LG TV 2019 – A complete guide to every new LG OLED and NanoCell TV
LG TV 2019: The South Korean manufacturer is looking to build on the success of its 2018 OLEDs, cementing its advantage in that part of the TV market. But this isn’t its only focus in 2019; LG is also casting a spotlight on NanoCell TVs. If you’re looking to buy LG in 2019, you’ll want to read this guide.
Having sold more than 4 million OLED TVs, 2019 sees LG tread down the path of evolution rather than revolution. Elsewhere, the company’s emphasis is on its NanoCell (formerly Super UHD) 4K TVs, as it looks to give its non-OLED TV range a concerted push.
Across all TVs LG is selling this year expect a greater proportion to feature wide colour gamut (WCG), an increase in the sizes available and a greater number of panels with HDR capability.
What follows are the highlights of what LG is bringing to the table this year, a summary of the various ranges, and how much they cost.
LG TV 2019 highlights
The α9 Gen 2 processor is new for 2019, arriving on LG’s flagship TVs. It’s capable of recognising the content you’re watching, its quality, thereafter looking for ways of improving picture performance.
AI Brightness leaps into action whenever HDR content is played. It uses the light sensor built into the TV to detect the room’s ambient light and adjusts the areas of the picture that require higher brightness.
Dynamic Tone Mapping for HDR content is another feature LG has been pushing. Since OLED TVs aren’t able to get as bright as LED TVs, Dynamic Tone Mapping approximates the brightness and contrast for images brighter than the TV’s capabilities. LG’s solution aims for a more accurate picture in terms of contrast, judging the overall brightness and adjusting it without losing contrast or the vivid colours.
The implementation of HDMI 2.1 is a sign of TV manufacturers future-proofing their sets. While some features of HDMI 2.1 aren’t necessary in the short term (8K), there are some gains to be had in the here and now.
Related: What is HDMI 2.1?
High Frame Rate (HFR) content at 4K/120fps produces a smoother presentation, especially for material that relies on fast-moving action such as football or motorsports. Additional eARC compatibility enables pass-through of lossless audio formats (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA) and Dolby Atmos without compressing the signal.
For gamers there’s Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which sets the latency for smoother, lag-free viewing. Currently, the only ALLM-compatible games console is the Xbox One X.
LG rolled out its ThinQ-AI last year, and it’s back this year with a number of refinements. Sitting on top of its excellent webOS interface, ThinQ allowed users to use their voice to control your TV whether that’s changing channels, modes, switching inputs or searching for TV programmes.
Related: Smart TVs explained
LG has sought to contextualise the responses that ThinQ AI generates. Ask it for tomorrow’s weather and it will bring up the relevant results. Say “What about next week?”, and the AI will understand the context of the question and bring up the forecast for the following week.
Rather than restrict customers to a single voice assistant, LG has included support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Google Assistant has been built into the webOS platform, with Alexa integration arriving via an update in the next few weeks.
WebOS is – according to LG – faster, more responsive with easier access to content. All the main video apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Rakuten TV are available, with LG’s Intelligent Edit feature allowing users to re-order the webOS tiles in more convenient ways. When hovering over the app tiles, you can also see previews of in-app content.
The Home Dashboard is a hub where you can control your connected devices, including any Bluetooth playback or devices that come under Home IoT (Internet of Things). A large swathe of LG’s TVs this year feature support for Bluetooth 5.
Related: What is Bluetooth 5?
LG TV 2019 – 8K/4K OLED
LG is the biggest manufacturer of OLED panels for TVs, so it stands to reason that it would push such TVs more than any other manufacturer. However, this year the company has also made great strides with 8K TVs.
Z9 8K OLED
This the first 8K OLED TV produced by any manufacturer. Such is its size, it sits on what is effectively its own AV rack. Wondering why anyone would buy an 8K TV when there’s little 8K content out there? For now, the focus on 8K content is in upscaling sub-8K content to near 8K quality.
Don’t expect to see it in the UK TV market just yet. It’s still only available as a pre-order in the US and Asian markets.
Signature OLED TV R
After stealing the show at CES 2019, we haven’t heard much else about this rollable marvel. It isn’t available to buy yet (and who knows when it will be), but much like the 8K OLED, we’re quite certain this will cost a king’s ransom.
