LG SM9000 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 17, 2019 at 08:38 am
LG SM9000 Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
6.8
Movies
7.9
TV Shows
7.7
Sports
8.1
Video Games
6.6
HDR Movies
7.7
HDR Gaming
8.4
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The LG SM9000 is a great 4k IPS TV with wide viewing angles and good peak brightness. This TV has great gaming features, with excellent low input lag, a fast response time, and support for HDMI Forum's new variable refresh rate technology. It's also future-proof, with four full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports, although we can't test this at the moment, as there are no HDMI 2.1 sources on the market. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, as it can't display deep, uniform blacks.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The LG SM9000 is a good TV for most uses. It looks good in a medium-lit room and has great wide viewing angles for watching sports or for use as a PC monitor. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it doesn't look as good in a dark room.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag for gaming.
  • Image remains accurate when viewed at an angle.
  • Future-proof features, including HDMI 2.1 support and HDMI Forum VRR.
Cons
  • Doesn't look as good in a dark room.
6.8 Movies

This is a decent TV for watching movies in a dark room. It can play 24p movies judder-free, which is great, and it has a great motion interpolation feature. Unfortunately, it doesn't look very good in a dark room, though, as, like most IPS TVs, it can't display deep, uniform blacks in a dark room, and the local dimming feature doesn't help much.

7.9 TV Shows

The LG SM9000 is a great TV for watching TV shows during the day. It has wide viewing angles, excellent reflection handling, and good peak brightness, so there shouldn't be any issues using it in a bright room. It also has a huge selection of streaming apps, great for cable-cutters.

7.7 Sports

This is a great TV for watching sports. It has wide viewing angles, great for watching the big game with a group of friends, and it has excellent reflection handling. The SM9000 also has a fast response time, so fast-moving objects look clear, with little blur trail. This TV also has good peak brightness, but might not be bright enough for all rooms.

8.1 Video Games

Excellent TV for playing video games. It has outstanding low input lag, an excellent response time, and excellent upscaling of non-4k signals. This TV is also future-proof, as it supports HDMI 2.1, great for the next generation of consoles, and it supports HDMI Forum's new variable refresh rate standard.

6.6 HDR Movies

Decent TV for watching movies in HDR. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it has disappointing contrast and poor black uniformity, so it doesn't look as good in a dark room. Although it has a local dimming feature, it's ineffective at improving dark room performance. On the other hand, this TV can display a great wide color gamut and has decent peak brightness in HDR.

7.7 HDR Gaming

This is a great TV for HDR gaming. It has outstanding low input lag and an excellent response time, for a smooth, responsive gaming experience. HDR performance is a bit more limited, as it has a disappointing contrast ratio, poor local dimming, and only decent peak brightness in HDR.

8.4 PC Monitor

This is an excellent TV for use as a PC monitor. It supports most of the common input formats and can display chroma 4:4:4 properly in most modes. It has an excellent response time, so fast-moving objects have little blur, and it has low input lag, for a responsive desktop experience. This TV also has great wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate, even when you're sitting up close.

  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Movies
  • 7.9 TV Shows
  • 7.7 Sports
  • 8.1 Video Games
  • 6.6 HDR Movies
  • 7.7 HDR Gaming
  • 8.4 PC Monitor
  1. Update 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.

Check Price

55" 55SM9000PUA
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65" 65SM9000PUA
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75" 75SM9070PUA
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86" 86SM9070PUA
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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The LG SM9000 is one of LG's top 4k LCD TVs this year and is the replacement for the 2018 LG SK9000. The SM9000 is nearly identical to the LG SM9500, but has a less powerful local dimming feature, and isn't as bright. The main competitors to the SM9000 are the LG SM9500, LG SM8600, and VA TVs like the Sony X950G, the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019, and the Sony X850G.

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The LG SM9000 has an excellent design, nearly identical to the SM9500. It has a central stand, which requires less space on a table, and the back of the leg can be used for cable management, which is convenient. It has a sleek, modern design, the TV is very thin, and it looks great wall-mounted. Unfortunately, the TV wobbles a lot when nudged or if the table isn't very steady.

Design
Stand

The stand of the TV is simple, with a similar design to the SM9500 and SM8600. Due to the curved feet, it might not be possible to place a larger soundbar in front of the TV.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 33.1" x 10.4".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

Some of the inputs are on the back of the TV, but the most commonly used inputs face to the side, which is great as they are still accessible when wall-mounted. The back of the stand is hollow, and can be used for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.43" (1.1 cm)

The borders of the TV are thin. Like the SK9000, the LCD screen sits on top of the borders, so the screen isn't protected very well and can get damaged easily when moving the TV.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.48" (6.3 cm)

The LG 55SM9000 is very thin and looks great wall-mounted. It's about the same thickness as the SM8600.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

Decent build quality overall. The TV wobbles quite a bit more than last year's model and the SM9500, which is why we gave it a lower score.

