LG Is Teasing Specs For Its 2019 4K OLED HDR TVs: What To Expect
Stephan Jukic – December 8, 2018
The pre-CES rumor mill always kicks into high gear in the weeks leading up to the giant January tech event and most of what it claims to reveal has to be taken with a grain of salt, but some very credible tidbits do shine through often enough as well.
In the case of specs and other details leaked in advance for LG’s lineup of 2019 4K UHD and 4K OLED TVs, there’s quite a bit of truth to them. We’ll know for sure only when LG executives take the stage at CES in January but for now, here’s what you can probably expect for the new OLED TVs from one of today’s best brands.
For starters, and completely unsurprisingly, the 2019 TVs are going to be getting a next-generation version of the Alpha 9 a9 processor that’s present in all except for one of the 2018 OLED TVs. This new processor model is going to be a piece of premium technology so we can probably expect to see it feature in the company’s new premium TVs while the older version of the a9 continues to be placed in the lowest tier LG TVs of 2019. Either way, what the new version of the a9 (LG won’t be calling it the a10 apparently) does promise is according to LG, “images that are more true-to-life than ever”.
What this bland PR marketing phrase really means is that these television models will focus on offering superior sharpness, better color calibration accuracy (and realism) and of course superior dynamic range for all content, not just HDR video sources. The specific concrete aspects of the a9 next-gen version that LG is claiming are a core four-step noise reduction process via algorithm for more noise reduction in video. There will also be improved color mapping and color correction algorithms and advancements in sharpness, contrast, and color rendering as well with the new processing technology in the a9.
In other words, LG is striving to stay ahead of Samsung’s QLED TV technology, which is giving LG’s otherwise fantastic OLED TVs a serious run for their money in terms of performance and picture quality.
Another thing that the a9 processor will offer is something called High Frame Rates (HFR) of up to 120fps for 4K video. This is something that already essentially exists in the current a9 processor but in the 2019 versions it’s going to be tweaked for better motion handling of ultra HD video during playback of movies, TV shows, console games and probably even for PC gaming connectivity. Additionally and more importantly, because LG will reportedly be adding in a HDMI 2.1 spec for their premium 2019 TVs at least, we can expect HFR120 to mean 4K video playback that actually reaches 120FPS without limitation to the 60FPS that has always been the case for 4K TVs up to now because HDMI 2.0 (present in all 2018 or older 4K TVs) can’t manage higher than that.
As for the new version of the a9 being in all the 2019 OLED TVs, we can’t be sure but we certainly hope so. In the 2018 lineup of OLED 4K models, LG gave all but one the 2018 a9 processor version, and only the “budget” B8 OLED was embedded with the 2017 B8 processor. This didn’t mean much of a difference in terms of performance and thus the B8 was one of the best OLED 4K TV deals of the year. We suspect that even the cheapest of the 2019 OLED television releases will indeed include the next-generation processing engine.
The above are the more concrete things we can expect for the 2019 OLED HDR TVs from LG but in broader, more speculative terms, we’re also almost sure to see these TV releases achieve higher peak brightness than ever before. This is something we won’t be able to confirm until we can test and review them in early 2019 but it has been the case consistently with each new batch of OLED TVs from LG for each year since they first emerged in 2014.
The most recent models, the 2018 B8, C8, E8, G8 and W8 OLEDs are all the brightest OLED televisions we’ve ever seen and they can hit levels of luminosity that beat most LCD TVs at this point. This a big deal specifically because one of OLED display technology’s biggest historical problems was that it couldn’t deliver the brightness that an LCD TV with LED backlights is capable of. Well, we can safely say that this is the case no more and hope that the trend continues to improve, because OLED is superior to LCD display in almost every other way.