To all the cinephiles and visual snobs who have been defiantly clutching precious plasmas, boasting about the superiority of "infinite blacks" and the like: The time has come to upgrade your television, for the age of OLED is upon us. And yes, it's spectacular.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) monitors can achieve truly perfect, inky blacks and infinite contrast ratios. That's because each individual pixel in an OLED TV generates both light and color or switch off entirely. (Other flat-screen technologies produce images by merely shining light through color filters.) Add that OLEDs can be almost impossibly thin and offer extremely large fields of view (about 170 degrees), and you have a groundbreaking technology.
But wait, OLEDs started trickling into the market about four years ago, so why is it news now? First, the technology has matured in the time it took manufacturers to figure out consumers didn't want 3-D TV or curved screens; second, 2016 models bring an innovation called HDR, or high dynamic range, which dramatically boosts highlights and shadows to make images pop with lifelike appeal.
Leading the HDR charge is LG with its new Signature G6 models, though makers Samsung and Sony aren't too far behind. Measuring a mere 8.4 millimeters thin with a panel that holds 8.3 million pixels, the G6 comes in a 65-inch version ($7,999) and a 77-inch goliath ($24,999), both of which feature a forward-facing sound bar from Harman/Kardon that delivers killer bass and treble. (When the monitor is mounted on a wall, the sound bar flips down in a nifty fashion.) And the G6 sports LG's webOS, now in its 3.0 iteration, which uses LG's popular Magic remote control, which means you can breeze between live television and streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Video.
What really sets the G6 apart from other OLEDs isn't its 4K Ultra HD resolution (four times the pixels of 1080p monitors), but the fact that it's the only OLED that currently supports the two leading HDR formats: HDR10 and Dolby VisionTM HDR. Amazon already shoots all its original series shows using HDR10, while Netflix plans to start the practice. On the other hand, many films, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road, were graded with Dolby VisionTM, with more to come. Why choose? With G6, you'll have both formats covered, making it a virtually future-proof purchase.