LG outs 2018 OLED and Super UHD 4K TVs with built-in AI and new processors
Like clockwork, LG has taken the opportunity at CES 2018 to unveil its OLED and Super UHD LCD TV lineups for the year. In addition to the improvements made to design, picture quality, and HDR support, one major tentpole feature this year is the artificial intelligence (AI) built into these TVs.
Briefly, LG’s 2018 TV lineup consists of:
- Signature W8: Available in 77 and 65 inches
- E8: Available in 65 and 55 inches
- C8: Available in 65 and 55 inches
- B8: Available in 65 and 55 inches
Super UHD LCD TVs
- SK9500: Available in 65 and 55 inches
- SK9000: Available in 65 and 55 inches
- SK8000: Available in 75, 65, and 55 inches
For a start, all 2018 LG smart TVs - be it OLED or LCD - still run WebOS version 3.5, but have built-in ThinQ AI to enable voice requests. There’s also Google Assistant integration, so not only can you control the TV with your voice and search for content (over-the-air or on LG’s streaming partners), you can also control other connected IoT devices in the home.
Here's a good walkthrough (from our team in Singapore) on what you can achieve with the built-in Google Assistant:
Also common across all TVs is the inclusion of the Control4 Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), which allows the TVs to be automatically recognized on the network, and thus quickens the setup process for owners using the Control4 home automation system.
US software developer Portrait Displays (maker of the CalMAN calibration software) has also worked with LG to enable an auto calibration capability for the new TVs. This is possible because the new TVs allow CalMAN to directly access their internal look-up tables (1D and 3D LUTs). For pros and enthusiasts, this means you can dial in the TVs’ color accuracy to a level not possible before.
2018 AI OLED TVs
Leading LG’s OLED TV lineup is the Signature W8 series, successor to last year’s W7. Like the W7, the W8 sports a “Wallpaper TV” design with a separate soundbar, so there’s no way for tabletop mount. In addition to ThinQ AI, it has a new α9 processor that’s responsible for the new image quality enhancements such as the 4-step noise reduction, dynamic tone-mapping, and 120fps high frame rate support. HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), and Technicolor’s Advanced HDR formats, as well as Dolby Atmos object-based surround audio continue to be found on this 2-piece system.
Moving down the chain we’ve the E8 and C8. Both share largely the same features as the W8 (ThinQ AI, α9 processor, 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos), with the main differences in the design department. In a nutshell: the E8 has a more premium looking Glass-on-TV design, while the C8 is, well, your usual thin OLED TV with tiny bezels. Like the W8, the E8 and C8 also do extra processing to enhance HLG and HDR10 quality; LG calls them HLG Pro and HDR10 Pro.
LG’s most entry-level OLED TV offering continues to be the B series, which this year is called the B8. One key difference between this and other new OLED TVs is that the B8 uses the α7 processor instead of the α9.
2018 AI Super UHD LCD TVs
All of LG’s Super UHD LCD TVs this year come with ThinQ AI, and are powered by the α7 processor, the same one used by the aforementioned B8 OLED TV.
They also use an upgraded Nano Cell panel, with the SK9500 and SK9000 being full-array local dimming models (the former offers more precise backlight control).
Like the OLED TVs, the Super UHD TVs offer strong HDR format support - HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. To enhance quality, the TVs also have a Enhanced Dynamic Tone-mapping feature that processes HDR images frame by frame. Dolby Atmos support is also onboard the 2018 Super UHD TVs.