Home > Hardware, Testing, Video > LG 42UB820T 4K UHD TV Review

LG 42UB820T 4K UHD TV Review

After several people often asked me about audio pass-through, and 4K video support on mini PCs, with some suggesting adding a donation button to my website, I decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for an AV Receiver and a 4K TV by asking for donations and selling some samples I used for review. Thanks to the great help of my readers, I managed to get enough money to buy LG 42UB820T on Lazada for 19,610 Baht including shipping (~$600) via 10% coupon I got in a newsletter, as well Onkyo TX-NR636 7.2 channel receiver in a local shop in Chiang Mai (Sahapanich). I’m still waiting for the speakers, so I’ll start by reviewing the TV. This model is sold as 42UB820V in Europe, and 42UB8200 in Hong Kong and probably other markets.

I spent a lot of time studying about 4K TV and AV receiver features, and even speakers, and also learned about online shopping in Thailand, and some of the key lessons include:

  • Don’t overestimate sellers technical knowledges of products. Many times they don’t really know the details of the products they sell. The seller told me the current TV I wanted to buy did not support HDMI 2.0, and I had to purchase a more expensive model….
  • Even the manufacturer site may be wrong, as the Thai website listed 42UB820T as only providing 3 HDMI 1.4 input.
  • Read the user’s manual to make sure. This is where I learned all three HDMI ports supported HDMI 2.0 (2160p @ 60 Hz)
  • Online shipping in Thailand: Lazada (Paypal accepted) and Cdiscount seems to have very good deals online, and priceza.com can be used to compare prices on online shops in Thailand. HomePro also has an online shop called directtoshop, and this is where I purchased Pioneer S-11 speakers.
  • LG has a service center in Chiang Mai, while Onkyo and other AV receiver manufacturers do not, which is why I purchased the TV online (1-year warranty), and the AV Receiver in a local shop (3-year warranty).
  • You can get a complete 4K 60Hz (HDCP 2.2) / 7.2 audio home theater system for about 50,000 Baht (~$1,500 US)

But let’s go back to the TV. I’ll unbox it first, explain about the first time setup, go through the user interface, and test it as a media player.

LG 42UB820T 4K TV Pictures

Lazada sent the TV via TNT courier, and I received it within a couple of days in the large box below.

42UB820T_Package

Click to Enlarge

Before getting to the TV itself, let’s check out all the accessories provided with the television.

Magic Remote vs IR Remote (Click to Enlarge)

LG UHD TV Accessories (Click to Enlarge)

That’s the list from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Power cord
  • 2x Stand bases + 4 screws
  • 2x cable management bits, and a cable holder
  • Smart TV Quick Start Guide (One in English, one in Thai)
  • IR remote control with 2x AAA batteries
  • Magic remote (AN-MR500) with 2x AA batteries, and multi-lingual (and pretty much useless) remote user’s manual
  • Component and composite gender cables
  • Ferrite core for Ethernet cable
  • Warranty card
  • Owner’s manual in Thai and English

Models that support 3D (e.g. UB830) should also come with one or more pairs of cinema 3D glasses. The Quick Setup Guide, User Guide, and Owner’s Manual can also be downloaded online.

Magic Remote vs IR Remote (Click to Enlarge)

Magic Remote vs IR Remote (Click to Enlarge)

The IR remote has more buttons, but 99% of the time I’m just using the magic remote, and it’s just great to use, and I’m used to playing with such remote with the Mele F10 models. The key difference is that to enabled the mouse pointer, you just need to shake the remote, and after a while or when using the arrow keys it will revert to remote mode. I give high marks to this remote control, and it also features a microphone for voice input.

Back Panel of 42UB820T (Click to Enlarge)

Back Panel of 42UB820T (Click to Enlarge)

That’s the back panel of the TV, where you’ll find the connectors, mounting points for the bases, 200×200 mm VESA mount, and at the bottom in the middle a Joystick button.

Joystick Button

Joystick Button

It’s used to turn on/off the TV, adjust the volume, change channels, and access settings, but unless your remote is broken, you don’t really need to use it at all. Some remote control and “intelligent” sensors are also located in that zone.

