As you might expect, this year’s CES includes a new lineup of LG OLED TVs. Four new model lines are being announced: B8, C8, E8, and W8. There will also be a G8, but LG plans to continue selling the G7 in the US for a while.
An important part of this story is LG’s next-generation Alpha video processor. The CPU and GPU are 35% more powerful than last year’s processor, and the DDR memory is 50% faster. Other improvements include a quad-step noise-reduction algorithm and a better image-enhancement function with frequency-based sharpness, object-based contrast, and adaptive color (except in Cinema mode). Perhaps most important, the color lookup table (LUT) has expanded from 17x17x17 last year to 33x33x33 with 7.3 times more data points for more accurate colors.
Of course, high dynamic range is another crucial aspect of LG OLED TVs, which are the only flat panels on the market that support all four major HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Technicolor. Even better, they apply LG’s proprietary dynamic tone mapping, now called 4K Cinema HDR, to all HDR formats. This doesn’t do much for Dolby Vision, which already includes dynamic metadata, but it greatly improves the look of HDR10, which uses static metadata, and HLG, which uses no metadata at all. In addition, last year’s HDR Effect feature expands the dynamic range of SDR content.
New for 2018 is the ability to accept and display frame rates up to 120 fps. There is no consumer content available at that frame rate yet, but these LG OLED TVs are ready for it via USB. However, they do not implement HDMI 2.1, so they cannot accept 120 fps via HDMI.
Like last year, the 2018 LG OLED TVs all use the same OLED panel. In addition, all but the B8 use the most-powerful Alpha processor, dubbed Alpha 9. The B8 uses a slightly less-powerful Alpha 7 processor, which can’t render 4K HDR and HFR at the same time.
Dolby Atmos is another touted feature, which is said to provide some improvement in performance from the TV’s speakers thanks to object-based audio. However, don’t expect miracles from the TV’s speakers! The big advantage here is that the TVs can send a Dolby Atmos bitstream from the internal apps to an outboard sound system via HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel).
LG’s smart-TV functionality has also been improved. The latest version of webOS now offers voice control by integrating Google Home—no external device required. Voice commands are picked up by a microphone in the included Magic Remote.
The B8 sports LG’s Blade Slim form factor and will be available in 55″ and 65″ screen sizes, while the C8 uses the same design in 55″, 65″, and—new for 2018—77″ sizes. The E8 continues LG’s Picture-on-Glass design in 55″ and 65″ sizes, while the W8 retains the Picture-on-Wall form factor of last year’s W7 in 65″ and 77″ sizes.
Like last year’s W7, the W8 includes a separate soundbar with integrated subwoofer that also houses all the inputs and electronics and connects to the panel with a single slender cable. Apparently, LG didn’t get the memo that enthusiasts such as those on AVS Forum would prefer the option of a smaller box that houses the inputs and electronics without a soundbar.
No pricing or availability for the LG OLED TVs are being announced at CES.
Check out my interview with Tim Alessi, Senior Director of Product marketing, about the LG OLED TVs as well as its new Super UHD TVs and AI processing: