LG C8 4K UHD HDR OLED TV Review (OLED55C8PUA, OLED65C8PUA, OLED77C8PUA)
Stephan Jukic – July 23, 2018
LG’s OLED 4K HDR TV releases just keep getting better and better with each yearly cycle of them and one of these latest TVs, the C8 is a wonderful example of this on the whole. OLED technology is already famous for the sheer picture quality it can deliver and LG’s deep investment in it has taken this to peak levels as far as the specs and performance of this model and its 2018 cousins are concerned.
That’s right, the C8 tops what we saw in the 2017 C7 edition and last year’s TV was already one of the best televisions we’d reviewed then. In other words, the following review is going to be mostly positive, though we’ll also explain exactly why we like this TV so much. The C8 does of course have some flaws too, which we’ll describe as well, but it’s an unsurprisingly fantastic performer overall.
- Excellent motion handling
- Fine HDR and SDR color delivery
- Perfect OLED contrast and dimming
- Particularly good 4K TV for gamers and PC use
- Typically good OLED viewing angles
- Fantastically bright for an OLED TV
- Some possible problems with burn-in
- Brightness shift
- Cheaper alternatives (The LG B8)
The LG C8 is a stunner and one of LG’s best 2018 4K TVs by virtue of its price to value ratio. There are pricier and cooler looking LG OLED TVs out for 2018 but they deliver nearly identical display specs. In other words, you’d only be paying extra for aesthetic qualities and slightly better native audio (which can easily be remedied with an external sound system in the C8). We highly recommend this model and consider it to be an even better deal than Sony’s A8F simply because it’s a bit cheaper even though the Sony competitor performs equally well.
What We Liked
There is a ton of stuff to like about the LG C8 OLED TV. We’ve already made clear just how well we think it performs so let’s get down to some very specific reasons. The measured specs metrics to back up many of the following observations can be found near the bottom of this review.
Fantastic OLED contrast and black levels
OLED has always delivered the same completely perfect block levels in LG’s TVs with the technology, so this particular feature of the C8 is the same in the C8 as it was in LG’s first-ever OLED 4K TVs back in 2014. The same goes for its contrast ratio. Since black levels are total with essentially no measurable light output at maximum black, the C8 delivers infinite contrast. No LCD TV can come close to beating this aspect of OLED technology simply because some light always bleeds from the LED arrays despite the filters and local dimming zones that LCD/LED TVs have to create their own black levels.
One notable thing about the C8 that does however make it stand out from what its LG predecessors could do on contrast is the sheer brightness this model is capable of. It creates a perception of higher contrast in the human eye even if the measured level hasn’t changed (you can’t get better than infinite contrast even if contrast “looks” deeper).
Incredible peak and sustained brightness
The brightness issue of the LG C8 bears mentioning in further detail, because it’s probably the single most important aspect of this TVs superior performance over what 2017 OLED models could pull off. Quite simply, the C8 and its 2018 cousins are the brightest OLED TVs we’ve ever seen (along with Sony’s A8F OLED for this year) and they can in fact deliver levels of both peak and sustained brightness that literally outshine what most LCD/LED 4K TVs are now capable of. That’s one seriously impressive development we’ve seen for 2018. Last year’s OLED editions could get remarkably bright but the 2018 models. Including the C8 visibly outperform them.
Superb color delivery
The LG C8 is of course and HDR TV with support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range visuals. What makes it stand out however is just how well it handles all of the key HDR specs necessary for rendering of content that has been mastered in both formats. On this front the C8 performs well above average, with extremely rich, vibrant color delivery, extremely high realism and superbly high HDR Wide Color Gamut coverage that is breathtakingly good. The addition of the above-described perfect contrast and rich black levels only adds to the overall effect and means that on this television, you not only get superbly rich colors but the robust contrast that makes those colors stand out even more than normal.
Excellent motion handling
The motion handling delivered by the C8 is superb. All OLED 4K TVs as a general rule offer excellent motion handling because OLED technology manages to change colors inside its individual pixels much faster than is possible with any LCD TV. That said though, all other metrics of motion performance including motion interpolation and judder-free playback of content with lower frame rates on this television’s native 120Hz display panel are very high caliber. The C8 is in other words a perfect TV for playback of anything you can throw at it, from live sportscasts to action-packed streamed movies.
We like the design of LG’s new OLED television almost across the board. For one thing, the company has largely dumped the pointless curved screen build we saw in some of its older OLED TVs and secondly, like all OLED TV’s the C8 is delicately thing and thus excellent for mounting on a wall. This TV’s supporting stand is very sturdy while offering a reasonably small footprint and both the stand and frame of the TV are made of aluminum. Cable management in the C8 is fairly basic but also built with a practical eye.
Smart TV platform
We’ve liked LG’s smart TV platform, WebOS, since we first met it in 2014 and it has only gotten better since then. In the 2018 LG models, the smart platform is at its best ever with a smooth and easy to use interface, access to plenty of apps (including all the important ones such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime etc. for 4K movies and shows). There’s also a new quick access button that’s added in the top right of the main interface for easy access to the search function.