Top View of Connectors (Click to Enlarge))

Top View of Connectors (Click to Enlarge))

Bottom and Side Connectors (Click to Enlarge)

Bottom and Side Connectors (Click to Enlarge)

The TV has plenty of connectors:

  • 3.5mm audio jack for external speakers or headphones
  • An Ethernet port
  • S/PDIF out to connect to an AV receiver
  • Composite and component ports
  • TV antenna connector (The TV support Analog TV, Digital TV (DVB-T2) and radio)
  • 3x HDMI 2.0 / DVI input ports all supporting 2160p @ 60 Hz:
    • HDMI 1 – Supports HDCP 2.2
    • HDMI 2 – Supports Audio Return Channel (ARC) and SIMPLINK
    • HDMI 3 – Supports MHL. The manual also says “HDMI3 is only 4K 50Hz / 60 Hz”, and you need to use HDMI1 or HDMI2 for 2160p @ 24 or 30Hz
  • 3x USB 2.0 host ports, which USB 1 being reserved for external USB hard drive (maybe it can drive more current?)

Setting Up LG 42UB820T UHD Television

First, you’ll need to attach the two stand bases with 4 screws. That’s easy. Alternatively you could purchase wall mount brackets (LSW240B, MSW240, or other 200×200 VESA brackets) to mount the TV against the wall.

I placed the TV on a small furniture, and connected some HDMI cables, Ethernet, and the power cable. You’ll also probably want to wind the ferrite core around your Ethernet cable to reduce electromagnetic interference. After a few seconds, you’ll be greeted with a Welcome Screen asking you to press the wheel/OK button on the magic remote control.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

From here you just need to follow the wizard in order to:

  1. Select the language
  2. Select the country (Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, or Vietnam)
  3. Select the environment: Home or Store
  4. Accept General Terms, and Additional Services conditions. Interestingly all in Thai language, despite selecting English.
  5. Configure the Network: Wired (Ethernet) or Wireless (Wi-Fi)
  6. Scan channels for Digital TV, Radio, and Analog TV. The TV signal is pretty poor in my room, and my Indoor antenna only allowed to be catch Analog TV channels.

LG_42UB820T_Scan_Channels

Once this is done the setup is complete, and you’ll be asked to go through a mini tutorial to learn how to use the magic remote control.

LG_Setup_Complete

Soon after completion of the settings, a windows pop to upgrade the firmware, so I went ahead, and testing everything with the new firmware.

LG_TV_Firmware_UpdateYou’re now ready to have some fun.

LG 4K Ultra HD TV User Interface (NetCast 4.5)

I understand LG has two user interfaces for its TVs: NetCast gets used in entry level TVs, and WebOS in higher models. Since I bought an inexpensive model (for a 4K TV), my model features NetCast 4.5. Pressing the home button starts the interface.

LG NetCast 4.5 (Click to Enlarge)

LG NetCast 4.5 (Click to Enlarge)

The top left section shows the current input (Antenna, AV, Component, or HDMI 1,2 or 3). The right part of the screen has some country specific “Premium” apps, LG Smart World app including an app store for free and paid apps, and SmartShare to access media from internal storage, a USB hard drive or flash drive, LG smartphone,  or PC using the SmartShare programme. The company also provides a download Link to Plex server in that page fro Windows and Mac, so if they haven’t modified anything it might also be possible to use Linux distributions. I have not tried to connect to PC, and only use the USB hard drive to test video playback from the TV.

Other settings include the Input List to select video input, and audio output.

LG_Netcast_Input_List

Video inputs include the antenna, composite, component, and the three HDMI input ports, while audio output options are as follows: TV Speaker, external Speaker/HDMI ARC), or LG Sound Sync (Optical). Time machine is the PVR function for the LG TV, and it works for analog and digital TV, but unfortunately HDMI input recording is not supported. I tried at both 2160p and 1080p with an Android TV box, but either the option is grayed out, or if you press the Record key on the IR remote, the TV clearly reports it’s an “Unsupported function in HDMI input”. The INTERNET icon will launch a web browser where you can either use a software keyboard or voice input and browse the web very much like in a PC. I invite you to check all this, as well as the full Settings, and a quick look at the user guide in the video below.

The TV box I connected is Zidoo X9 which supports 2160p up to 30Hz, and it worked fine with the TV. Just make sure, you press the “Ratio” button on the IR remote control and select “Just Scan” or the sides of the user interface will be cut due to overscan. I’ve also been told that since the TV only supports 8-bit / YCbCr 4:2:0, and not 10-bit RBG/YUV 4:4:4, so some HDMI 2.0 TV boxes may not work at 4K60 apparently due to limitations of some processors like Rockchip RK3288 that does not support YUV420 video output.

Image quality is very good, and even at 1080p I find the image looks significantly better and sharper than what I get with my Panasonic TH-L39EM6T Full HD television. So there must be other improvements beside just the higher resolution.

I’ll also just add a side-note here, as 42″ might be quite small for an Ultra HD television, as according to this chart, the human eye may not be able to distinguish the difference compared to 1080p further than 5 feet (about 1.5 meters).

