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LG has tackled the challenge of ever more complex TV tech by the clever expedient of keeping things stupidly simple. The installation procedure, for example, is remarkably pain free.
LG's mascot Bean Bird is on hand to help even card-carrying technophobes get up and running. The rest of us can simply admire the easy elegance of Bean Bird's animations.
The UF850V features the second iteration of LG's webOS Smart Platform, which frankly isn't radically different from what we've seen before. The distinctive striped Launcher runs faster, but behaves in much the same way.
Originally a mobile platform devised by Palm, LG had been working with Hewlett-Packard to evolve a TV centric iteration when the opportunity to arose to acquire webOS outright. What this translates to is a simplified home screen that offers every type of source, from tuner, IPTV and local sources, as well as a history of recent activity, all accessed via a horizontal bar of coloured slides.
For the first time, you can treat online content just like any other channel, hopping between them without having to exit and then relaunch apps.
Embedded Smart streaming services include Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Wuaki.TV, Now TV and BBC iPlayer.
Sidle along to the LG content store and you'll find additional premium VoD content (including movies) as well as gratis games and other apps. Attractions include Blinkbox, BBC News and Sport, and Eurosport Player.
Supported audio services number Deezer, Napster, vTuner, Spotify (but not Spotify Connect). Determined to keep 3D alive, LG even provides a dedicated 3D showcase, with a variety of short 3D films available to squint at.
To install some of these content services though you'll need to set up a separate LG account before you can download them, which is a bit of a faff.
The Netflix client itself is 4K as the set has an integrated HEVC decoder. It's good to see the number of UHD shows increasing here, with Video Game High School, Bloodline, and Grace & Frankie, joining Marco Polo, Daredevil, Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.
Also included is the latest version of LG's Magic Remote, a premium wand with embossed buttonry.
This Bluetooth pointer proves to be an excellent way to navigate the set's webOS menu. Its gyroscopic accuracy is impressive, and it also boasts an integrated microphone for voice commands.
The voice recognition on the Magic Remote is darn good too. It can recognise channel commands, as well as basic menu functions (such as TV guide and input selection). It very quickly becomes clear that voice command is the simplest way to access the set's Settings menu, even allowing you to drill down to Picture and Network modes.
As a viewer with an ingrained distrust of both voice and motion control systems, this comes as quite a shocking revelation.
You can even use your tonsils to search for content genres. Enunciate Science Fiction and it throws up a thumbnail list of upcoming SF shows. If you see anything you like, you can schedule a Reminder or Timeshift them to an attached USB hard drive.
Of course, it still gets things wrong. I asked for an HDMI input, only to have the TV fire up its web browser and look for HTC – perhaps I was mumbling...
The UF850V makes for a great media hub.
Once connected, LG's Smartshare interrogates your network for music, video and photos. To make sure you can make sense of what it discovers, go in via the device and folder structure. If you don't you'll be lost amid content from your various storage devices.
File support is good enough. The UF850 offers codec and wrapper support for most popular video formats, including AVI, WMA, MKV, MOV and MP4. Music compatibility includes FLAC, AAC, M4A, MP3 and WMA.
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Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.