OLED TV W9
The W9 is aimed at those with plenty of cash lying around – and a wall big enough to handle this TV. The W9 uses LG’s Wallpaper OLED technology, which utilises magnets to stick the credit-card-thin panel to the wall.
The connections and sound system are housed in a separate unit, with video fed to the screen via a “ribbon” that connects the two. As has been the case in previous years, the design of the W9 doesn’t appear to have changed much since the last iteration. However, it does boast all the new features mentioned above.
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The E9 is a marriage of picture, sound and design. LG ditched the built-in soundbar for last year’s E8 and stays true to that decision here. However, while that model suffered from weak sound, the E9 boasts AI sound, which adds heft and size for a very good audio performance.
Picture performance and smart features are the same as seen on the W9; it’s the design that differentiates the E9 from the C9. The former employs a glass-on-panel design that gives the set an elegant and minimalist feel.
We reviewed the E9 not long ago and found it be a fabulous set, offering one of the more comprehensive TV packages we’ve seen in 2019, with “picture quality outstanding across 4K, HD and SD” and an audio performance that’s “surprisingly hefty for such a slim TV”.
The mid-range effort in LG’s OLED range, the C9 strikes a good balance between picture performance, audio and design.
Picture performance is the same as the OLEDs above, making use of the second-gen Alpha 9 processor. And like the E9 that sits above it, there’s support for HDMI 2.1, Bluetooth 5, eARC, ThinQ AI and the latest webOS smart interface.
There are versions with the PLA suffix and MLB suffixes. This usually denotes a difference in the design of the stand, but from what we can see there isn’t a huge difference between the two. Note that the MLB version is sold through Currys PC World.
Reviewed a fair while ago, we felt that this set was one of the “smartest OLED TVs that money can buy”, with superb SDR and HDR picture performance.
The entry-level OLED TV, if you can call a set that sells for nearly £2000 “entry level”.
What’s different from the OLEDs above? Well, for one the stand – it’s more a plinth. It doesn’t house a 2nd-gen α9 processor, opting for the 2nd-gen α7 processor with AI. This is in a bid to bring OLED to a more appealing and affordable price bracket, but it does mean that the picture quality isn’t as good as the other OLEDs in the range.
The B9 has features similar to the C9 and E9, including Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos, Google Assistant and Alexa support, AI Sound, support for WiSA, HDMI 2.1, and so on.
Related: What is Dolby Vision HDR?
LG TV 2019 − NanoCell 4K TVs
LG has placed more of an emphasis on its NanoCell 4K TVs − formerly Super HD. Full-array local dimming, Dolby Vision HDR and HDMI 2.1 features are available across many sets in this range.
The top effort in LG’s NanoCell 4K range mirrors its OLED brethren with 65in and 55in variants.
NanoCell technology is primarily for the reproduction of accurate colours, with LG bridging the gap between its LCD LEDs and OLEDs by including the second-gen Alpha 7 processor.
Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos support is extended to this model and the SM98 has full-array local dimming for better black performance. The NanoCell range also claims to have wider viewing angles than conventional TVs, aiming to bolster the set’s contrast. If you like tweaking the picture then you’ll be pleased to learn that the set has CAIMAN calibration built in.
Related: What is Dolby Atmos?
The SM90 is available in sizes from 49 to 86in, so if you’re partial to a big-screen experience then this is what you’ll get.
In terms of features it covers similar ground to the SM98, and the design − with the curved stand − is also similar. VRR and ALLM have been brought in to deliver fast gaming performance (15.1ms), and the set offers virtual 5.1 sound for a bigger, more immersive TV viewing experience.
The only significant difference between this TV and the SM98 is that the SM90 is exclusive to Currys PC World.
Dropping down the NanoCell range we arrive at the SM86. Despite being called the SM86, there’s no 86in model, with the biggest size a paltry 75in.
This model doesn’t appear to offer support for variable refresh rates (VRR), but it does include ALLM, with input lag a slippery 14.5ms. We lose HDMI 2.1 and eARC and there’s no mention of full-array local dimming, likely making this an edge-lit model.
