A pint-sized IMAX in your living room? That's the plan behind LG's 55EA9800 Curved OLED TV. Hitting British shores for the first time at yesterday's Currys / PC World showcase, we went eye on with a screen quite unlike any we've ever seen before.
Measuring 55-inches across, the screen has a gentle concave curve when viewed from the front, similar to that seen in IMAX cinema screens. The design intention is to make viewing the television more immersive - sit within the screen's central sweetspot and your eyes are equidistant from each edge of the set. It feels like being enveloped by the action on screen (though that's a feeling that may be diminished the further away from the set you go - the Currys demo room had us sitting little more than a metre from the screen).The effect is bolstered by the use of OLED tech in the screen. We've written extensively about OLED TVs in the past, and LG (though taking their sweet time with it) are well in line to leading the charge with AV enthusiasts' successor to the plasma throne. Though only a 1080p display, and lacking the supreme detail of 4K sets, LG's screen delivered stunning black levels, while still managing to keep colour accuracy impressively lifelike, with both colour and contrast levels aided by the introduction of a white sub-pixel alongside the standard RGB array.The screen's use of OLED also has the added benefit of offering very a very wide viewing angle. Though the curved effect introduces a pronounced sweetspot (everyone will want to sit front and centre in front of this TV), those setting to extreme left and rights of the screen will not have their viewing experience suffer from any colour wash out. The speedy response times of OLED technology also offer the most comfortable 3D viewing experience possible, with the lightweight passive glasses delivering truly eye-popping visuals thanks to OLED's speedy response time, for better or worse depending on your stance on 3D.OLED technology also allows the screen to be impossibly thin, with a carbon fibre finish to the casing that's as sturdy as it is stylish. Pencil-thin, this is very much a showpiece set, though those looking to wall mount the screen may have some problems due to the curvature.As one would expect from a flagship LG set, smart connectivity is also included, with the full raft of web apps and catch up TV services offered through LG's Smart TV interface. A Wii-remote like Magic Remote control makes controlling the set a breeze, with motion controls and onscreen cursor making light work of even entering text in search boxes.
Sound quality, while still no match for a dedicated home cinema system, is disarmingly impressive for a screen so svelte. Housed within a clear perspex strip below the screen (making the display itself look as though it's floating above its mount), the front-facing stereo array, paired with a down-firing subwoofer in the bottom-rear of the set, offers a warmer sound than similarly thin sets from rivals.Due in stores by Christmas, we're still waiting on an official price for the curvalicious set. With the regular flat OLED TVs from LG already commanding a price tag of above £10,000, expect to have to sell an organ to be able to afford one.