LG SK8000 Series 4K TV Review

Posted on Posted in Smart Home

Introduced in Spring 2018, LG’s lineup of SK8000PUA 4K smart TV series features AI ThinQ technology, which allows you to ask Google Assistant questions, giving you a visual hub for the smart home and beyond. The SK8000PUA series come in 49″ (49SK8000PUA), 55″ (55SK8000PUA), and 65″ (65SK8000PUA), priced at $899.99, $1,099,99 and $1,299.99 respectively.

Style-wise, you can’t get any better than the brushed metal look. It’s thin and it’s ultra-modern.

Video Quality
So how is the picture quality? It’s crystal clear and truly spectacular! The Nano Cell Display delivers rich color details with wide color spectrum. Comparing to the more expensive OLED screeens, the only issue is contrast ratio and poor local dimming features, which means a white glow around light spots on a totally black screen. True Color Accuracy technology leads accurate colors. Combine that with IPS technology, you get good viewing angles, accurate colors and brightness to fight reflections in the screen. TruMotion 240 gives you native 120Hz refresh rate, which delivers fluid motion images for your favorite action movies, sports or games. Unless you need a totally dark droom smart TV, you will be very happy with the picture quality.

Smart Voice Assistant
What’s unique about LG’s latest smart TV offering is its AI ThinQ technology. LG’s television sets run on WebOS. Yes, the same WebOS framework that PALM made popular. This combined with the new interface makes it a clever way to operate a TV. You can even replace the remote with all voice commands if you want. The learning curve is small and fairly intuitive. The Magic Remote’s (that’s what LG likes to call it) voice assistant gets a little help from Google Assistant. By holding down the microphone button and talking to the remote, you can turn the TV on and off, adjust volume, brightness, change channels, viewing mode, start apps, turn on and off lights, and more. Want to check the weather, look up game scores, or find driving directions? Just talk into the remote, then you’ll see the results of your searches overlayed on top of your TV program courtesy of Google Assistant. How cool is that?

Google Home and Amazon Alexa
Have a voice assistant device at home? You can control your LG TV with Alexa or Google Home. To set up Amazon Echo integration, you need to create a LG account and then link it to your Amazon LG SmartThinQ – Basic skill. To set up Google Home integration, again, set up the LG account on the TV and then add it on your Google Home app.

Amazon Alexa and Google Home commands examples
Smart Home Skills
“Alexa/Ok Google, turn TV off”
“Alexa/Ok Google, set volume to 10 to TV”
“Alexa/Ok Google, switch TV to HDMI 1”
“Alexa/Ok Google, play/pause/stop on TV”
“Alexa/Ok Google, channel 3 on TV”

Custom Skills
“Alexa/Ok Google, ask LG to launch ‘App title’ on TV”
“Alexa/Ok Google, ask LG to turn up/down the brightness of the screen on TV”
“Alexa/Ok Google, ask LG to change TV mode to standard/cinema/sports/game mode on TV”
More Google Home and Amazon Alexa commands

In our real world testing, while basic commands work, like turning TV off, change to an OTA channel, changing the volume and input, we were not able to launch a specific app or speaker output. It shows that the integration still needs work and is not ready for prime time yet.

Another dilemma is that if you’re running the audio through your home theater receiver, you won’t be able to use your voice to change the volume because you can’t control volume through optical and HDMI ARC connections. What if you’re running the video connections through your receiver as well. That’ll render the voice input switching useless as well. So while some of the voice control feature is nice, it remains to be seen if it’s practical or useful depending on what your system setup is.

Apps
The webOS app store offers all the popular streaming channels, like Sling TV, Amazon Video, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu and more. While it’s not as extensive as Roku’s app store, it has enough.

TV Channels
If you’re a cord cutter, then you likely have an antenna connected to your TV. After you have have scanned your local HD channels, you can edit your channels list and then add them to your favorites. Using voice control, if you want to watch say ABC, then just say “Watch ABC”, the TV will automatically change the input and tune to the right channel for you.