Click to Enlarge. Source:

Click to Enlarge. Source: Carlton Bale

So you should really try to get one of the larger models if your budget allows it, unless you use the TV for testing (as I do), or as a computer monitor.

LG 42UB820T Video Playback Capabilities

I’ve gone through my usual list of video to evaluate video playback capabilities using the TV software (SmartShare) by playing videos from the NTFS partition of a USB hard drive.

Videos samples from samplemedia.linaro.org, plus some H.265/HEVC videos (Elecard), and a low resolution VP9 video:

  • H.264 codec / MP4 container (Big Buck Bunny), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG2 codec / MPG container, 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • MPEG4 codec, AVI container 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • VC1 codec (WMV), 480p/720p/1080p – OK
  • Real Media (RMVB), 720p / 5Mbps – RV8, RV9, and RV10 – OK
  • WebM / VP8 – The software will filter out .webm file extension
  • H.265 codec / MPEG TS container (360p/720p/1080p) – File type not supported
  • WebM / VP9 (no audio in video) – The software will filter out .webm file extension

Some higher bitrate videos:

  • ED_HD.avi – File type not supported
  • big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi (1080p H.264 – 12 Mbps) – OK.
  • h264_1080p_hp_4.1_40mbps_birds.mkv (40 Mbps) – OK
  • hddvd_demo_17.5Mbps_1080p_VC1.mkv (17.5Mbps) – OK
  • Jellyfish-120-Mbps.mkv (120 Mbps video without audio) – OK

I’ve also played high definition audio codecs to check the SmartShare can down-mix them to its speakers:

  • AC3 / Dolby Digital 5.1 – OK
  • E-AC-3 / Dolby Digital+ 5.1 – OK
  • Dolby Digital+ 7.1 – “Audio format not supported”
  • TrueHD 5.1 – Loading animation shows forever (I needed to go into standby to recover)
  • TrueHD 7.1 – Loading animation shows forever (I needed to go into standby to recover)
  • DTS HD Master – No audio
  • DTS HD High Resolution – No audio

So you’ll definitely need to connect your TV to an AV receiver if you want to play these files. Since S/PDIF does not support TrueHD or DTS-HD, you’d probably have to use HDMI 2 with an ARC capable receiver.

I could not play Bluray ISO since .iso file extension is filtered out. 1080i MPEG2 videos (GridHD.mpg & Pastel1080i25HD.mpg) could also play just fine.

4K video playback however is not too bad:

  • HD.Club-4K-Chimei-inn-60mbps.mp4 – OK
  • sintel-2010-4k.mkv – “This file type is not supported”
  • Beauty_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Bosphorus_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_MP4.mp4 (H.265) – OK
  • Jockey_3840x2160_120fps_420_8bit_HEVC_TS.ts (H.265) – OK
  • MHD_2013_2160p_ShowReel_R_9000f_24fps_RMN_QP23_10b.mkv (10-bit HEVC) – OK (First time ever, I can play this video)
  • phfx_4KHD_VP9TestFootage.webm (VP9) – .webm, files are not shown
  • BT.2020.20140602.ts (Rec.2020 compliant video) – “This file type is not supported”

Despite the TV not supporting 3D, I’ve also tried some 3D videos as the 3D model (xxUG830T) should have the same software:

  • bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (1080p Over/Under) – OK
  • bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 (2160p Over/Under) – “This file type is not supported”
  • Turbo_Film-DreamWorks_trailer_VO_3D.mp4 (1080p SBS) – OK

The TV software is usable, but most people may still prefer using an external TV box for video playback, and access to more apps. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the TV so far, with the main concern being the lack of (10-bit) RGB/YUV444 support via HDMI which could cause compatibility at 4K60 with HDMI 2.0 devices, but for that (and 3D) you’d need to look at models UB850T/V or greater. I know I have not covered everything, so let me know if you have further questions about the TV in the comments section.

Update:  I’ve loaded a 4K test pattern on the TV, and taken a close up picture as a reference when I test 4K TV boxes. Here’s the picture from my camera, and further zoomed below to verify one pixel indeed corresponds to one dot as it should be for a 4K display.LG_4K_Test_PatternYou can compare this to the picture taken from another 4K TV with a Rockchip RK3288 based device outputting 2160p, but rendering at 1080p as shown by the four pixels required to render one dot.

