Hisense LTDN65K680M3D 65 Inch 4K UHD Smart Television Review – 4K Quality Test

 

So having already stated that I bought this set as an HD upgrade to my existing set I obviously have half an eye on what this set can do with a 4K video source.and also as a 4K development desktop

I’ll start with my conclusion – in two words – absolutely stunning!

NB For this test I used this PC linked via HDMI 1.4 at 30Hz and ran through some 4k content I had picked up on the net.

Having seen the set looking this good, but not wanting to have a Desktop PC Base in my lounge I am now definitely thinking about what is the minimum spec PC that I can get away with that delivers this sort of quality?  Although this desktop machine uses an AMD GPU (which is fabulous) I don’t really need that kind of grunt for watching 4K video and am already thinking in terms of one of NVIDIA’s Kepler based GPUs (if for no other reason than to experiment with 4K at 60Hz (though having witnessed these demos running at 30Hz I seriously doubt the value of the extra Hz!)

 

(Actual Screen Grabs from the Hisense)

Interestingly I found that the TV would output at what I understand to be UHD (3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall) but actually has a default capability that is even higher than that (4096×2160)!  An unexpected bonus!

Conclusion: Congratulations to everyone who managed to pick this up on Cyber Monday but even at £1499 it represents excellent value for money!

And it is also good to see the following quote from Hisense UK

“We will be releasing boxes next year capable of playing 4K content and providing new HDMI and HEVC capabilities for these monitors as and when more 4K sources become available” (I have confirmed that this monitor is included).

Not sure but possibly the box that Hisense are talking about may be something along the lines of this?

Footnote: I am looking at adding one of these to play back 4K video until such time as the above box becomes available.

There is a good article about the likely availability (and reasons for the current lack of) 4k content):

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/4k-video-source-faq,news-18021.html

 

UPDATE

The Android M8 has arrived and thus far is looking like a good short term partner for the HiSense.   By default it pops up in 720p resolution and so the first thing to do is to set it to 4K:

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The one I got came with XBMX and a 4K video player pre-installed:

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It played all the 4K videos I had downloaded flawlessly:

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I downloaded PLEX to pick up my networked photos and videos – this worked as anticipated and everything looked great!

Update:

I noticed that someone has posted their own preferred settings for this TV which turn out to be similar to the ones that I had set myself:

Pic mode:user
Brightness: 41
Contrast:70
Colour:44
Sharpness: 10
Noise reduction: off
Backlight: manual/15
Colour temp:standard
Dynamic contrast: off
Skin tone off
Motion effect: off.

Hisense LTDN65K680M3D 65 Inch 4K UHD Smart Television Review – Upscaling

 

If I am honest I bought this TV because it fell within my upgrade criteria (see my last post but one if that sounds remotely interesting) I was familiar with 4K TVs but had no real plans to get one just yet.  But when I spotted the Hisense ar such a good price I could not resist!  When I think about it the most use that this TV will currently get is in watching standard HD, and so the up scaling quality to 4K is quite important.

I haven’t had the device long but reading the article below suggests that Hisense have favoured the “Halos effect” which to my eyes reminds me a little of the ‘oil painting’ filter common in graphics packages (Paint.Net has a great oil filter – use it just a little on a photograph and you will see what I mean).

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Examples of the different artefacts produced by up-scaling algorithms

So that is no bad thing but my gut feeling is  there might be better options for up-scaling (by better I also mean more processor intensive) and so I am already starting to think about alternatives (perhaps one of the newer BluRay players that sport custom up-scaling technology up to 4K)

A good (and straightforward) explanation of up scaling issues:

http://www.red.com/learn/red-101/upscaled-1080P-vs-4K/

Is up-scaling important?

As this diagram shows the further away from your set you sit the less important up-scaling is (you might have the best up-scaler around but be sitting too far away to really be getting any benefit!)

 

“Mastered in 4K”

I will come back to this but have to say that I was a little disappointed with the BluRay for “Taxi Driver” which to my eyes looks quite grainy.  of course the age of the film is largely responsible for this perhaps making it not the best choice as an example of this process. (though I welcome the chance to see this film again on the ‘big screen’(!))

 

Taxi Driver / After Earth /Angels & Deamons (Mastered in 4k 1080p BluRay)

(Not sure how these come across on the web but they look pretty impressive in ‘real life’ 🙂

 

YouView

YouView remote control

 

I use a YouView box most of the time for watching and recording TV.  It up-scales well (both SD and HD).

I found it handy to program the YouView remote with the code for the Hisense  which enables me to control a lot of the Hisense’s functionality without having to pick up a separate control.

