The LG OLED77ZXPTA performed as well as you'd expect from a TV that costs the same as an average car: it brought high quality video such as Blu-ray and 4K video to life. But the most impressive aspect to this TV may well be its ability to deliver a watchable, even immersive, standard definition (SD) picture on its almost two metre screen.
The CHOICE TV lab has witnessed a steady increase in the standard, or most popular, screen size over the years. Most consumers opted for 42-inches in 2010, then 55-inches from 2015 to 2019. Now even 65-inch displays are becoming popular in their lounge rooms. But when the 77-inch LG OLED77ZXPTA 8K TV (priced at a mind-blowing $36,000) arrived in our test labs, all the 65-inch TVs around it suddenly looked quite small. To be clear, CHOICE didn't buy this TV and has been supplied as a short term loan by LG and returned soon after the review was completed.
While this reviewer's home would find it hard to accommodate anything larger than 55-inches, LG is hoping that at least a few homeowners in Australia will have enough room for this 77-inch, 8K monster, and pockets deep enough for the privilege.
Let's be clear from the outset – this is an impressive piece of kit. Fast-moving content, such as ball sports, is displayed with impressive detail and little motion blur in the background, which indicates a formidable upscaling technology. This (almost) explains the huge asking price.
A TV capable of showing 8K resolution video may seem of little importance at the moment, given there isn't much 8K content around and our home broadband network is only just capable of streaming 4K.
But when looking at prepared 8K content on this model, such as studio shots of honey dripping off a spoon or smoke drifting past a geyser, you can't help but be amazed at the detail and luminance, even when looking at the screen from a few inches. Just don't hold your breath for widespread adoption anytime soon.
However, its upscaling capabilities are nothing to sneeze at. Standard definition (SD) video, such as DVD movies, are surprisingly good when viewed on a TV this size. As you move up to HD video on formats such as Blu-ray discs, HD broadcasts and even 4K streaming, you nearly forget that the TV you're watching could also be a solid deposit on a house.
Upscaling is basically the display's ability to take a video image and add detail around each pixel to create a higher resolution image. The TV uses GH processing power and algorithms to 'guess' the colour and brightness of each surrounding pixel, so SD content, for example, looks good on a HD display.
Imagine a one-square metre picture placed on a two-metre square canvas. Upscaling stretches that 1sqm picture across the 2sqm area by adding in colour and luminance to fill it out. Now imagine a TV doing this for every video frame of a movie or TV show. Some TVs do this surprisingly well and others not so much.
This ability (or inability) to realistically upscale video to a higher resolution becomes more pronounced over larger displays, as it becomes easier to see how well or poorly they perform.
The 77-inch LG OLED77ZXPTA 8K TV performs well for any video content, from SD streamed content, broadcast HD sport or Blu-ray movies.
The technology introduced to handle 8K video in this TV does a great job at upscaling the stuff we already watch. SD, HD and even 4K video jumps off the huge display using the latest Alpha 9 Gen3 AI processor to push the pixels around the screen.
So although you may be impressed at the 8K video content you see on the 77-inch LG OLED77ZXPTA 8K TV, it's the video quality of an episode of Seinfeld in SD or even a HD sporting event that really shows this TV's prowess – albeit at a price that most people would consider out of reach.
Upscaling is a difficult feature to sell for TV companies, as you can't tell if a TV is making poor video good, or good video even better, when browsing on the shop floor. Our CHOICE TV tests rate upscaling performance very highly, and all TVs that are tested need to perform at a good level for both SD and HD content to be recommended.
The OLED77ZXPTA was included in our latest TV batch test, up against 65-inch TVs ranging from $695 to over $5000. Unsurprisingly, it was an obvious standout. Comments included excellent detail, particularly in shadow areas, and cinematic quality, especially when watching 4K movie footage. All footage was viewed in the TV's 'standard' picture mode, as this is the most common setting used.
The TV menu and operating system is delivered in the same webOS environment as every LG TV, and it has the ability to use either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa as your voice controller using the mic button on the remote control.
Menus and apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Stan and iView are accessed from the bottom of the screen, using a combination of remote keys and an 'air mouse' – you wave the remote around to move a pointer on the screen.
The bright, shiny remote looks fantastic, but for ease of use and general comfort, we still prefer the standard black plastic LG remote.
Unlike most of the other LG TVs released in 2020, the remote for the OLED77ZXPTA is a stunning stainless steel-looking device which performs no better, and may even be less comfortable to hold, than the trusty black plastic teardrop remote that's been in use with LG TVs for several years.
If you don't feel the 77-inch model is big enough, there is also an 88-inch model for a cool $72,000 (we won't be testing this one) and both models are delivered to your home and set-up as part of the price.
It's generally acknowledged that when you buy a large display TV, you're also on the lookout for a home theatre system or good quality soundbar to help bring the audio experience up to the same level as the video. This is no excuse for having poor sound, but unfortunately there've been many examples in past tests of large TVs, some costing several thousand dollars, that deliver sound not much better than a portable speaker.
Thankfully, the audio quality on the LG OLED77ZXPTA is up there with the best we've tested. The detail in the vocals and in the mid-range is accurate and well-defined, and the TV's ability to deliver strong bass elements in the test audio makes it entirely possible to watch movies and TV shows without the use of a soundbar or home theatre system.
Surround sound and 4K (HDR) technologies such as Dolby Vision and Atmos are included, and would benefit greatly from the addition of a good soundbar or home theatre speaker system.
Although there's still confusion as to what's needed to support the latest consoles such as Sony's PS5, the fact that this TV supports HDMI 2.1 with 8K playback at 60 frames per second, variable refresh rates and a 1ms lag (if you care about gaming you'll know what this means), makes this one of the best gaming TV monitors you will find.
Accepting product for review
The TV reviewed here is a loan product supplied by the company and not purchased. Occasionally CHOICE has chosen to accept one off loans when we feel you want to know about a product that is unique or significant but not within our product testing budget to purchase. CHOICE continues to act on member feedback and will continue to accept one-off loans for large TVs over 75-inches (because you ask as to test these products) even though we could not justify spending over $35,000 of your money (CHOICE is funded only by our members) for a TV.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.