Spring 2017 update
On April 20, 2017 I reviewed the 2017 successor to this television, the OLEDC7P series.
It delivered slightly better overall image quality than the 2016 B6 reviewed here, particularly with high dynamic range (HDR) material. For that reason, the C7 is now the best TV CNET has ever tested, although later in 2017 other TVs might be even better.
I do mean “slightly better,” however, and both earned my highest possible score, a 10, in picture quality. For most buyers the improvements I noted in side-by-side comparisons aren’t worth the price difference between the two, which is currently $1,000. That’s why the B6 maintains a higher “value” score and a higher overall CNET rating, and remains at the top of our recommended TVs list (which takes price into account) for now.
As the year progresses the B6 will sell out and the C7 will drop in price, and at some point that recommendation will change.
In the meantime, however, the B6 remains an excellent choice if you want a new high-end TV now. Check out the review below, and the 2017 C7 review, for more details.
Editors’ note, April 20, 2017: The rating, introduction, headlines and prices in this review (originally published August 23, 2016) have been updated, but the remainder of the review remains unchanged.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 55-inch LG OLED55B6P, but this review also applies to the 65-inch OLED65B6P. Both sizes in the series have identical specifications and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
The more expensive OLEDE6P series also received a price drop compared to earlier in the year. I reviewed it at the same time as the B6. It has very similar picture quality as well, with most of the differences noted below. For that reason the two reviews are very similar.
The curved version of the B6, the C6, has the same specifications and features — the exception being that the C6 has 3D, while the B6 does not. I prefer flat to curved TVs, but the difference is largely aesthetic. Then there’s the ultra-expensive G6, with its rotating sound bar stand and available 77-inch size. I didn’t test either model, but LG says they all have the same picture quality as the B6 and E6 I did review.
Here’s LG’s full 2016 OLED TV lineup.
LG 2016 4K OLED TVs
|Model||Size||Screen shape||3D capable||Design|
|OLED65G6P||65 inches||Flat||Yes||Picture-on-glass with sound bar|
|OLED77G6P||77 inches||Flat||Yes||Picture-on-glass with sound bar|
There’s thin, then there’s OLED TV thin
Plenty of LCD TVs are exceedingly slim in profile these days, but few take it to the level of OLED. The top half of the B6 TV, which consists of just the OLED panel itself and enough structure to support it, is pencil thin, just 0.18 inch deep. The bottom half, where the electronics, power supply, inputs and other stuff live, is thicker at just under two inches.
The B6 lacks the striking picture-on-glass design of more expensive 2016 LG OLEDs, but it’s still beautiful TV. It’s nearly all picture from the front, with just a tiny LG logo. The stand is angular and darker shade of silver, and adds a mass of transparent plastic on the back to create a more floaty look.
I’m guessing most buyers in this price bracket will opt to wall-mount, though, foregoing the stand. Unlike earlier LG OLEDs, which required a special add-on wall bracket, the B6 and other 2016 models can work with a standard VESA wall mount.
The remote is basically the same as last year, and I’m a fan. LG kept its trademark motion control, which allows you to whip around the menus with a responsive cursor rather than a plodding directional keypad. That keypad is still available too, if you want it, along with a slick rubberized scroll wheel. The step-up E6 and G6 TVs enjoy a new, redesigned remote, although it’s not much better than this one.
Smart TV is solid, but not the best
There’s nothing wrong with LG’s Web OS Smart TV system, and I am glad that response times are snappier than last year throughout the menus, but competing systems (with the exception of Vizio) are better. Roku and Android TV
have more apps and a better design, and Samsung has the unique ability to control more of your gear.
4K streaming with Dolby Vision HDR is available from Netflix, Amazon and Vudu, which outpaces the HDR selection of Samsung (which lacks Vudu’s HDR) and Vizio (which lacks Amazon’s) and matches Sony’s. 4K-capable apps include YouTube and Xfinity’s lame 4K sampler, formerly exclusive to Samsung, which only works for Comcast subscribers.
Other apps are hit or miss. You get Hulu, Crackle, MLB TV, Plex, Google Play Movies and TV, Spotify and Pandora, for example, but LG’s system is missing both HBOs (Go and Now), Showtime (or Anytime), Pluto TV, Sling TV, Watch ESPN, CBS All Access, PBS, PBS Kids and more. Roku and Android TV have all of those, and many more niche apps too, while Samsung’s selection is about the same, give or take a few services. (Note that CNET is a division of CBS.)
You also get voice search and a “content store” but none of it is as easy to use, or as comprehensive, as other systems. In the end you’re best off, as usual, getting your streams from an external device.
Features and connectivity
Key TV features
|HDR compatible:||HDR10 and Dolby Vision|
|Smart TV:||Web OS|
OLED is the dark star of the show here. Its basic tech closer to late, lamented plasma than to the LED LCD (SUHD or otherwise) technology used in the vast majority of today’s TVs. Where LCD relies on a backlight shining through a liquid crystal panel to create the picture, with OLED and plasma, each individual sub-pixel is responsible for creating illumination. That’s why OLED and plasma are known as “emissive” and LED LCD as “transmissive” displays, and a big reason why OLED’s picture quality is so good.
New for 2016 LG is claiming 25 percent higher light output and a wider color gamut compared with previous models like the EF9500. Interestingly, it also says all of its new 2016 OLED TVs have the same picture quality. See the picture quality section below for tests of those claims.
The other big improvement over last year is support for both types of HDR video: Dolby Vision and HDR10. Today at least, that means TVs like the B6 can access more HDR TV shows and movies than other devices. On the other hand, the B6 is also the only 2016 4K OLED TV to lack support for 3D sources. If you want a non-curved 2016 OLED with 3D, your cheapest option is the E6.
The only other features difference between the B6 and E6 is the latter’s superior sound system.
- 4x HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2
- 3x USB ports
- 1x component video input
- 1x composite video input (shared with component)
- Ethernet (LAN) port
- Optical digital audio output
- RF (antenna) input
- Remote (RS-232) port (minijack)
The selection of connections is top-notch. Unlike many of Samsung’s sets, this one actually has an analog video input for legacy (non-HDMI) devices.
There’s nothing like OLED, and the B6 and E6 are the best OLED TVs I’ve tested so far. They improve on the EF9500 from last year with better brightness, wider color gamut and better uniformity in dark areas. They’re not perfect, but they’re better than any LCD TV I’ve tested. To be fair, however, my comparison crop didn’t include the very best 2016 LCD TVs from Samsung (the KS9800) and Sony (the Z9D), so I can’t say for sure whether the B6 is better than them.
If you’re looking for differences between the two, this review isn’t the place to find them. According to my eyes and measurements both were equally adept with the vast majority of stuff I tested. The B6 did have a bit less input lag for gaming, there were slight differences in video processing, and the E6 was a bit brighter, but I can’t say whether that was the result of their screen size differences.
And in case you’re looking for a link to my picture settings, I’m not going to provide them for this review. Check out my calibration and HDR notes for details.
Dim lighting: OLED was king here. All four of the OLED TVs in my lineup produced equally perfect black, compared with the variously lighter shades of black found on the LCD TVs. As usual the difference showed up most in dark scenes, for example in “The Revenant” Chapter 21 where Hugh emerges into the searchers’ torchlight. The black bars above and below the image, the shadows among the trees, and Hugh’s silhouette all appeared in true black or very dark shadow, and all looked blacker and more realistic than any of the LED LCD sets.