Imagine if we could shift our waistlines, hide them away, and trade them for the hourglass figures of runway models? That’s the ingenious design logic behind LG’s 65-inch 4K OLED Wallpaper TV, known as the W7. Nearly all the electronic guts bloating out the back of a “normal” TV set have been shifted to the unit’s sound bar, which sits separately underneath.
What you get is a wallpaper-thin TV display, just 2.57mm thick. The year is young but the W7 is a solid contender for the TV of the year.
You will need a lightning-fast connection between that wafer-thin display and the sound bar, and LG does that with a 2.1-metre printed circuit board cable. It’s as if the electronics are simply extended between devices.
Apart from hosting the TV’s electronics and its own sound electronics, the sound bar spits out Dolby Atmos sound and has ports at the back for connecting your Blu-ray player, games consoles, Apple TV and other devices.
If you place the sound bar on top of a TV cabinet, you can hide all these devices inside, poke the cords out the back and attach them to the sound bar without anything showing out front. It’s a neat, hideaway solution.
The showstopper is the ultra-thin TV unit, which has to be wall mounted. There is no stand, no alternative choice. Thankfully, mounting is simple.
You attach magnetic brackets to the wall, and screw them in. The display unit is so light (7.6kg), you don’t have to screw it into wall studs, just the wall. The TV is not going to tear it down. The display clips magnetically onto the brackets, sitting flush.
This simple mounting system bypasses the normal problem of threading cords up the inside of the wall.
With just one cable to worry about, it’s not hard to disguise the printed circuit board cabling. You can make it look unobtrusive. The 2.1-metre length does limit how high you mount the TV.
You couldn’t place it near the top of a wall, unless you mount the sound bar up the wall too.
As for display quality: OLED displays stand out above the rest. The extra brightness, razor-like clarity, jet blacks and stark whites are stunning. OLED displays have a carbon-based electroluminescent layer that produces both light and intense colour. You get a totally even distribution and clear images when viewing the W7 from the sides.
Unfortunately for LG, it won’t have the OLED space to itself for long with Sony previewing the A1 OLED and Panasonic its EZ1000 series in Las Vegas in January. But LG won’t be crying into its Cornflakes bowl in the mornings, as it reportedly makes the OLED panels for both.
Navigating LG smart TVs using its webOS operating system was always easy; it’s easy again in 2017 with an updated smart TV operating system: webOS 3.5. Using LG’s magic remote, it takes a gentle flick of the wrist to move through the row of icons at the bottom of the screen. Flick to the left for TV channels, and to the right for other smart TV contents such as apps, music, TV scheduling, recorded TV and search.
The W7 comes with two magic remotes. There’s full-sized and cutdown versions.
The full-sized version includes dedicated buttons for streamed content from Netflix and Amazon Prime and you can assign other apps to the digit buttons 1 to 9. LG’s magic remote has more buttons and isn’t as simply laid out as Samsung’s remote, but many will be at home with LG’s more conventional style.
You can still use it like a wand to effortlessly move that big pink tear dropped-shaped cursor across the screen.
If you have a recent LG phone, you can operate your phone while it’s mirrored on the TV display using the remote. You can even type and send text messages on your phone by selecting keys with the magic remote cursor.
Then there’s the Dolby Atmos sound bar, which brings a 3D aural experience, recreating sound coming from afar, from one side, or even from above. Meanwhile, Dolby Vision seeks to retain more of the original colours and contrast shot by the camera, and not standardised to fit a predefined colour/brightness range.
The W7 also supports HDR formats such as HDR10 and HLG, which seek to enhance fine detail in those very dark and very bright scenes.
So what’s the rub? The most obvious is the price. At $13,499 you can buy a 2015 Holden Barina with not much on the clock.
The other issue is that most available content isn’t yet up to the quality of the screen, so you’ll get small artefacts, noticeable at close range.
While you can buy 4K Blu-ray disks now, you’ll want content with HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to enjoy the full benefit. Even LG’s Blu-ray player doesn’t support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Some Netflix content already supports Dolby Vision, but make sure you have fast internet for the highest quality.
For now you’ll rely on the unit’s upscaler for a good picture on what is an outstanding design concept. The 65-inch W7 is available locally from this Saturday. A bigger 77-inch model comes to market in June. Local cost is yet to be announced.
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