LG will this month begin the global rollout of its first 8K OLED TV (88" Z9) and 8K LCD TV (75" SM99). The company refers to its TVs as "real 8K", a reference to arch rival Samsung's 8K TVs.
LG 8K OLED & LCD TVs
The global rollout will bring LG's 8K TVs to Australia, Germany, France, the UK, and the US this month, and additional markets soon. LG Z9 is based on OLED technology while SM99 is based on LCD with LED local dimming.
The company is positioning its new TVs as 'real 8K TVs' based on resolution measurements criteria set forth by the International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM). 'Real' is a reference to arch rival Samsung's 8K TV that use sub-pixel rendering, or dithering, to improve viewing angles at the cost of effective resolution.
- "The ICDM has defined the Contrast Modulation (CM) measurement which describes accurately and quantitatively how distinguishable the neighboring pixels are from each another. For any TV display to deliver the resolution indicated by its pixel count, the ICDM requires the minimum CM value to exceed a threshold of 25 percent for images and 50 percent for text. An 8K TV with a CM value that is lower than these required thresholds does not deliver real 8K, even though the TV may in fact have the sufficient number (7,680 x 4,320) of pixels," the company explained.
The Korean company is using the ICDM definition as a tool in its marketing but there is merit behind the claim. FlatpanelsHD has examined the effects of sub-pixel rendering / dithering, which is employed in Samsung's latest 8K and 4K "QLED" LCD TVs. See our review of Samsung Q90R and our further examination of Samsung's 8K TV here.
- "The new 8K TVs show that LG is deeply committed to providing consumers with real 8K as defined by established display industry standards," said Brian Kwon, president, LG Home Entertainment. "LG 8K OLED and NanoCell TVs aren’t just TVs with more pixels, they also deliver all of our latest display technologies."
The company further points out that its first 8K TVs will be equipped with four HDMI 2.1 ports, including several HDMI 2.1 features (ALLM, VRR and eARC). Other 8K TVs often lack HDMI 2.1 entirely.
8K TVs are not ready
Even with good arguments on its side, LG cannot escape the fact that 8K TVs are not ready. The company itself is admitting some shortcomings saying that its 8K OLED and LCD TVs have "support for Dolby Vision and Advanced HDR by Technicolor up to 4K and HLG and HDR 10 up to 8K". FlatpanelsHD can add that VRR (variable refresh rate) will not work in 8K.
The biggest hurdle, however, is the dearth of 8K content. An 8K Blu-ray specification looks unlikely at this point and major players such as Amazon and Netflix, who were quick to embrace 4K and HDR, have yet to commit to 8K. You can find user-generated 8K videos on YouTube but current 8K TVs cannot decode it.
Also read: Why you shouldn't buy an 8K TV in 2019
Outside of 8K features, LG is emphasizing that the TVs support Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit as well as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in some regions. The new TVs also feature Dolby Atmos, WiSA, and the latest version of webOS with access to streaming services such as Amazon, HBO, and Netflix.
LG's 88-inch Z9 OLED (OLED88Z9) and 75-inch SM99 LCD (75SM99) will launch this month in the US and Europe. Pricing details were not announced but we are chasing more information at IFA 2019 in Berlin this week.