Ahead of CES, LG has unveiled a new ZX range of 8K OLED TVs comprising 77 and 88-inch models. The TVs feature an Alpha 9 Gen 3 video processor, HDMI 2.1, AV1 decoding, HGiG Mode, and Filmmaker Mode. These are "real" 8K TVs, says LG.
Update 6.1.2020: Additional details relating to Filmmaker Mode, HGiG Mode, Dolby Vision IQ, G-Sync, and FreeSync added.
"Real" 8K TVs
After launching its first 8K TV in 2019 - an incredibly expensive 88-inch model - LG is bringing two upgraded models to CES 2020. The new 77- and 88-inch 8K OLED TVs will be launched as part of the ZX (pronounced Z10) range later in 2020.
LG is introducing them as "real 8K TVs", which is a reference to arch rival Samsung's 8K TVs that cannot reproduce true 8K resolution. That is because even though Samsung's 8K TVs have the same 7680x4320 pixels, the company is using sub-pixel rendering to improve viewing angles at the expense of resolution.
The International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM) has defined 'contrast modulation' as a way to describe how distinguishable neighbouring pixels are from each another. To reproduce full 4K or 8K resolution, a TV must exceed 50% contrast modulation, according to the ICDM. This criterium has also been incorporated into the '8K Ultra HD' specification from CTA.
LG pointed out that its new 8K TVs exceed the specification set by CTA who is one of two organizations trying to define 8K. The other is 8K Association who is focused on promoting 8K TVs.
New features for 2020
LG said that its new 8K OLED TVs for 2020 will feature an upgraded Alpha 9 Gen 3 video processor that is "leveraging deep learning technology" to deliver "optimized picture and sound quality for all types of content through AI-based 8K upscaling".
- "The α9 Gen 3 processor’s AI Picture Pro is capable of recognizing faces and text on screen, fine-tuning and sharpening each to produce more natural skin tones, well-defined facial features and clearer, more readable characters. What’s more, Auto Genre Selection recognizes the type of content being watched and automatically applies the ideal picture settings, guaranteeing the best image quality among four genres: movie, sports, standard and animation," the company added.
LG further explained that its 'AI Sound Pro' system can "analyze and classify the audio of content among five categories – music, movies, sports, drama or news. For example, voices can be isolated and their volume increased”. The system can also up-mix to virtual 5.1 surround.
The TVs will be equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports that support 8K video inputs up to 60Hz as well as optional HDMI 2.1 features such as HDMI eARC, ALLM, and VRR, including support for FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync. The latter was first introduced by LG and Nvidia last year as an update to select 2019 OLED models.
For the first time, LG is also implementing support for the AV1 video format, in addition to HEVC and VP9. AV1 was developed as a royalty-free video format for HD, 4K, 8K, and HDR video by a group of industry heavyweights, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Netflix. The video format was released in April 2018 and at CES 2020 TV makers will begin to embrace it.
- "The new models offer the capability to play native 8K content thanks to support of the widest selection of 8K content sources from HDMI and USB digital inputs, including codecs such as HEVC, VP9 and AV1, the latter being backed by major streaming providers including YouTube. LG’s 8K TVs will support 8K content streaming at a rapid 60FPS and are certified to deliver 8K 60P over HDMI," said LG.
LG ZX will support various flavors of HDR, including HDR10 and Dolby Vision (IQ). The TVs will also be some of the first with Filmmaker Mode. A new gaming-related feature this year is HGiG Mode, which is the result of Sony and Microsoft's partnership (the HDR Gaming Interesting Group) to improve HDR console gaming. FlatpanelsHD is chasing more details about LG's Filmmaker Mode and HGiG Mode implementations at CES 2020.
In addition, the TVs will be equipped with the latest version of the webOS platform, Dolby Atmos, Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit as well as support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
These are LG's second generation 8K OLED TVs and the company is unveiling them not long after it launched its first 8K TVs. So far, 8K TVs have failed to generate much excitement with consumers, partly due to high prices but primarily due to the dearth of content. 2020 will probably not be much different.
The new 77-inch OLED77ZX and 88-inch OLED88ZX 8K OLED TVs will be part of LG's 2020 Signature range of ultra high-end TVs. More details will be revealed at CES 2020.
LG ZX 8K OLED - specifications
8K 'Signature' OLED
88 and 77-inch sizes
Alpha 9 Gen 3 video processor
HDMI 2.1, including eARC, VRR & ALLM
G-sync and FreeSync compatibility
HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision (IQ), Advanced HDR
HGiG (HDR Gaming Interesting Group) support
Smart TV and audio
AV1, HEVC, VP9 decoding
Hands-free voice control