LG SK8000 Review (49SK8000PUA, 55SK8000PUA, 65SK8000PUA)
LG SK8000 is the entry level of LG’s 2018 4K HDR Super UHD LED TV or globally, it comes to the mid-end class along with Samsung NU8000, Sony X850F and others. It may lack some features and technologies offered by LG OLED TV model or the higher series like SK9000 or SK9500, but at least, it still brings the number important features and technologies like Nano Cell Display technology, Alpha 7 Intelligence Processor, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and LG AI ThinQ. Additionally, SK8000 is a TV with IPS panel technology that offer better side viewing angle then a TV with VA panel technology. In the market, it comes in 3 screen size option including 49 inch (49SK8000PUA) 55 inch (55SK8000PUA), and 65 Inch 65SK8000PUA), give you many options in order to you can suit to the size of your room. So, what features and technologies are offered by SK8000 and how is its performance?
LG SK8000 Key Specs
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||49 Inch (49SK8000PUA), 55 Inch (55SK8000PUA), 65 Inch (65SK8000PUA)|
|Backlight Technology||Edge Lit LED|
|Local Dimming technology||Yes|
|Processor||Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor|
|Color Technology||Nano Cell Color with Tru Color Accuracy|
|Black Enhancement||Nano Cell Black|
|Brightness Enhancement||Ultra Luminance|
|HDR Format||HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR|
|4K Up-scaling||Tru 4K Up-Scaler|
|Motion rate||TruMotion 240Hz (49SK8000 : TruMotion 120 Hz)|
|Native Refresh Rate Panel||120 Hz (49SK8000 : 60 Hz)|
|Platform||WebOS 4.0 with LG’s AI ThinQ|
|Features||Full Browser, LG Content Store, Magic Mobile Connection, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and many more|
|Remote||LG Magic Remote Control|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Composite In (AV)||1|
|Wi-Fi Built In||802.11 ac|
|Total Audio Output||20 Watts|
|Support Dolby Atmos||Yes|
|Price||See the price on Amazon|
Features and Technology of LG SK8000
There are some highlights which brought by LG’s LED TV in 2018 including SK8000 model. The first is about their processor where in 2018, LG has introduced two new images processor for their lineup. The first is Alpha 9 Intelligence processor that allocated for their premium TV models or for OLED C8 series or higher series. The second is Alpha 7 processor that allocated for middle to lower model or for OLED B8 or lower series including SK8000. Performance of Alpha 7 processor may be not as powerful as Alpha 9, but for the same levels of last year model, it gives some improvements on its performance and ability, like when handling motion, reducing picture noise and others. Additionally, the use of Alpha 7 processor also makes its smart TV performance is faster and more responsive then last year models. The second highlight offered by LG’s 2018 TV lineup including SK8000 is about LG AI ThinQ that integrated to WebOS 4.0 as its Smart TV platform, the artificially intelligence feature offered by LG. This allows you to monitor and control your other ThinQ compatible devices like Air Conditioner, Dish Washer, Refrigerator and others through your TV. Additionally, ThinQ AI also makes its voice navigation is more excellent, allow you to do a lot of more command with your voices via its LG’s magic remote.
Like most of other models of LG’s LED TV, LG SK8000 uses IPS panel, makes it has good side viewing angle coverage. As its backlight technology, it uses Edge-Lit backlight with local dimming. But a bit unfortunate, its local dimming doesn’t work as well as SK9000 that comes with Full Array Local Dimming. For maximizing its color performance, SK8000 is powered by Nano Crystal Color, a variation of quantum dot technology that maximized for IPS panel. Combined to Tru Color Accuracy, this makes it has excellent color reproduction. Additionally, there is also Ultra Luminance technology behind it that maximizes peak brightness reached. And come with HDR technology, LG SK8000 already supports most of HDR formats available including HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. The only HDR format that is not supported by SK8000 is HDR10+.
For maximizing its performance in handling motion blur and 24p movies, except 49 inch model (49SK8000PUA), it is powered by TruMotion 240 Hz based in native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Special for 49SK8000PUA, it is powered by TruMotion 120 Hz technology based on native 60 Hz refresh rate panel. Like other middle to upper model, it is also equipped with 4 HDMI ports which have excellent input lags at any resolution. But a bit unfortunate, for producing sound, it is only equipped with standard 2.0 channel speaker system with 20 watts of total sound output that certainly makes its sound performance is not too impressive. But the excellence, it already supports Dolby Atmos, that means once you add external sound bar for SK8000, this allow you to enjoy HDR content with Dolby Atmos Sound Experience.