We had to exchange our SM9000 twice, as the first two units we purchased were physically damaged in the box. We don't know if this is at all indicative of an issue with LG, or if it's isolated to that particular retailer, so we didn't include this in our build quality score.

Picture Quality
5.9
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
942 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
968 : 1

Like most IPS TVs, the LG SM9000 can't display true blacks, and this is most noticeable in a dark room. Unfortunately, the local dimming feature is unable to noticeably improve contrast.

5.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

Update 07/22/2019: The 75" and 86" versions of the SM9000 have the more advanced Full Array Dimming Pro found on the SM9500. We didn't find much difference between the Full Array Dimming on this TV, and the "Pro" version found on the SM9500.

The SM9000 has a full array local dimming feature, but unfortunately, it is mediocre. It has fewer zones than the SM9500, and there is a lot more blooming. When displaying small, bright objects, the TV over compensates, and dims them too much. Zone transitions are slightly more noticeable as well.

The 'High' setting crushes small objects even worse, so we recommend the 'Medium' setting.

6.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
344 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
150 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
260 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
300 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
320 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
332 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
149 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
259 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
299 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
319 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
331 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.051

Good peak brightness, but the LG SM9000 is significantly less bright than the SM9500 and slightly dimmer than the SK9000. Small windows are aggressively dimmed by the TV, as shown by the significant decrease in brightness with the 2% window. This is especially noticeable in dark scenes with small, bright highlights.

We measured the peak brightness after calibration, using the 'ISF Expert (Dark Room)' Picture Mode, with Backlight set to '100', LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium', and Color Temperature set to 'Warm2'.

If image accuracy isn't as important to you, the 'Vivid' picture mode is brighter. We were able to momentarily reach 1069 nits with the 10% window using the default settings of the 'Vivid' Picture Mode and LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium'.

6.4
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
437 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
458 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
915 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
579 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
448 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
427 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
164 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
310 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
372 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
409 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
425 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.059

Decent peak brightness, but the SM9000 isn't quite as bright as the SK9000, and peak brightness is much lower than the SM9500. When displaying small bright objects, the TV gets bright but quickly fades, as you can see by the difference between the 2% peak, and 2% sustained measurements.

We measured the peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Cinema HDR' Picture Mode, with Backlight set to '100', LED Local Dimming set to 'High', and Color Temperature set to 'Warm2'.

If image accuracy isn't as important to you, the 'Vivid' picture mode is brighter. We measured a peak brightness of 1042 nits with the 10% window using the 'Vivid' picture mode, and local dimming set to 'Medium'.

6.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
5.377 %
50% DSE
0.204 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.633 %
5% DSE
0.105 %

Decent gray uniformity, slightly better than the SM9500. The sides of the screen are noticeably darker, and there is significant vignetting. In the center of the screen, there is some dirty screen effect (DSE). In near-black scenes, the uniformity is much better, and there are no significant issues.

7.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
30 °
Color Shift
59 °
Brightness Loss
33 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
42 °

Like most IPS TVs, this display has a good viewing angle. The image remains accurate to a wide angle, then starts to lose accuracy, and the image gets washed out gradually.

5.1
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.517 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
2.881 %

Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, this TV has mediocre black uniformity. Due to the relatively large area of zones, the local dimming feature isn't able to dim close to the test cross, and there is noticeable blooming. With local dimming off, there is clouding throughout the entire image.

8.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
3.5 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
3.0 %

This TV has excellent reflection handling, but the semi-gloss coating isn't able to fully diffuse reflections across the screen. This shouldn't be an issue in most rooms, though.

6.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
4.54
Color dE
3.11
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6350 K
Picture Mode
Expert (Dark Room)
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

With our pre-calibration settings, this TV has decent accuracy. There are some noticeable inaccuracies in most colors and more noticeable errors in shades of gray, and the gamma doesn't quite follow the curve, with some scenes appearing too dark. The color temperature is a bit too warm, but this is relatively minor.

9.3
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.18
Color dE
1.31
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6842 K
White Balance Calibration
22 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Yes

After calibration, the LG SM9000 has excellent accuracy. The white balance is almost perfect, as is the gamma, which tracks 2.2 perfectly. Most color errors are corrected, but there are still some noticeable issues with blues. Unfortunately, after calibration the white balance is worse, and is now a bit too cold.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

480p content, like DVDs, looks great on the SM9000. There are no obvious upscaling artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content, like cable TV, looks great.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p Blu-rays and older game consoles look excellent, almost as good as native 4k content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

4k content is displayed properly, with no obvious issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input
Picture Quality
Pixels
8.0
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
88.73 %
DCI P3 uv
93.78 %
Rec 2020 xy
65.47 %
Rec 2020 uv
71.57 %

The LG SM9000 has a great wide color gamut, very similar to the SM9500. The EOTF follows the PQ curve extremely well, before it rolls off near the TV's peak brightness. In game mode, the EOTF is nearly identical, as shown here.

