting it to be delivered tomorrow on 15th december. What wonders me the most, why are they building those TVs with usb 2.0. Only 7xxx models have USB 3.0. For example if I put an 4k bluray video on the USB 2.0 stick, I am affraid the speed of the usb 2.0 wouldn't be fast enough to play 4k video smoothly. Should I be concerned about this, or are the videos from USB running smoothly?

Reply by Shad from UK on 14th Dec 2016
4K Streaming services like Netflix say you need a 15 Mega BITs Per Second (Mbps) minimum internet connection to stream 4K.

A USB 2.0 interface can operate at a maximum of 480 Mbps.

So yes, USB 2.0 is sufficient and should not be a limiting factor.

However, the speed and size of the memory in that memory stick could be.

If memory serves, the TV can handle a max 32GB stick or a 2TB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Depending on the codec/compression used, a memory stick may not be big enough for a good quality/long movie.

Also, if you go down the HDD route, get a drive with it's own power supply. A lot of portable drives now use USB 3.0 and take all their power from the USB port. That's fine if it's a USB 3.0 port, but a USB 2.0 port has a lower power rating and may not be enough to power the HDD.

Any ideas on the input lag on this TV?

Asked by Nick from England on 18th Nov 2016
I can't find that information anywhere else!

Reply by Pete from UK on 21st Nov 2016
I've heard the 664v is 22ms so should be fine if you're a hardcore gamer.

See all 6 questions

LG 49UH668V user reviews

Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!

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Reviewed by marius from UK on 12th Nov 2016
I've got the 55" version of this.
Image is BETTER then same-priced Samsung, Sony, Phillips. I am a Sony fan, but had to give it to LG for this TV.
Motion blur and shadow detail/Amoled screens are things you buy for a lot of money, so saying this is a medium TV just because it just happens not to be on par with 144 v-sync monitors (I've got one), is quite silly, I was expecting more from s21. The audio internals are indeed decent, but the built-in speakers are simply there to say the unit has speakers: the sound quality inside demands proper soundbar/speakers.
It took me a while to decide to buy this 55" model, got it for 799 and it's been passing all my subjective tests with flying colours. The next imaginable step up is only the 2000+ pounds models from Samsung, which doesn't fall into family TV category anymore, but pay-for-innovation category... and any TV requires stand-alone speakers, including those high-priced ones, so the speakers are not really a downside; even a 200£ stereo setup will simply transform your TV into something magical.
All of this is my personal opinion, ymmv, but whoever reads this: the image quality of this TV is beautiful, and to gain a bit more quality, you need to pay about double or more.
Thanks for reading,
Marius
Rating:

Reply by Loz from UK on 18th Nov 2016
Thank you Maruis.
Appreciate you taking the time to give an objective opinion.
Much appreciated, I think I will take the plunge.
Thanks,
Loz

Reply by Paul from United Kingdom on 2nd Jan 2017
Thanks for the review i will buy this and also put up a review when it arrives in a few days.


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