Rich Warren | We may never head to the cineplex again – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

OLED, a display technology, is a many splendored thing.

A year of dark movie theaters focused new attention on alternatives. TV manufacturers upped their game while lowering their prices.

Recently, the latest model LG organic light emitting diode (OLED) 65-inch TV inspired me to up my popcorn game, since its 4K picture quality equals or surpasses all but the best theaters in the country.

Sitting 7 feet back from this size screen equals sitting about 10 to 15 rows back from a movie-theater screen. Our home recliner chairs surpass the local theaters in comfort.

Although lacking the vibe of sharing a movie with strangers in a theater, we may never return to the cineplex after viewing the stunning picture of the new LG OLED65C1.

Back in the fairly recent day of cathode-ray-tube TVs, 32 inches, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, rated as a “big-screen TV.”

Huge, clumsy larger screen projection sets made you feel like you needed cataract surgery. I owned a couple that never satisfied me.

Modern 16:9 HD LCD TV sets, even those illuminated by LEDs, while impressive, incorporate certain flaws, including the inability to reproduce true black. OLED TVs reproduce true black as well as a wider spectrum of colors while being very energy efficient.

LG manufacturers the large majority of the large OLED display panels on the market. Thus, if you buy a Sony OLED TV, you’re viewing an LG panel with Sony electronics.

The main competition between OLED manufacturers involves the electronics that drive the OLED panels. For example, LG offers three lines of OLED TVs using the same display panels, but the electronics driving the panels improve as the price increases.

Thus, the “C series” surpasses the “B series” in picture quality. The “G series” incorporates better internal sound quality and the newest NexGen 4K TV tuner.

A few stations in major markets now broadcast in 4K, but so far, none in East Central Illinois.

I’ve been enjoying an LG 55-inch OLED TV for the past few years but yearned for an even more immersive experience. LG significantly improved its electronics for the 2021 models, further improving brightness, clarity and color accuracy.

Even more amazing, it substantially lowered the prices of its OLED sets. Rather than $3,000, the 2021 65-inch LG OLED premium C series now was within reach at $2,300.

(If any of last year’s models remain, you could grab one for about $1,900, but you sacrifice the latest electronics.)

Good Vibes, which prices the LG TVs competitively with other local (and national) merchants, delivered my new TV and set it up. I assure you, I paid the same as you will.

I chose Good Vibes because Jason, its lead installer, makes setting up a TV look like child’s play. Good Vibes charges $100 for delivery and installation and a bit more if you have special requests. Setting up a 65-inch set requires two trained people.

These sets resemble a large pane of window glass that’s easily broken. You also might want to pay a little extra for setting up the picture and sound options.

LG offers dozens of settings to fine tune the picture and sound, some of which you should ignore. An avid sports viewer benefits from different settings than a cineaste.

As a “Smart TV,” it also offers a score or more of apps for viewing online programming. Keep in mind that it reports your viewing habits back to LG central, which then sells them to marketers.

Even before watching a 4K movie, my eyes feasted on the color accuracy and vibrancy of the picture. Even in the cinema setting, which optimizes the picture for movies by reducing brightness and the stark, too-blue showroom color settings, the image riveted my eyes.

OLED sets now overcome their reputation for displaying a dimmer picture than their LCD/LED counterparts. Fluid, natural motion does justice to sports, PBS nature shows and masterpiece theater.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at [email protected].