  1. Indy
    January 24th, 2015 at 20:52 | #1

    For the record: bbb_sunflower_2160p_60fps_stereo_abl.mp4 is 3840×4320

  2. Alfred Braithewaite
    January 25th, 2015 at 09:57 | #2

    Now you have a good quality TV and sound system (thanks to the donations of others), it would be criminal not to buy an adequate antenna so that you can report on DVB-t/t2 reception and viewing on this device and other set top boxes. ;+}

  3. January 25th, 2015 at 22:39 | #3

    @Alfred Braithewaite
    The cheap antenna I bought actually work pretty well in other rooms, but in office it’s hard to get a clear signal except at very specific locations (It works with my DVB-T2 STB). Maybe I just need one of these USB powered signal booster.

  4. anon
    January 26th, 2015 at 00:06 | #4

    So now after you got the system for a whole, time to root’n’Linux the thing, huh? 😀

    Joking aside, cannot wait to start seeing 2160p tests with different ARM implementations, to see which ones actually do the real 2160p (even if at only 4:2:0 level), end of course the magical combo with h.265 decode.

  5. January 26th, 2015 at 09:31 | #5

    More discussions about using the TV as a computer screen, 2160p 30Hz HEVC video decoding limitation by the internal TV decoder, and viewing distances.
    http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/791648-4k-tv-and-av-receiver-purchase/page-2#entry8986550

  6. luke
    January 26th, 2015 at 11:14 | #6

    Odd that LG are selling 4K TVs with NetCast and have not fully moved over to WebOS yet.

  7. January 26th, 2015 at 15:51 | #7

    Tv seems to be exactly like mine except the IR remote is completly different !

  8. February 19th, 2015 at 16:59 | #8

    Thanks for sharing some good knowledge, keep posting more information.

  9. March 15th, 2015 at 13:52 | #9

    @embedded_geek
    does lg 42ub820t allready built in ISDB-T receiver

  10. March 15th, 2015 at 14:54 | #10

    @bong
    There are several 42UB820 models. In Europe it’s 42UB820V, in some countries in Asia and Oceania 42UB820T (as above), etc.. 42UB820T supports DVB-T2. Normally, if your country supports ISDB-T, the TV sold in your country will support it, and it will not use some other standard that nobody can use.

  11. hartej
    March 17th, 2015 at 12:35 | #11

    sir will it be able to play future 4k blurays and sports 4k blurays at 60hz

  12. March 17th, 2015 at 16:15 | #12

    @hartej
    As long as your Blu-ray player supports 4K @ 60Hz in YCbCr 4:2:0 mode it should work.
    I’ve explained a bit about the different HDMI 2.0 implementations @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/01/25/all-hdmi-2-0-implementations-are-not-equal/

  13. Doms
    April 21st, 2015 at 03:52 | #13

    Have you tested this to run 4K @ 60Hz? I’m planning to get one and will be used primarily as monitor.

  14. April 21st, 2015 at 09:14 | #14

    @Doms
    I don’t have devices that support 4K60 as they should, so no.
    Make sure you graphics card supports 2160p YBrPr 4:2:0 HDMI 2.0 as explained at http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/01/25/all-hdmi-2-0-implementations-are-not-equal/

  15. Mangesh
    June 5th, 2015 at 23:31 | #15

    I have purchased the said model in Hong Kong but now I am using the same in India, my query is whether we can change the Software to local version.

  16. Bruno Martin
    June 17th, 2015 at 11:15 | #16

    Hi! Im thinking of buying an LG 42UB8200 model, but I can’t find enough information to be sure of the purchase…
    Do you use your model as a PC monitor?
    I have a Zotac model GTX 970 graphics card… I read a lot about this model not having the right chroma settings (it would be 4:2:0 instead of the required 4:4:4 )
    Do you think you could send me an email telling me if I should get this model or not?
    I was so happy when I saw the price on this 4kTV model, but then I went to search a bit to be sure and the thrill wore off… :/

  17. hari
    June 25th, 2015 at 18:26 | #17

    Hi! I am using UB820T Model.How to activate second display option in this Tv , I am using HTC Mobile

  18. sanjeev
    July 23rd, 2015 at 22:24 | #18

    I try to play 2160p video from my external usb hard disk but there is shown in tv that video is not supporting format.
    So is there any other format of 2160p is supported or not from external usb drives?

  19. Karimuddin
    August 19th, 2015 at 00:27 | #19

    Recently purchased 42UB820T-TH and software updates to the latest version, I couldn’t find an option for LG smart world to access apps to download

    Please suggest

  20. August 23rd, 2015 at 15:39 | #20

    @Karimuddin
    Sorry, I’m not sure. I’m only using Android TV boxes, or Linux or Windows computers with the TV, and never actually using the TV interface, except shortly in that review.

  21. September 15th, 2015 at 11:24 | #21

    Will this be upgradable to Web OS 2.0?