If you find HDR content too dim, check out our recommended settings here. With these settings, HDR content is noticeably brighter in some scenes, as shown here.

7.1
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
81.3 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
37.5 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
61.5 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
28.2 %

Decent color volume; again, very similar to the SM9500 and SM8600. Due to the limited contrast ratio, this TV can't display dark colors very well, and like most LCD TVs, it can't display blues as bright as other colors.

8.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.096 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.100 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.078 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.081 dE

Great gradient performance on this TV. With regular content, there is very little noticeable banding in areas of similar color, which is great. Like other LG TVs, there is a bit more noticeable banding with our test patterns; however, our measurements aren't taken from these test patterns, but from content designed to represent more realistic usage.

9.4
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.21 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.02 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There is some minor temporary image retention. This isn't uncommon with IPS TVs and does vary between units.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

While some IPS panels can have some temporary image retention, this doesn't seem to be permanent as the IPS panel in our long-term test appears to be immune.

Motion
7.8
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
5.0 ms
100% Response Time
13.6 ms

This TV has an excellent response time. There is some very minor overshoot in some transitions, but this shouldn't be very noticeable in most content. There is a bit more noticeable blur trail in our motion photo, and there are noticeable duplications, caused by the TV's 120Hz backlight flicker.

4.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
120 Hz

Unfortunately, this TV uses pulse-width modulation to dim the backlight, resulting in noticeable duplications in motion, as seen in the Response Time photo.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

This TV has an optional black frame insertion feature that can be used to help improve the appearance of motion. This causes a slight decrease in brightness. With 60Hz content, the backlight flickers at 60Hz automatically. When playing 120Hz content, the flicker frequency changes back to 120Hz automatically.

Find out more about the SM9000's black frame insertion feature here.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The LG SM9000 has an optional motion interpolation feature. This feature can be used to increase the frame rate as high as 120 fps, which reduces stutter but causes an effect known as the Soap Opera Effect, which some people don't like. This TV has a decent motion interpolation feature, and even busy scenes are very smooth. When there is too much action, though, the TV will sometimes stop interpolating, causing a sudden jolt in motion due to the sudden change in frame rate.

Find out more about the SM9000's motion interpolation feature here.

7.4
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
28.1 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
3.1 ms

Due to the relatively fast response time of the SM9000, there is some stutter when watching 24p content, like movies. The amount of stutter can be reduced by enabling the motion interpolation feature or the black frame insertion feature.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The LG SM9000 can remove judder from any source, which is great. To enable the TV's judder removal feature, simply enable Real Cinema from the Picture Mode Settings menu.

not tested
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR
Yes
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
Yes
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

Update 06/10/2020: We've received multiple reports that the 75" and 86" models don't support VRR at all.

Update 11/28/2019: Although not officially supported by NVIDIA, the LG SM9000 works with NVIDIA's new G-SYNC compatible mode when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. Unlike officially supported TVs, like the LG C9, this must be manually enabled from the NVIDIA Control Center.

This TV has a 120Hz native refresh rate. Like the SM9500 and the C9, the SM9000 supports the new HDMI Forum variable refresh rate standard.

Inputs
8.8
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
13.8 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
84.5 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
14.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
13.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
13.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
13.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
84.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
82.4 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
7.1 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
7.2 ms
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

Like the other 2019 LG TVs, the LG SM9000 has outstanding low input lag, as long as 'Game' mode is used.

Like the SM9500 and SM8600, this TV has an Auto Low Latency mode, known as 'Instant Game Response'. When connected to a supported device, the TV automatically switches to 'Game' mode, ensuring you get the lowest input lag automatically.

9.6
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

This TV supports almost all of the common formats. It can display chroma 4:4:4 content properly in most formats, except for 1080p @ 120Hz, as long as the input icon is changed to 'PC' from the Home Dashboard menu. The HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color setting must be enabled for some of these formats to work.

Like the C9 and SM9500, LG advertises that the SM9000 supports a 4k @ 120Hz signal. Unfortunately, this doesn't work at the moment. This might require a firmware update that hasn't been released yet, or it might only work from an HDMI 2.1 source. We will retest this as new firmware is released and once an HDMI 2.1 source is available.

Inputs
Input Photos
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 0
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 1 (incl. adapter)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0
Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
No
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
3D
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC Yes
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
No
Variable Analog Audio Out No
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

The LG SM9000 supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. It's advertised as supporting HDMI 2.1, but as there are no commercially available HDMI 2.1 devices, we aren't able to test this yet. Once a source is available, we will retest and update the review.

Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 2)
eARC support
Yes
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
Yes
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC