It’s that time of the year when TV manufacturers put out their new products. If you’re looking to buy LG in 2018, you’ll want to read this ultimate guide.
Following an invitation to LG’s European headquarters in Madrid to see the new range, what follows is a brief summary of this year’s biggest changes, plus in-depth explanations of specific model numbers and what they mean – and how much they cost.
LG TV 2018 – Three things you need to know
1) Improvements have been made to OLED models’ picture processing this year. Essentially we’re dealing with the same panels with the same characteristics, but the new chipset is more capable of getting the most out of them.
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2) The Super UHD TV (LED LCD) models are better than ever. There will be two models with full-array back light and local dimming. This means you can benefit from good contrast, even if your budget doesn’t stretch to the OLEDs.
3) ThinQ – LG is rolling out a new AI platform, which sits on top of the existing (and excellent) webOS interface. Basically, you can now use your voice to control your TV – to search Netflix, change channels, change modes, find TV programmes, set a timer, for example. This will be compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers.
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LG TV 2018 – 4K OLED
LG was responsible for kicking off the OLED revolution, so it stands to reason the company is pushing the format harder than any other manufacturer in the TV market. There are five lines of OLED models, ranging from the moderately affordable to the ridiculously fancy.
With the exception of the junior B8 model, all benefit from the new Alpha 9 (A9) processor, which offers a 35% improvement on CPU and GPU performance, plus double the RAM. This marks a significant upgrade over the 2017 models, with superior noise reduction, motion handling, depth enhancement and dynamic tone mapping.
Colour accuracy has been upgraded too. The 2018 models have 35,937 colour points on the Look-Up Table, as opposed to 4913 points in 2017. Translation: we’re looking at seven times the colour accuracy.
The A9 processor is also capable of handling HFR (high frame rate) video up to 120fps. There isn’t anything similar being broadcast at the moment, but LG is future-proofing here. Gamers will be able to play in 1080p resolution with HDR up to 120fps – but not in 4K.
As was the case with LG’s 2017 models, the 2018 models offer the same picture quality on the whole. The panel, processing and picture performance remain similar across the range. The differences come by way of the design elements and audio performance.
The exception to this is the junior B8 model, which doesn’t include the A9 processor. More on that below.
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LG W8 – 65 and 77 inches
- LG OLED65W8 (£7,999)
- LG OLED77W8 (£14,999)
Also known as the Wallpaper TV, the W8 is the flagship model and the ultimate status TV in LG’s arsenal. It’s a wafer-thin screen that is mounted on your wall with magnets. The sound system and connections sit separately in a soundbar, which attaches to the screen via a thin (and nearly invisible) ribbon.
Somewhat annoyingly, the W8 looks virtually identical in design to last year’s W7. The picture performance isn’t the same, however.
LG G8 – 65 inches
- LG OLED65G8 (£5,999)
The G series OLED was LG’s original ‘Signature’ model, and was made to really show off the company’s talents. As before, you get a gorgeous ‘picture on glass’ design, which is more flashy than the W series’ minimalist vibe.
Previous G series OLEDs featured a folding soundbase design – the soundbar could be flipped down – for those wanting to wall-mount the TV. This year, the G8 doesn’t have the transformation element. It’s a fixed panel of glass, curving down into a fixed soundbar. Lovely.
LG E8 – 55 and 65 inches
- LG OLED55E8 (£3,499)
- LG OLED65E8 (£4,999)
If you like the fancy glass design, but you have no need for a soundbar, this is the model for you. The LG E8 focuses on the picture and the design, and is ideal for anyone with an existing sound system.
It’s a smart move by LG – the previous generation E model came with a soundbar, which made it uncomfortably similar to the soundbar-toting G model above it.
LG C8 – 55, 65 and 77 inches
- LG OLED55C8 (£2,999)
- LG OLED65C8 (£4,499)
- LG OLED77C8 (£7,999)
This is the no-frills model. There’s no shiny glass design, nor a fancy soundbar. But that makes it more affordable and accessible. While the other models are great for showing off, this is the TV that gets the job done.
LG clearly expects to sell this model in greater quantities. Last year’s C7, with its reasonable price tag, was a huge seller – especially when the Black Friday sales knocked prices down to around £1500. If you’re looking for value, this is the model you should keep an eye on.
Interestingly, this is the first time that a ‘lower’ OLED has been available in a monster 77-inch option.
LG B8 – 55 and 65 inches
- LG OLED55B8 (£2,499)
- LG OLED65B8 (£3,999)
Last year, the B and C models were essentially the same TV with different stands. This year, they’re entirely different TVs, with the B8 serving as the ‘junior’ model. It doesn’t feature the A9 processor found throughout the rest of the range.
Instead it’s home to the A7 processor, which isn’t quite as powerful. It doesn’t benefit from the A9’s level of noise reduction or colour accuracy, nor its HFR handling. But it does feature the A9’s Black Frame Insertion – an effective way to improve motion handling without the overly glossy look brought on by Motion Interpolation modes.
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LG TV 2018 – 4K LED LCD models
LG is definitely focusing on its 4K OLED models, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten about the more affordable LED LCD TVs, which make up its mid-range models. LG calls them the ‘Super UHD TV’ range.
These TVs use LG’s nano-cell tech to achieve better colour performance than standard LED LCD TVs. They’re direct rivals to Samsung’s Quantum Dot TVs. What’s the difference? Well LG says nano-cell particles are more uniform than Quantum Dots, which theoretically means more accurate and consistent colours, especially when viewed off-centre.
Three models have been announced so far, all of which feature the A7 processor found in the B8 OLED.
LG SK95 – 55 and 65 inches
- LG 55SK950 (£1,999)
- LG 65SK950 (£2,699)
The SK95 sits at the top of the Super UHD TV range. The most exciting thing here is that it benefits from direct backlighting, as opposed to the edge lighting found on most LED LCDs.
It isn’t just any backlighting, either. This set features FALD, or full array local dimming, which consistently yields the most lighting precision on these TVs. You won’t get OLED levels of control, but this TV will be able to handle simultaneous light and dark areas better than most LED LCDs. LG says you get 2.5 times better black levels, and 16 times the lighting control.
LG wouldn’t be drawn on how many dimming zones there are, but the company did say this TV is capable of between 1000 and 1500 nits of brightness.
LG SK85 – 49, 55 and 65 inches
- LG 49SK850 (£1,299)
- LG 55SK850 (£1,699)
- LG 65SK850 (£2,499)
The SK85 is a step down from the SK95, with fewer dimming zones and lower peak brightness. However, it does still benefit from direct backlighting, which automatically puts it above the existing SJ850 it replaces.
LG SK80 – 55, 65 and 75 inches
- LG 55SK800 (£1,199)
- LG 65SK800 (£1,499)
- LG 75SK800 (£2,199)
This is the no-frills option. It’s still a nano-cell model but we lose the backlighting. This is an edge-lit model, so contrast is lacking compared to the FALD models. If you want quantity over quality, you’re in luck – this model is available at 75 inches.
That’s everything LG has announced so far, but I expect there will be more affordable LED LCD models, both in 4K and Full HD resolution. As soon as I hear more, I’ll update this page. If you’re not fixed on LG, take a look at other ultimate guides:
- Panasonic’s 2018 4K HDR and HD TV lineup explained
- Sony TVs 2018: What you need to know before you buy Bravia
- Samsung QLED TVs 2018: Every new Samsung 4K TV explained
- Philips TVs 2018: Every new OLED, LCD, 4K and HD model explained
What do you think of LG’s 2018 TVs? Is this the year to make the jump to OLED? Let us know by tweeting @TrustedReviews.