July 20, 2014
Hello, I would like to start out by pointing out that I consider myself a very tech inclined person and know most of what there is to know when it comes to electronics. With that in mind, let me say this, the LG 55UB8500 is sure to be one of the best television choices that anyone could make. Yes, there are much larger televisions on the market, but you are going to be hard pressed to find one that matches this TV's quality while staying below a few thousand dollars more than this one.
To begin, let me start by explaining one very important feature of this TV, when you need to make adjustments, be sure to use the home button, followed by clicking on the little gear on the top right of the screen. This alone will save you tons of reading and experimenting with settings. I myself read on the set that features could be set using the User guide on the lower list of items on your bottom navigation buttons/options when you do hit the home button. You see, this set has a nice little list of items such as the HDMI ports, component and composite ports. All this along with all the other options like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and an internet browser which all come up with the easy to fine home button. Sadly, when you use the user guide, it will allow some of the settings to be adjusted there, but a few, such as 3D settings will be grayed out, not allowing you access at all. This confusion eventually had me calling customer support, which fortunately helped me figure out the problem in no time. Believe me when I say that I've found a large number of support pages or forum posts where people complain about the TV not allowing video adjustments while viewing the actual videos, with some people calling the TV near garbage because they weren't able to use their video calibration disks, All because they were using the guide to change settings and not the little gear on the upper right hand of the home screen. It was a bit sad, but it had happened to me, so I am sympathetic. I had actually grown a bit concerned, as I had been able to do those wonderful image optimizations with my last TV which was a Visio, I felt that it was impossible that a better brand would lack those simple features, so that's why I decided to begin there.
Now, once you get passed the issue with the user guide, by using the little gear, you have full access to every option, depending on what input you are currently using. The Smart picture mode is only available when you are watching live TV from over the air antenna, cable or satellite. That feature allows you to set the features that improve the appearance of those signals, since they are all going to be 1080p, since there is very little 4k content as of now. In fact, the only source of 4k I'm aware of is Netflix, and even there, its limited to around a dozen video's and a few season of some series. Due to the lack in genuine 4k content, Smart picture mode allows you to tweak the look of the average 1080p video's so you can make the most of your nice new 4k set. As I also mentioned before, while using the user guide, you are also prevented fr0m adjusting your 3d settings. This is very important because straight from the box, the settings are set to very low "Pop", my name for how much the video jumps out at you. This is a more necessary feature, as for the most part, this awesome TV is able to use any video, aside from Netflix video's you play through the TV app, to display in 3d mode. Now, let me be clear, non native 3d looks good, not great, but lets be fair, the TV is taking non 3d content and creating a 3d image on the fly.
Now, this feature is best used with video that is 1080p, since lower definition video usually looks bad anyway, so the higher the resolution the better. More importantly than the video, this feature really shines when it is used with a shiny new PS4 or Xbox One. If your like myself and suffer no headaches or eye strain when viewing 3d video, you will use this feature a lot. But fear not, if you can't view 3d for long, the set has a setting that can be adjusted in advanced settings, its called Super resolution. Crank that one right up and behold the most gorgeous video game footage you have ever seen. Mario Kart 8 looks next gen and we all know its far weaker than the PS4 or Xbox One. If the game has a depth of field effect, it makes the game look 3d without ever turning on the 3d feature. Yeah, its a sight to behold.
Now, as for the number of connections or inputs available, I was blown away at the high level of quality that LG gave me. Of course you must have already seen that there are four HDMI ports, but it was the composite and component video that surprised me the most. My last TV did offer these forms of inputs, but they took up a large amount of space since there were three prongs for one, and five for the other. Here though, LG got smart, they included a few useful little items, which included a component adapter and a composite adapter. These had a short cable on each with three plug ports on each one. For your lower Def VCR, you simply use the cable that uses the red, white and yellow cables, you connect them to the matching colors on the VCR out, and on the other end of the cable, it uses a single plug which looks like an average 3.5mm audio jack which plugs into the back of the TV. Likewise, the other cable uses the Red, blue and green for higher Def video from a DVD player and installs in the same way, also into a single 3.5mm jack. Instead of using six larger connection points, you get a simple 2, and since they are color coded, you can't make a mistake, unless your color blind of course.
Of the HDMI ports, only one is capable of 4k video input, which is HDMI port 3. The other three are all high quality ports capable of high def, but have a few different features available to each in case hour have a variety of equipment with different needs. Also, all four ports are on the side, for ease of use or for switching cables if necessary.
The TV has a wheel button on the lower front of the screen that is found just behind the screen bezel that can be used for things like volume control or channel swapping, input swapping is also available. Regardless, the real fun is using the awesome little remote that comes with the TV. This great little remote works exactly like a Wii controller. You wave the remove when you pick it up to wake it from napping( yes, I'm serious:), and once you do, you get a nice little pointer that follows your hand gestures extremely well. To re-center your pointer once it feels off, you just drag the pointer to the side until it centers to your liking, either up or down, side to side. Having this type of remote, your actually able to buy on the LG store some simple games that you play directly from your TV, none of the games are Triple A titles, but for a TV to play games on its own is cool enough to warrant a mention. The same store offers video rentals in HD and a few in 3D, and you even get a handful of 3d videos that are free, one in particular is split into three portions which has to be seen to be believed. It isn't a movie, its basically an hour long screen display with music, but wow does it show off what 4k TV's are capable of when displaying 3d video. My mouth was dry from it having stayed open during the majority of the video. My elderly parents couldn't believe what they were seeing. They had smiles from ear to ear.
If you use Netflix, no longer bother using your video game console or Roku box, the built in app offers 4k video as well as some 3D movies and documentaries. When I use my PS4 or Xbox One now, I miss out on the entire category for 4k video and 3D movies. Never fear though, remember, this TV upgrades video to better suite the 4k set.
There is really only one con with this TV, and it is both justified and totally acceptable. Since the TV has an absolute tiny bezel, the speakers built into the set are not forward facing, and since the set is around one inch or less in thickness, it simply can not be expected to provide heart pumping bass or super loud treble. If you use stereo audio, the sound may require you to turn up your speaker system up due to quiet audio, but If you have an optical input and output, or HDMI I/o, the experience is vastly superior to your average theater.
If there is any doubt on buying this TV, all I can say is relax, take a deep breath, and hit that order button. This TV is simply Amazing, I made sure to get the 5 year warranty, I want it to last a very long time, as I doubt anything better comes out soon.
P.S. If you need to rename your inputs, changing them from "HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc etc), you can change them to PS4. Xbox One, or whatever you prefer. Likewise, you can hold the scroll wheel on any of the app links once you hit the home button, which brings up the option to move the tile either to the left or right on the list along the bottom. You can even delete any app links you don't use or like, especially since you may get multiple tiles for an HDMI port or anything else. Oh yeah, this TV has the Skype app built in, but it does not have a built in video camera, I know LG offers a custom camera, bit since the TV has three USB ports, one of them being a high speed USB 3.0 port, you may be able to use one of your own, I haven't tested a third party camera yet, but if I do, I'll update this to see if it works and to explain what type chat camera I used. I currently have one for my Xbox 360, a PS3 camera, and a 720p Logitech camera. Maybe one of those will due, if not, I may not worry, I can Skype from my tablet, my PC or even my PSvita, so I don't really need it.