We recently attended the launch of LG‘s new home audio visual range where they showcased their upcoming line-up of OLED and Super UHD TVs as well as a new range of speakers. The focus of the LG ‘s line-up is to bring a cinema-level viewing experience into the comfort of the living room. With improvements to their picture and sound technology, coupled with the integration of their AI technology, LG delivers on that promise.
LG’s best-in-class OLED panels were once again on display. This year the most significant upgrade comes in the form of the Alpha-9 intelligent processor. The Alpha-9 is faster and more powerful than last year’s offerings and shows dramatic improvements in noise reduction and colour processing. It supports Dolby Vision, Technicolour HLG, and HDR10 as well as high frame rate (HFR) of up to 120 frames per second for a more life-like video viewing experience with reduced motion judder and blur.
Unlike last year’s a7 processor found also on the Super UHD range, the new Alpha-9 will allow users to play content with both HDR and HFR turned on simultaneously. However, as the HDMI 2.1 protocol/input wasn’t ready in time for the launch, HFR will be limited to streaming only. Size-wise the LG OLED range comes in 55″, 65″, and 75″ varieties. Pricing starts at $4,099 AUD and can go as high as $19,990 for their flagship wallpaper series.
SUPER UHD TVs
Completing the 2018 TV line-up is LG’s new range of Super UHD TVs which combine LG’s Nano Cell Technology and Full Array Dimming to bring the LED/LCD picture quality closer to that of their OLED panels; with a more affordable price tag. Full Array Dimming spreads the backlight evenly throughout the screen resulting in improved contrast ratio, with the dark parts being darker, and the bright parts being brighter. This is paired with their Nano Cell Technology that uses nanometre-sized particles that absorb unwanted light wavelengths to enhance the clarity of the colours on the screen.
We found that for the most part, they achieve this and the picture quality is gorgeous; the colours do pop, and there is a significant contrast between dark and light colours. It’s only when viewed side-by-side with one of LG’s OLED panels that the difference becomes apparent, but this scenario is unlikely to happen in your lounge room. The Super UHD range also supports 4K cinematic HDR with Dolby Vision and select models will even come with Dolby Atmos to deliver atmospheric sound.
Over the past few years, artificial intelligence has been making its way into the technology we use daily. 2018 marks the first year of LG’s AI technology, ThinQ, being integrated into their TVs. ThinQ will allow users to control what they view and how they view it using only their voice. ThinQ won’t be limited to a series of set commands but instead can understand a wide variety of natural expressions such as ‘volume up’, ‘raise the volume up’, ‘sound is too quiet’ and many more. The AI will also become smarter over time as it listens to the way owners interact with their TV and learns new expressions. LG also promises that ThinQ will eventually become a smart hub, capable of controlling other ThinQ enabled smart home devices.
This AI functionality comes built into the already stellar, motion-activated Magic Remote. We found the Magic Remote to be the most intuitive way to navigate within apps such as Netflix and YouTube. The on-screen cursor coupled with the scroll wheel on the remote makes browsing through LG’s webOS or the Netflix catalogue instantly accessible an experience that is only enhanced by the inclusion of accurate voice control.
We’re definitely not paid to say this, but once you’ve experienced the LG Magic Remote, it’s hard to switch to any other. This is particularly true if you use the TV for lots of Netflix and Youtube consumption.
Sound Bars and Smart Speakers
At the event, LG also unveiled their new line-up of high-level audio products consisting of five sound bars and their first AI-compatible speaker. LG has partnered with Meridian Audio to deliver high-performance and high-fidelity audio, though only the flagship SK10Y sound bar and WK7 smart speaker will benefit from this partnership. The WK7 is LG’s first smart speaker and comes with Google Assistant built in which will allow users to access and control their services with their voice. This, combined with the High-Resolution Audio from Meridian, makes the WK7 a strong contender in the rapidly growing smart speaker market.
The SK10Y sound bar pushes an incredible 550W of output. The combination of Dolby Atmos and 5.1.2 channel support provide an immersive sound experience from all directions. Overall the sound across LG’s new audio range is quite good, it’s not yet at the level as the offerings from pure audio brands such as Sonos, but they are suitable for small, economical setups.
Overall we were quite impressed with the announcement of the new LG 2018 visual and audio range. The OLED TVs are a winner and the SUPER UHD’s will definitely give some other premium brands a run for their money. In the meantime, we’re putting in an order for an LG OLED E8, stay tuned for the full review.