South Korea tech giant LG has unveiled its 2019 4K OLED TV range and they’re quite the gaming powerhouses.
The new LG C9, E9 and W9 are the latest in LG 4K OLEDs with the new Z9 coming in with a mind-boggling 8K resolution. There’s also a budget friendly B9 planned for release later in the year.
The LG C9 will be available in 55″, 65″ and 77″ variants, the E9 in 55″ and 65″ variants and finally the W9 65″ and 77″ variants. Below are the basic specifications for LG new 2019 4K OLEDs:
- 4K OLED panel
- Second-generation Alpha 9 video processor
- HDMI 2.1 (4K120)
- HDMI VRR, eARC and ALLM
- AI Picture and AI Sound
- 4K Cinema HDR
- Dolby Atmos
- WiSA certified
- ThinQ AI and webOS 4.5
- Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
What’s new in the 2019 LG OLEDs?
The LG C9, E9, W9 and Z9 will come packed with LG’s second-generation Alpha 9 processor which is touted to be the smartest TV processor ever. The budget friendly B9 will get a second-generation Alpha 7 processor, which was equipped to last year’s LG flagship OLEDs.
The Alpha 9 processor, as explained by LG, has new and improved algorithms that help it adjust for color and motion. The new processor improved upon last year’s black frame insertion technology with ’OLED Motion Pro’ which runs at 100 or 120Hz, up from 50 or 60Hz as seen previously as well as improving the black frame cycle to just 25% from 50% of last year. These are huge improvements and LG claims will further reduce screen flicker and uniform brightness across the screen, the latter being one of the biggest criticisms of OLED panels in the past.
Visually LG uses the same design language as last year with minor tweaks like the C9 featuring a better blending front firing speaker stand. The OLED panel itself doesn’t see much changes either which leads us to believe most of the changes being under the hood. LG did mention that the new panels will have better anti-reflective filter to reduce screen glare in bright rooms.
The TVs will debut with webOS 4.5, which will include several new features with the most notable being “AI Preview”, which through your viewing habits will suggest content from apps. Initially AI is expected to work with Netflix and a few other pre-loaded apps but LG aims to add further support in future updates.
The new TVs pack tons of new improvements with the most surprising addition being HDMI 2.1. Many weren’t expecting LG to add the new HDMI standard in their 2019 TVs but instead saving them for the next refresh but the leading OLED TV manufacturer decided to surprise us all.
What’s HDMI 2.1 and what does it mean for gaming?
HDMI 2.1 allows higher bandwidth transfer which will essentially allow 4K@120FPS, also known as High Frame Rate (HFR), over HDMI for the first time ever. Previously users had to rely on other inputs such as Display Port to get such high refresh rates at high resolutions. Since Display Port is mainly a standard for Monitors, HDMI 2.1 allows higher fresh rate gaming at high resolutions on consumer HDTVs.
On the audio side of things, HDMI 2.1 also brings HDMI eARC technology which allows for lossless audio output and pass-through.
Buying one of these TVs essentially future proofs your display setup for next generation consoles which might take advantage of higher bandwidth to deliver games at higher resolutions and frame rates. The new HDMI standard would also allow you to connect your gaming PC to your TV to play at higher refresh rates if you own a recently released graphics card.
HDMI VRR and Gaming Focused Improvements
The new LG OLEDs will feature HDMI VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), a relatively new technology that was first seen in last year’s Samsung flagship panels and the Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles. HDMI VRR is HDMI standard’s answer to a an adaptive frame rate system that helps match game frame rates between the TV and console in real-time, with all the processing being done on the TV reducing tax on the console. The technology greatly helps reduce lag between player input and the changes being reflected on the screen. It also makes playing games with unlocked frame rates, or when your playing a game on PC that is dipping frames, a lot much more enjoyable. The TV will also automatically switch to Game Mode via HDMI ALLM (Automatic Low Latency Technology) if you start a game on a supported system like starting up Red Dead Redemption 2 on your Xbox One for example. Currently not many devices support HDMI VRR but the standard is expected to be the norm in the future. The PS4 or Switch don’t support the HDMI VRR right now, maybe with the PS5 or Switch refresh?
The TVs will also have just 13ms of input lag in both 1080p and 4K HDR modes, making them the fastest responding TVs on the market. While playing games having low input lag is very important, especially in fast paced games like Call of Duty, there’s a reason competitive gamers all use super fast 1ms monitors. Until the time comes that our TVs can go down to 1ms of input lag, these will do.
The LG 2019 4K OLED TVs consisting of the C9, E9 and W9 will be available in Spring. The 4K B9 and 8K monster Z9 are expected to release sometime later this year. The pricing for these TVs will be announced soon.
What do you think of LG’s new OLED lineup? I’m personally blown away by the additions this year and certainly planning on upgrading this year if the price isn’t crazy. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tell us if you’re planning on picking one of these up soon.