Performance of LG SK8000
Contrast and Black Level
The use of IPS panel may make it has good side viewing angle coverage, but on the other hand, this makes LG SK8000 cannot produce deep black. This is due its native contrast ratio is not so strong, only a bit stronger than 1000:1. Meanwhile, its local dimming doesn’t well-work in improving its native contrast ratio, so although its local dimming is set on, its contrast ratio is not much improved, even relatively the same. The result, black produced will look tend to grey, and this will be noticeable particularly when it set in a dark room. Additionally, its black uniformity is also not so good. By combining poor black level and black uniformity, this certainly makes dark scene produced doesn’t look so good. Additionally, since its black level is less deep, it cannot show shadow details of HDR images like the intended. Fortunately, the poor performance of SK8000 in producing dark scene is only happened when it is set in a dark room. Once it is set in a bright room, dark scene displayed on its screen will looks far better because the impact of high contrast ratio is not as sensitive as in a dark room. But of course, this will not be as good as what offered by TV with native contrast ratio.
While performance of LG SK8000 in producing black is not too excellent even can be said poor, its performance in producing peak brightness is also not too excellent. With SDR content, its peak brightness is still less than 300 nits. This means in a bright room, overall, the picture will appear too dim, particularly when showing small bright objects in dark background. But even so, its peak brightness increases slightly as the bright area increases. The result, bright area in bright scene can be shown brighter than bright area in dark scene. Overall, with SDR content, peak brightness of LG SK8000 is not bright enough to make the picture looks brightly in a very bright room. This means, peak brightness of SK8000 is only bright enough in a dimly lit room or a room with normal light. Meanwhile, with HDR content, LG SK8000 actually has brighter peak brightness, but the significant increment is only in small windows sizes. This means, when it is showing small bright object in a dark scene, it can be shown brighter than with SDR content. But when showing bright scene, the brightness increment is not too significant. Overall, with HDR content, peak brightness of LG SK8000 is also only bright enough for a dimly-lit room or a bright room with normal light, while for very bright room, its peak brightness is too dim. And of course, its peak brightness is still far from the target of 1000 nits in order to show highlight of HDR images like the content’s creator intended.
Although not as good as the higher series like SK9000 or SK9500, LG SK8000 still has good color coverage. Its color coverage in DCI P3 may be still less than 90% like what recommended to show HDR images fully, but at least, most of colors in DCI P3 can be covered fairly well. Additionally, its color coverage in Rec.2020 also can still be said well, though not as wide as most middle to upper HDR TVs. The result, although some certain colors like deep greens and cyan cannot be shown as saturated as other colors, but overall, most colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate. But unfortunately, its color volume is not so good. This is more due its poor black level and limited peak brightness. Since SK8000 cannot produce deep black level, its color gamut in dark colors narrow significantly. Additionally, its limited peak brightness also makes very bright color cannot be shown as saturated as darker colors. But overall, except very dark colors and very bright colors, it can well-show its color gamut at its entire brightness room. This means, except dark color and very bright colors, colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate on its screen. Meanwhile, the excellence offered, LG SK8000 has smooth color gradient particularly when showing 10 bit content like HDR images. In certain colors, some little imperfections may be still visible, but overall, color gradient of HDR images displayed on its screen looks very smooth without major color banding that typically is visible with 8 bit contents. Overall, color performance of SK8000 is good, but still a bit worse than the competitor like Samsung NU8000 or Sony X850F.