Incidentally the control code for the Hisense is “491” – to program hold down the TV button for 3 seconds, enter 491 (The TV will switch off) then press OK and you are done.!)

Hisense LTDN65K680M3D 65 Inch 4K UHD Smart Television Review – Device Mirroring

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So one menu option on the Hisense that caught my eye was “AnyView Cast”.  This is supposed to allow your phone or tablet screen to be mirrored on the big screen over wifi.

 

I selected the option on the TV  (see screen 1) and picked up my HP Stream 7 Windows 8 device and proceeded to pair the two devices

 

 

 

 

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I am an optimist but even I was a little surprised when It worked first time!  (The HP Stream is a fantastic device and definitely seems to be able to punch above it’s weight in the specs department)..

NOTE: Having said that it worked first time I did find that subsequent connections sometimes failed!

 

 

 

 

With apologies for not thinking out a better scenario (and the lack of sound)  but at least you can see this functionality in action: in the short clip below:

 

BTW In case anyone is wondering this scenario is not going to give you 4K – but it’s a useful thing to have built into your TV nevertheless!

Hisense LTDN65K680M3D 65 Inch 4K UHD Smart Television Review – Initial Setup & YouTube App

On switch on you are presented with a series of screens to setup the basic configuration of the device: (click on any image to enlarge, I have tried to keep the images in their logical order with selections shown where possible):

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After selecting your region and internet settings you can access the devices own web based menu and select from a series of apps and options from which the below is a selection:

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YouTube App

Selecting the YouTube App gives the option to search for videos (I searched for “4K” and selected “Star Wars”)

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Sadly the videos do not play back in 4K though they do look OK – this perhaps isn’t surprising when you think about it as the TV would require copious amounts of it’s own memory in order to buffer the video. 

Perhaps in the future the App could be given the option of buffering to an inserted (and empty) USB stick and also an option to allow playback at any of the available YouTube default resolutions?

The option to pair a mobile device (screen 3 above) is nice to see included though perhaps somewhat redundant in the light of the in-built support for streaming/casting from devices. 

Also interesting target advertising – when I selected Star Wars I was first given an advertising trailer of the new Hobbit film! (screen 7 above)

Incidentally I also tried the web browser and applied the same search but I could not get it to default to anything other than the mobile version of “YouTube” which defaults to a maximum 720p for playback).  I suspect if this were not the case the same buffering issue might rear it’s head?

 

Settings / Options

There are four main settings screens, some with sub menus which I will work through as they become relevant:

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Hisense LTDN65K680M3D 65 Inch 4K UHD Smart Television Review – History

 

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Historically my criteria for purchase of a new TV goes something like:

  • My current TV must be at least 3 years old
  • Budget  £1000

And so this formula has led me to:

Tosh circa 2000

Toshiba 28W8DB. CRT

I have great memories of this TV which came with a full Dolby Pro logic surround system and integrated stand.  I think I got this Circa 1998 (no idea what my foot is doing in this picture – sorry about that – and if anyone is concerned the answer is yes – I do have new slippers now!)

Next up was this Sharp Aquos 42” 1080P set:

Circa 2005 – Notable as the first high definition TV we owned and it’s massive size (at least in those days). this TV now does sterling service wall mounted in the kids play room.

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(Note to self – those cables look a mess!)

Circa 2010 came this 50” Samsung Plasma – a significant upward shift in size and the first TV to support 3D – which was my main motivation for the purchase (read elsewhere on my blog – stereoscopy is a hobby of mine – yes, I am that nerd).  Not much changed otherwise (a spot of decorating and some new carpets maybe)

(Eagle eyed will spot the ill fated (but bargain at £799) Lenco 65” 4K TV in the background waiting to go back as it had arrived damaged)

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The Hisense unboxed and in situ. (It is big – this picture doesn’t give you a sense of just how big!)

The first thing that struck me about the TV, apart from its sheer size  is how good it looks!  Aesthetically it is a nice bit of kit lRemoteooking every bit as good (and possibly a little better) than TV’s from the “name brands”. 

The remote is simple and although plastic feels better quality than the average remote.  I was able to navigate around what is quite a lot of functionality quite easily – so ergonomically I guess that is a good thing.  (It feels functionality better than the last two TV remotes I have owned from Samsung and Sharp).

 

The TV isn’t too heavy and I was able to un-box and attach it to it’s stand (which IS heavy) by myself (easier with 2 people but my wife is away at the moment!). Once assembled it was a struggle to lift it onto the existing unit (in the picture above) but again, I managed it alone.

Box

 

The down side of being well packaged will be a trip to the dump at the weekend to rid myself of all the cardboard and inserts!

 

 

(I will save switching on the TV for the next post).