The SM85 is available in 49 to 65in versions and boasts similar features to other NanoCell TVs.
Like the SM86, it appears to be another edge-lit panel. Unlike that model, the SM85 comes with HDMI 2.1 support. The other significant difference? The SM85 has feet for support which sit towards the end of the TV, while higher-specc’d NanoCell TVs have a curved stand.
This entry-level edge-lit set drops the α7 processor for a quad-core processor that boosts colour and contrast.
The stand is different, too, being a slightly curved effort.
Other differences include DTS Virtual:X audio for a more spacious effort than a conventional set, and while LG’s website lists it as Dolby Vision TV, we only have confirmation of vanilla HDR10 and HLG formats, with 4K Active HDR likely a feature where the set adds dynamic HDR data to SDR content.
Gaming-wise, we don’t expect this to be as fast as other NanoCell TVs in the 2019 range.
Related: What is HDR?
LG TV 2019 − Ultra HD 4K TVs
Stepping down to LG’s UHD range of 4K TVs, you can expect for the most part the inclusion of Wide Viewing Angle technology, quad-core processing, True Colour Accuracy for richer, more natural colours, and DTS Virtual:X audio. ThinQ AI can be found across all models.
With the UM7660 we enter the standard 4K UHD TV of LG’s offering.
It isn’t as advanced as the NanoCell TVs, but a couple of features have been retained – the Wide Viewing Angle tech, for example. DTS Virtual:X is the audio of choice, with the quad-core processor onboard and 4K Active HDR included. With no mention of this set’s gaming performance, we’re not expecting it to be as good as the TVs above, especially with the set lacking ALLM.
The features you get will depend on the size of the TV you opt for.
The mammoth 86in effort sees the 2nd-gen a7 processor return, possibly as a result of the power required to generate a picture on a screen of that size. Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos are included with this size, resulting in a model with a hefty price tag – more so than of the 4K OLEDs.
Drop down to the 75in set and below, and the a7 processor is swapped out for a quad-core processor, Atmos for DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Vision for vanilla versions of HDR. And while it looks similar to the UM7600, the biggest aesthetic change is that it opts for a white, rather than black, bezel.
Quad-core processor, Wide Angle Viewing and DTS Virtual:X are your headline features. Design-wise, it’s another thin-bezelled effort, with the feet sitting towards the edge instead of a pedestal. A larger TV rack is required to make this TV fit.
Once again, we have quad-core processor, True Colour Accuracy for richer images and DTS Virtual:X sound. We do lose Wide Angle Viewing for this model, however.
LG’s odd approach to which model gets what features becomes more apparent here. The UM7400 is available in similar sizes to the UM7450, although there’s no 70in version. And while the UM7450 loses the Wide Angle Viewing feature, the UM7400 retains it.
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This is one for smaller rooms, with the UM7390 available in 49in and 43in versions.
The bezel appears to be more noticeable here than it is on other UHD models, and it also comes in white rather than black. Wide Viewing Angle and ALLM support are included, but you don’t get DTS Virtual:X. That’s replaced by Ultra Surround sound tech.
LG’s entry-level set in its 4K UHD set divvies up its features among the different sizes. The 75in model gets all the best treats with a quad-core processor, Wide Viewing Angle, True Colour Accuracy and Ultra Surround tech. For the sets that are 70-inch and smaller, remove the Wide Viewing Angle technology from the equation
LG TV 2019 − Full HD LED TVs
Unlike some TV manufacturers, LG hasn’t abandoned the HD TV market altogether. A few TVs remain on the table for 2019.
The LM6300 has the Dynamic Colour Enhancer, which adjusts the colours for what LG calls a richer, more natural picture. It also plugs in LG’s own scene-by-scene HDR implementation in Active HDR, alongside HDR10 and HLG broadcast HDR.
The quad-core processor eliminates picture noise for more dynamic contrast. It also works to upscale images to Full HD.
Dolby Audio is supported for “clearer, more immersive theatre-quality sound”, and LG’s webOS allows for access to the TV’s smart features and apps such as Netflix.
The LM630B is similar in terms of features to the LM6300, but has a 1366 x 768 resolution rather than Full HD.