Side Viewing Angle
The use of IPS panel may make LG SK8000 cannot produce deep black level, but this makes it has good side viewing angle coverage. Like on VA TV, at certain angle, color may still shift and brightness also still decrease, but the excellence, it can maintain its black level at up to extremely wide angle. The result, when viewed from the side, the picture displayed on its screen will looks more consistent. What offered by SK8000 may not be as good as OLED TVs, but at least, it is still better than VA TVs that typically has poor side viewing angle. For you who often watch TV in a wide room with a group of your family or friend where they usually watch TV from multiple angles, this TV will be a better option than VA TVs like Samsung NU8000.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
For maximizing its performance when playing fast paced contents like sports or video games, except 49 inch (49SK8000PUA), LG SK8000 is powered by TruMotion 240 Hz based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. However, it actually already has excellent pixel response time. The result, where playing fast moving images, the picture produced looks very smooth and clear with almost no motion blur visible. Following fast moving object, there is only a short faint trail where most people may not notice this much. The blur that may be still visible is more caused by persistence than pixel response time. Meanwhile, in normal condition, to dim its backlight, LG SK8000 uses PWM System with 120 HZ of frequency dimming. Since its frequency dimming is not too high, this causes backlight flicker is more visible than a TV with higher frequency dimming, particularly for people who sensitive to flicker. Additionally, to minimize blur that caused by 60 fps persistence, LG SK8000 also has a 60 BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that will make backlight flicker at 60 Hz. To activate this mode, you just need set “TruMotion” to “User” and set “On” the “Motion Pro”. This will make motion looks clearly particularly when playing 60 fps content like sports or video games, but on the other hand, since the dimming frequency is lower, this will make flicker is more noticeable.
Meanwhile, when playing 24p movies, performance of LG SK8000 is excellent. No matter the frame rate of the source, whether its native 24p videos like DVD or Blu-Ray’s movies, 24p movies from streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Videos, and others, 24p via 60i signals like movies from satellite TV, or even via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly with judder-free on its screen. To remove the judder without adding “soap opera effect”, you just need enable the “Real Cinema” in its Picture Option Setting Menu.
As its major connectivity, LG SK8000 is equipped with 4 HDMI ports where all of its HDMI ports are already CEC Menu Control, HDCP 2.2, and HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth. Additionally, it also has one HDMI port that support ARC (Audio Return Channel) that is HDMI 2. But a bit unfortunate, since its HDMI ports doesn’t support HDMI 2.1 Full bandwidth, although with alpha 7 processor, it already supports HFR (High Frame Rate) content, but it cannot play HFR content via HDMI port due the insufficient bandwidth of HDMI 2,0 version. Additionally, it is also equipped with 3 USB ports. But unlike SJ8500 the processor that have USB 3.0, all USB ports of SK8000 are USB 2.0. In addition to USB and HDMI ports, LG SK8000 is also equipped with 1 RF IN (Antenna In), 1 Composite In (AV IN), 1 Digital Audio Out (optical), 1 Ethernet port. It doesn’t have Component In. And as wireless connectivity, LG SK8000 is equipped with Built-IN Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Meanwhile, the input lags of LG SK8000 in “PC” and “Game” mode are excellent at both 4k and 1080p resolution. With less than 15 ms, its input lags certain are great for any games. No matter you are playing fast paced or casual games, it allow you to play them comfortably and responsively without laggy. Combined to its excellent motion handling and good side viewing angle coverage, this makes it is as a good TV for playing games, even with a group of your friend or family.
Like other model of LG’s 2018 TV lineup, LG SK8000 is also featuring WebOS 4.0 as its smart TV platform. As we have mentioned, the use of Alpha 7 processor makes its smart TV performance is more responsive and faster than last year version. But even so, in term of User Interface and Home Menu, there is not many changes brought by this version over the last year version. It still has simple and intuitive Home Menu. At the bottom across the screen, the “tiles” are well-organized in a “strip-bar” as the shortcut to setting, inputs, and apps. A bit change than last year version, now there is a search menu at the top right of the screen, allow you to search something faster and easier. Meanwhile, talking about apps and features provided, like other smart TV platform, it also provides a lot of preinstalled apps and smart features like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, Web Browser, Games, Live TVs, and many more. It also has an app store called LG’s apps store that provided thousands of downloadable apps, games, and other. As we have mentioned above, now, it has been integrated with LG AI ThinQ, an artificially intelligence app by LG. With Ai ThinQ, it allows you to control and monitor other ThinQ AI compatible devices like Air Conditioner, Refrigerator, Dish Washer and Others through your LG TV with your voice command. Even not just that, it also already support Amazon Alexa and Google Home, so not only ThinQ Ai devices that can be monitored and controlled, but also Amazon Alexa and Google Home Compatible Device. Additionally, ThinQ AI also makes its navigation is far better than last year version, allow you to do many more things with your voice command.