Channel Plus
LG also offers a menu of live and on-demand content called Channel Plus. It will feature free and ad-supported digital content from partners such as Time, PBS Digital Studios, Wired, Saveur, Cooking Light, GQ and Sports Illustrated, along with channels from BuzzFeed, Mashable, Reuters, FailArmy and Funny or Die. The app service looks like traditional TV channels so you can surf them without having to launch each one like a separate app.

DLNA Support
Most LG smart TVs support DLNA, allowing you to watch videos and view pictures on your own network. The SKU8000 series is no exception. You can easily view media files and watch movies from your own DLNA server.

How to resolve TV freezing / Magic remote not working
Sometimes WebOS locks up and needs a reboot. This also causes the remote to not function properly. We’ve noticed that that you can still turn the TV on and off, but Netlfix will freeze or other buttons on the remote doesn’t respond. To restart the TV, you can’t just press the on/off button on the remote to turn it off as that puts the TV in standby mode. Find the on/off button on the TV, then hold it for 3 seconds until it turns off. When you turn the TV on again, you should see the LG WebOS logo which means the TV has rebooted. Also remember to update your apps if they’re freezing or not working properly, but usually a reboot should resolve the issue. While this reboot fixes the remote and WebOS freezing issues, it’s a bit annoying that this happens every couple of months. The system should be more stable than this.

Features

LG SUPER UHD meets artificial intelligence
Beyond apps and entertainment, LG AI TV uses intelligent voice control to create a hub for the smart home and beyond.

α7 intelligent processor
Enhances 4K HDR content for a truly cinematic experience with superior depth, sharpness, and remarkably accurate color.

More detail, more color, more everything
Nano Cell Display delivers truer colors, reduced reflectivity and deeper black levels, even at a wider viewing angle. Improves color accuracy with its expanded color gamut while absorbing unwanted light.

4K Cinema HDR
Comprehensive support of major high dynamic range formats including Dolby Vision HDR from the cinema, as well as HDR10 and HLG, both with LG’s advanced tone-mapping technology that provides scene-by-scene optimization.

Local Dimming
Discover previously unseen detail with a vibrant, natural picture. Different zones of light across the screen can brighten and dim independently, enhancing contrast and achieving deeper black levels for a rich, lifelike image.

2160p resolution for breathtaking HD images
Watch 4K movies and TV shows at 4x the resolution of Full HD, and upscale your current HD content to gorgeous, Ultra HD-level picture quality.

Watch high dynamic range (HDR) content on your TV
With an HDR-compatible 4K TV, you can enjoy HDR movies and TV shows, in addition to all your current content.

Smart TV with access to streaming services for countless entertainment options
LG AI ThinQ brings together popular streaming apps, such as Netflix, and gives you access to more than 70 free premium channels through the LG Channel Plus app.

Built-in Google Assistant for voice control
Use voice commands with the TV remote to play movies, TV shows and more. Plus, control other connected devices like lights and a thermostat for a better viewing experience. Separate voice assistant not required.

Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control
Ask Amazon Alexa (device required) to help you play movies, TV shows and more.

LED TVs perform well in all lighting conditions
They also deliver plasma-like deep blacks and rich colors.

Advanced TV sound
Two 10W speakers, Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos content creates a more detailed sound experience that appears to come from everywhere for a wonderfully realistic, immersive experience that puts you inside the story.

4 HDMI inputs for the best home theater connection
High-speed HDMI delivers up to 2160p picture and digital surround sound in one convenient cable. HDMI cable not included.

3 USB inputs
Easily connect your digital camera, camcorder or other USB device.

Specs

Display Type: LED
Resolution: 4K UHD
Upscaling Technology: 4K Upscaler
IPS Technology: YES
Nano Cell Display: YES
True Color Accuracy: YES
Ultra Luminance: Xtreme Black Engine
HDR Support: Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR by Technicolor, HDR10, HLG
Refresh Rate: TruMotion 240 (120Hz native)
Processor: α7 Intelligent Processor
Smart Platform: LG AI ThinQ
Google Home & Amazon Alexa Compatible: YES
Remote: Magic Remote
Speaker System: 2Ch 20W
Built-in Wi-fi: 802.11ac
HDMI/ USB Inputs: 4 HDMI (2 rear, 2 side), 3 USB (2 rear, 1 side)