The LG SK10Y is the Korean tech company’s 2018 flagship soundbar and its meant to be paired with 65-inch and bigger panels so it’s quite long and will look a bit ridiculous if you pair it with a 42-inch TV.
You can also wall mount this soundbar, though thankfully for me the TV bench in my living room was just long enough to accommodate this rather big audio powerhouse. As LG delivered an SK85 Super UHD TV at the same time (which will be reviewed in the October issue of NXT) I used it as my audio source, connecting it to the TV with the included optical audio cable, and for HDMI AV sources you can use a 4K pass through HDMI port.
An included wireless woofer was also quite easy to pair with the soundbar. What wasn’t included with the soundbar for this review was the optional two wireless rear speakers for actual 7.1.2 surround sound.
The SK10Y has its own WiFi and LAN connectivity, which you can use to stream audio and voice control the soundbar with Chromecast, via a Google Home for example. It also contains a host of features to make enhance your viewing experience with surround sound audio, thanks to it’s 5.1.2 channel system (that’s five speakers, a woofer and two upward firing ‘bounce’ speakers for virtual surround sound) and Dolby Atmos. LG’s partnership with premium audiohouse Meridian Audio means that the SK10Y has Meridian’s Bass and Space technology to ensure that the soundstage is wide and immersive for all listeners, and there’s also Height Elevation technology for better speech and music.
To test out the sonic capabilities of the SK10Y we choose the first episode of the new Matt Groening animated show Disenchantment on Netflix Premium as it’s in 4K UHD, and therefore has Dolby Atmos. With this soundbar you can actually specifically adjust the volume of the overhead speakers to match the height of your ceiling, and what this does is ‘bounce’ sound off your ceiling down to you so that you can hear ‘overhead’ sound that matches what’s happening on the screen – in our case a castle’s drawbridge slamming shut. There’s also a peculiar battle scene involving explosions and some squishing that sounded awesome, while vocals were clear and distinct. In particular, Bean, the irresponsible Princess of Dreamland, Bean, had a noticeably Bartish inflection to her voice.
For a consumer soundbar the SK10Y does produce the goods, with excellent virtual surround sound, clear voices and decent bass from its 550w system.
LG C8 OLED TV
LG’s premium OLED TVs have been selling very well over the last couple of years, and this year the Korean brand has added some to new features to keep them top-spec against rival TV makers. LG current has three main model types for 2018, the W8, E8 and C8 with the C8 offering the most balanced value proposition for screen size and features. For our review we decided to to test the 65-inch version of the C8.
The LG C8 sports a new design that draws attention to its forward curved stand, which is not just for aesthetics – it helps channel sound from the TV’s downward firing speakers towards the listener. Like most modern OLED TVs the C8’s design at the rear has a wider band on the lower aspect of the panel which houses the TV’s electronics, speakers and connection ports, leaving the upper portion superslim at just a few millimetres.
The TV panel itself is near borderless and combined with the slim side profile quite attractive. As a modern TV there’s plenty of connectivity options including HDMI, USB and LAN ports, plus WiFi and Bluetooth, and while setting up the TV connecting it to my home WiFi network was straightforward. Oh and the C8 comes with LG’s latest Magic Remote, which provides a very swift and easy menu UI by working like an ‘air mouse’, so even setting up your Netflix account on the C8 wasn’t difficult.
For 2018 LG have added a new α9 processor on all their 2018 OLED models for better picture quality and faster frame rates of 120 Mhz to produce clearer and smoother motion, and its welcome especially during the World Cup season to watch matches. With the bundled Netflix app and a Netflix premium account you can now get 4K UHD and Dolby Digital content (depending on the movie), but for 4K HDR testing we had a marathon session of Destiny 2 from a PS4 Pro and the fast screen was impressive in displaying the weapons effects of the game, especially during multiplayer boss fights.
For normal television shows we tried out free-to-air programs in both analog (while it’s still around) and digital HD, and while was most impressed by how the large panel upscales an SD source though overall there’s still a lack of colour richness to the picture. For HD upscale the C8 does much better, to the point when my mother though an old episode of 80’s Rewind from 2007 was a new program and didn’t recognise a younger Gurmit Singh!
We are very impressed with the picture quality of the LG C8 as well as its range of Smart TV and connectivity options and how it handles not only Full-HD and 4K but from SD and HD sources as well. Our only gripe is that the C8 isn’t loud enough when movie watching or gaming, but that’s were a surround sound system should be used.