As its controller, LG SK8000 is equipped with LG’s magic controller. It remote is same to what used by the higher series like SK9000 or SK9500, or even OLED TV lineup. As we know, LG magic remote has a lot of useful and excellent features. The remote is a bit large and have the number of quick access buttons the most common functions. It also has two dedicated buttons for Amazon and Netflix, allow you to launch these apps without entering the home menu. This remote also has built in microphone for voice navigation and a universal ability, allow you to control other devices connected onto you LG TV via HDMI ports with a single LG remote. The excellence, it also has “point and click” feature. In addition to the combination of direction pad and scroll wheel at the center of the remote is powerful to make navigation is easier, once you point the remote to the screen, it also allows you to move the cursor on the screen by moving the remote.
Overall, LG SK8000 has good picture quality. But poor black level and peak brightness that is not too bright limit its usage only in a room with certain light condition. In a dark room, black produced will look tend to grey, make darks scene cannot be shown excellently. Otherwise, in a very bright room, its peak brightness is not bright enough to make the picture looks brightly. But even so, once it is used in a dimly-lit room or a room with normal light condition, the picture produced will looks well. Comes with HDR content, it may already support most of HDR formats, but its HDR performance is still far from the expected, particularly when compared to the higher model or premium TV. But the advantage, it has wide viewing angle coverage, make it is as a good TV when used in a wide room with viewers watch TV from multiple angles. Except its limited picture quality, performance of other features offered by SK8000 is excellent like motion handling, input lags, smart TV and others.
Should I buy this TV, as long as you don’t often watch TV in a dark room or a very bright room, this TV may be a good option for you who are searching mid-level TV with affordable price. It is very suitable for you particularly who will use it in a wide room with a lot of viewers. But of course, the decision certainly is comes back to you according to your need and preferences. At the point, performance and features offered is comparable to the price that offered.
Compared to the Competitor
LG SK8000 vs SK9000
LG SK9000 is one level above SK8000. With the same screen (55SK8000PUA vs 55SK9000PUA, 65SK8000PUA vs 65SK9000PUA), it is priced hundreds dollar more expensive than SK8000. Equally coming with IPS panel, SK9000 comes with direct LED backlight with Full Array Local Dimming. It may have a bit stronger contrast ratio, but it cannot still produce deep black, makes its dark room performance is poor. But even so, it has brighter peak brightness, the picture displayed on its screen looks more consistent when used in a brighter room. Additionally, brighter peak brightness also makes HDR images produced looks better. Equally coming with Nano Cell Display technology, SK900 come with pro version, allow it to produce wider color gamut than SK8000 that certainly makes colors of HDR images produced looks more accurate. The other advantage, it comes with 2.2 channel speaker system with built-in woofer, make it has more impressive sound quality, particularly in low frequency or bass performance. Meanwhile, about performance of other features offered like motion handling, input lags, smart TVs and others, their difference is not too striking. If you have extra budget, LG SK9000 becomes the better alternative for you considering picture quality produced is better.
LG SK8000 vs Samsung NU8000
With the same price (49NU8000 vs 49SK8000PUA, UN55NU8000 vs 55SK8000PUA, and UN65NU8000 vs 65SK8000PUA, Samsung NU8000 is sold a bit more expensive than SK8000. Meanwhile, the advantage offered, it has better picture quality due it has far stronger contrast ratio, better color reproduction and brighter peak brightness. But even so, since it is a VA TV, its side viewing angle coverage is poor, make the picture produced look deteriorate from the side. Meanwhile, performance of other features offered is also not far different to SK8000 and they have advantages and disadvantages than each other. HDR formats supported are not as many as LG SK8000 where it doesn’t support Dolby Vision and Advanced HDR. But instead, it already supports HDR10+, a new HDR images as the enhancement of HDR10 but it already uses dynamic metadata like Dolby Vision. Overall, as long as you don’t often watch TV from the side, Samsung NU8000 is better, particularly for you who like watch movies with a lot of dark scenes like thriller or horror movies or watch TV in a dark room. To read complete review of Samsung NU8000, please click here.
- Good Side Viewing Angle Coverage
- Excellent Motion Handling
- Excellent Input Lags
- Cannot produce deep dark
- Peak brightness is limited