  22. September 16th, 2015 at 18:59 | #22

    @Gokul Nair
    I understand that it won’t.
    The CNET article (http://www.cnet.com/news/lg-updates-2014-tvs-to-web-os-2-0/) only states that WebOS 1.0 enabled TVs will be upgraded.
    I’m still hoping I’m wrong though…

  23. Cosmo
    October 28th, 2015 at 19:20 | #23

    Hi thanks for this great review.

    I am looking at buying the 49″ big brother of this model (49UB850T) to use as a monitor for my computer but I can not ascertain whether it has the HDMI 2.0 port that you claim this model does. None of the information I see online seems to indicate that it does. Are you able to clarify that for me.

    I plan to use it with a GTX-980Ti graphics card which has HDMI 2.0 out and it is really important that it has HDMI 2.0 and 4:4:4 chroma settings. Appreciate anyone’s advice to help clarify the above query.

    Thanks.

  24. October 28th, 2015 at 19:29 | #24

    @Cosmo

    Check the last table @ http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/01/25/all-hdmi-2-0-implementations-are-not-equal/
    UB85xx models should support 2160p 4:4:4 chroma on HDMI 3 port.

    Try to double check with your seller’s support team, although many sellers are not that knowledgeable about the products they sell…

  25. Cosmo
    October 28th, 2015 at 20:55 | #25

    @cnxsoft

    Hi cnxsoft

    My seller has no clue at all.

    This model is not a UB85xx model though. It is a LG 49UB830T which is the bigger version of the LG 42UB820T in the article.

    It worries me that there is no mention of HDMI 2.0 on the manufacturers website though (see below).

    http://www.lg.com/sg/tvs/lg-49UB830T

  26. October 28th, 2015 at 21:00 | #26

    @Cosmo
    Ah OK. In the first comment it was 49UB850T… But if it (49)UB830T then, according to that same table (which you should find in the user’s manual), UB83xx models only support 8-bit 4:2:0 chroma @ 2160p60, so if you need 4:4:4 chroma @ 2160p60, then you need another model.

  27. Cosmo
    October 29th, 2015 at 01:49 | #27

    @cnxsoft

    Thats a major bummer. I am struggling to get my head around what the info on the page in your link is saying.

    Is there any chance that you are able to tell me which models (or lines) I should be looking at to guarantee 4:4:4 over HDMI 2 that will work with my graphics card (GTX-980Ti)?

    It would be most appreciated.

  28. October 29th, 2015 at 09:37 | #28

    @Cosmo
    For example. 49ub850t = 49 + UB85xx. In that table, you can see UB85xx, UB93xx, UB95xx, UB98xx, UC97xx, UG88xx, and UC9x models all support 4:4:4 chroma @ 2160p60. Direct link to table: http://www.cnx-software.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/LG_TV_HDMI_2.0_Ouput.png

    I’ve just noticed I made a mistake in my first comment, HDMI IN 3 is the only one to support 4:2:2 chroma and 8-bit to 12-bit color depth, but 4:4:4 chroma with 8-bit color depth should be supported on HDMI port on models listed above in this comment including 49UB850T.

    It is highly likely (but not 100% sure) that your graphics card will also work with the cheaper 49UB830T model, but just with lower chroma sampling.

  29. Cosmo
    October 29th, 2015 at 12:11 | #29

    @cnxsoft

    Ok thanks for the assistance. It helps a lot.

  30. Cosmo
    October 30th, 2015 at 01:51 | #30

    Just got this response from LG Singapore….

    Dear Sir,

    All LG TV’s from the UB & UF series support HDMI 2.0.

    Best regards,
    Customer Service Division
    LG Electronics Singapore

  31. February 10th, 2016 at 20:38 | #31

    This TV Good For Ps4 Gaming I Mean No Lag Can I Buy This TV For PS4 Gaming

  32. July 3rd, 2016 at 10:47 | #32

    After 18 months, the TV is already broken. I have a vertical white line as shown @ https://plus.google.com/110719562692786994119/posts/LCRVKVGpSwz

  1. January 25th, 2015 at 15:00 | #1
  2. January 26th, 2015 at 15:10 | #2
  3. January 29th, 2015 at 21:10 | #3
  4. February 1st, 2015 at 10:55 | #4
  5. February 5th, 2015 at 19:20 | #5
  6. February 22nd, 2015 at 14:30 | #6
  7. April 7th, 2015 at 17:30 | #7
  8. August 16th, 2015 at 14:40 | #8
  9. August 27th, 2015 at 17:00 | #9
  10. October 9th, 2015 at 15:10 | #10
  11. November 27th, 2015 at 17:50 | #11