LG hasn’t confirmed a release date for the OLED77ZX, but I don’t think we’ll have to wait until the final quarter of the year like we did for LG’s debut 8K TVs in 2019. Naturally we’ll be pouncing on a review sample as soon as one is available
After dipping its toes into 8K waters in 2019 with the sensational OLED88Z9 and disappointing 75SM9970 models, LG is going much bigger on 8K for 2020. It announced no less than eight 8K TVs at this year’s CES – the highlight of which looks set to be the 77-inch OLED77ZX.
There are numerous reasons why the OLED77ZX looks so promising. Starting with the fact that while LG isn’t talking price on its 2020 models yet, this one will surely be way less expensive than 2019’s £30,000 OLED88Z9.
Related: What is 8K TV?
LG OLED77ZX build quality – A less premium design than the OLED88Z9
Experience suggests that manufacturing processes make screen sizes in the 75-77-inch bracket much more affordable to produce than those in the 82-90-inch bracket. LG’s 4K 77-inch C9 model ‘only’ costs £6,000, for instance.
The LG OLED77ZX also gets a less premium design than the OLED88Z9. It’s still very attractive with its slim black frame, metallic silver outer trim, flat back panel. But it doesn’t ship with a slot-in floorstand like the 88-inch model does, and is significantly chunkier around the back than, say, LG’s new Gallery GX 4K models.
As you’d expect, the LG OLED77ZX carries four HDMI 2.1 ports to support potential future 8K HDMI sources. And unlike LG’s 2019 8K debutantes, this new model doesn’t need an external box to unlock its support for 8K streaming. Everything is built in this time.
LG OLED77ZX features – Delivers a higher pixel per inch count than the OLED88Z9
From what I’ve been able to see so far at the CES 2020, the OLED77ZX could be on track to deliver even more stunning 8K picture quality than the gorgeous OLED88Z9.
For starters, the smaller screen actually delivers a higher pixel per inch count, meaning that its pictures look crisper and more detailed despite both screens only carrying the same number of pixels.
The OLED77CX also gets LG’s latest Alpha 9 Gen 3 image processing chip. And having managed to rack up a pretty good amount of time checking out what this chip can do, I’d say it has the potential to take LG’s 8K performance to another level.
Particularly promising is LG’s new dynamic tone mapping system. This delivers what appear to be brighter HDR highlights and higher average brightness levels across the frame, for a notably more impactful HDR experience.
Having seen the Gen 3 Alpha 9 system working under the harsh lights of the CES floor, it also seems that the brightness improvements delivered by the new tone mapping system help LG’s latest OLED screens retain more impact in bright rooms than they typically do.
LG OLED77ZX performance – Noticeably more vibrant HDR colours
Happily the improved apparent brightness doesn’t seem to have harmed the OLED77ZX’s contrast. On the contrary, black levels actually look like they might be slightly deeper and more stable/cleaner than those of last year’s LG OLED models.
Colours look noticeably more vibrant during bright HDR scenes, and retain a fuller, more natural look with peak bright stuff like blue skies and golden sunrises. Despite the extra colour punch, though, there’s also a noticeable increase in colour subtlety that sees less ‘banding’ over fine HDR colour blends. There’s more consistency in the way monotone colours appear across the full width of the screen, too.
The apparent extra brightness and colour refinement introduced by the Gen 3 Alpha 9 processor appear to play into the OLED77ZX’s sharpness and detail. Native 8K footage of African wildlife reveals levels of detail in fur, rocks and savannahs that feel essentially indistinguishable from the way your eyes perceive the real world. Which is great when you’re looking at a meerkat, a bit more unnerving when you’re staring down what feels like a life-sized lion.
The new Alpha 9 processor also claims to improve upscaling of non-8K sources (which is handy given that native 8K sources are currently in extremely short supply). I’ll need to check this aspect of its performance out with more familiar sources than I’ve been able to see at the CES, but my impression is that sub-8K sources do appear with a touch more three-dimensionality and density than they did on the OLED88Z9. Even though that screen itself delivered remarkably good upscaling – at least with 4K content – for a first-gen 8K effort.
I wasn’t able to check out the OLED77ZX’s sound system in any meaningful way, alas. But assuming it manages to deliver at least similar sorts of power and presence to what LG’s new CX 4K OLED TVs appear to be packing, then you probably won’t have to rush out to add an external sound system to your dazzling new 8K screen.
LG OLED77ZX – Early verdict
LG hasn’t confirmed a release date for the OLED77ZX, but I don’t think we’ll have to wait until the final quarter of the year like we did for LG’s debut 8K TVs in 2019. Naturally we’ll be pouncing on a review sample as soon as one is available.
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