Review: OLED55B7P (vs OLED55B6P)

In addition to assessing the LG OLED55B7P, this review is intended at pointing out differences between the OLED55B7P and OLED55B6P. The 55-inch class model in the B7 series of LG OLED TVs is the OLED55B7P. Its projected release date is in the second quarter of 2017.

The peak brightness on the OLED55B7P is up to 25% higher in comparison to the OLED55B6P, according to LG. This applies to small specular highlights (5% window size), and falls in line with the HDR goal of delivering an increased luminance output only to small portions of the picture instead of making it overall brighter. As a result, the dynamic range between the darkest and brightest areas is increased.

Colors within that 5% window can be rendered proportionally brighter on the OLED55B7P, which indicates that its color volume is greater than the OLED55B6P. The OLED55B7P covers a slightly wider area of the DCI-P3 color space in comparison to the OLED55B6P. However, the color gamut coverage refers to their color performance at a single luminosity level, meaning it’s not representative of how would any of them perform at very low or very high brightness levels. Color volume measures the DCI-P3 coverage at different luminosity levels. The OLED55B7P can reproduce more saturated colors at high luminosity levels, hence the amount of detail that can be resolved in highlights is increased.

The OLED55B6P did support two HDR formats: Dolby Vision and HDR10. The OLED55B7P, on the other hand, while keeping the support for these two formats, is also compatible with HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), which is a standard for some future TV broadcasts in HDR. Further, the new model is ready to support Advanced HDR by Technicolor via a future firmware update.

The OLED55B7P utilizes Active HDR processing for analyzing HDR content that contains only static metadata (such as HDR10) or no metadata (e.g. HLG), and generating dynamic metadata. This is done for the purpose of providing scene-by-scene optimization, and avoiding unnecessary compression of the dynamic range. The reason being is that static metadata defines MaxCLL (maximum content light level) for the entire content, which leads to a compression of the dynamic range even when there are no highlights during some scenes.

On the other hand, the BT.709 gamma, which is a relative luminance function, is used for SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content. This means that the extra brightness on the OLED55B7P vs OLED55B6P is allocated to make the entire picture brighter with SDR content, rather than only the highlights. It needs to be said, though, that the OLED55B7P’s advantage is limited to scenes with mid-to-high average picture level. These can be encountered with some sports such as skiing and hockey, but otherwise are quite rare. The picture quality with the majority of SDR content therefore is identical. That being said, the OLED55B7P has an advantage in high ambient light environments, provided you set your TV to its maximum brightness capability, and the content itself is not overly dark.

The OLED55B7P has a Dolby Atmos decoder which is something the OLED55B6P didn’t have. The new model therefore allows you to listen Dolby Atmos soundtracks through the TV speakers, or pass-through the bitstream output to a compatible receiver via HDMI Audio Return Channel, for example. The OLED55B7P has a 2.2 channel speaker system whereas the last year’s model had a 4.0 channel speaker system. The total audio power output, however, is 40 Watts on both models.

The smart TV platform the OLED55B7P comes with is webOS 3.5. The OLED55B6P, on the other hand, uses webOS 3.0. The enhanced Magic Zoom feature on the new model allows you to record the enlarged area. This features works with content stored on an external drive, which is where the recordings are also saved to. The new Magic Link feature on the webOS 3.5 can provide additional info for the content you’re watching, thus you won’t have to manually search for such information. You can play back 360-degrees video from an external USB flash drive or hard drive on the OLED55B7P, and use the magic remote for navigation.

Both models come in the 55-inch class: the OLED55B6P and OLED55B7P.

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