WebOS 3.5 in the C8 also now comes with voice assistant software, which is the new fashion in the 4K TVs of 2018. We have to admit that it works quite well, with excellent responsiveness to basic search and navigation queries. The C8’s voice control feature is also compatible with other LG devices that come with ThinQ technology. LG has stated that compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home will be coming as well later in 2018.
What We Didn’t Like
The C8 is not perfect so it does come with a couple of very minor flaws that are however worth mentioning. None of these come anywhere close to being deal breakers in our view but they are notable.
Possible problems with burn-in
Burn-in is always a concern for OLED 4K TVs or OLED displays of any kind. LG has done a lot to reduce this possible problem since it started manufacturing its earliest OLED display panels for the TV market in 2014 but even now, OLED pixels remain delicate things and content that stays on the screen in a fixed spot for prolonged periods of time can indeed create a bit of a “stain” in the OLED panel itself. Since burn-in takes a while to develop in an OLED TV, it’s still a bit early to tell just how much of it the C8 will create but we’re guessing that there will be at least some for many users´ models.
Value vs. Price & Bottom Line
For its somewhat steep price, the LG C8 offers excellent quality and overall value. Yes it’s more expensive than its 2017 C7 cousin and in many regards it performs identically to its predecessor but it does also come with improvements that are strong enough to warrant a higher price (which is more than we can say of some new 4K TV releases). In other words, if you want a brand new OLED 4K HDR TV with unsurpassed peak brightness and color performance, this model is a great choice.
Key LG OLED C8 4K HDR TV Specs
- Screen sizes: 55 inch OLED55C8PUA, 65 inch OLED65C8PUA, 77 inch OLED77C8PUA (TV being reviewed is 55 inches)
- Smart TV: WebOS 3.5
- HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
- VP9 Included. Yes
- HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
- HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
- HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma, Dolby Vision
- Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
- Screen Lighting: OLED Display
- Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
- Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
- Remotes: LG smart remote with Voice Assistant
- Connectivity: 4 HDMI (all of them 2.0a and HDCP 2.2) ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out
- Sound: 10 W+10 W with Dolby™ Digital, Dolby™ Digital Plus, Dolby™ Pulse and DTS Surround Sound support
- Contrast Ratio: infinite (native, real contrast)
- Peak Brightness: 941 nits (cd/m2)
- 3D Technology: N/A
- Processor: Alpha 9
Display Performance Metrics
The following are the several categories of key display metrics for picture performance in the LG OLED C8 4K HDR TV. They may vary slightly from unit to unit so they should not be taken as absolutes. However, they should maintain a generally high level of similarity in all units, making them good enough to be reliable indicators of quality. Different sizes of TV display can change some of these metrics slightly (for example, larger edge-lit LCD 4K TVs tend to have weaker local dimming and peak brightness) but this applies much less often to OLED TVs since each pixel creates its own brightness. The LG C8 maintains pretty much identical display specs in all of its sizes though some TV models come with specs variations for certain specific sizes.
The following metrics of display performance for contrast, black level, color performance, brightness and motion handling (all of which are the most important aspects of display performance) essentially bear out what we said above about the C8 OLED model: This is one fantastic 4K TV in general and quite possibly the best OLED 4K HDR TV we’ve reviewed to-date The OLEDC8PUA not only performs exceptionally well across the board, it also offers the best levels of display brightness we’ve ever seen in an OLED 4K TV. It even slightly beats Sony’s A8F on this specs, which is an impressive achievement.
Black Level, Local Dimming and Contrast:
These are some of the most crucial display specs in any 4K TV and they are all also entwined together in any 4K TV. Thus they deserve being covered together. However, a clarification needs to be made here. Specifically, OLED TVs don’t come with local dimming the way it works in an LCD TV. Unlike LCD TVs, in which local dimming is created by LEDs behind the screen being turned off individually or in clusters, OLED display brightness is created inside each individual pixel on the screen. In 4K TVs, this means that 8.29 million pixels can be made to shine or completely stop emitting light as needed for a virtually perfect control of dimming and brightness. This is essentially called OLED dimming and it far outdoes any local dimming technology in any LCD TV in terms of sheer precision. The LG C8, as an OLED TV obviously comes with OLED dimming and yep, it performs on delivering these key specs admirably with its version of the technology.
Most importantly for OLED technology, because light in pixels can be completely shut off in this model, the TV’s maximum black level can be total when needed, with no light at all coming from darkened sections of the screen. A further result of this is perfect infinite contrast ratios. All OLED TVs are capable of the above to pretty much the same degree. However what the LG C8 does is create a perception of even better contrast because its capacity for brightness is so damn high, as we detail with some numbers in our next section.
Peak brightness is the maximum possible spot HDR or SDR luminosity of a complete 4K TV display or differently sized sections of its screen as measured in units of brightness called nits (or cd/m2, which is the same thing). Sustained brightness is the highest possible sustained HDR or SDR brightness that the TV screen can manage across its entire screen or parts of it for a prolonged period of time (a few minutes or more). In other words, Peak brightness consists of how bright sudden illuminations can become and sustained brightness measures prolonged luminosity in content on the display.
In both of these measures, the LG C8 absolutely excels and it manages to do so to a degree that leaves even most LCD/LED 4K TVs in the dust. It’s superb at delivering both high SDR brightness and high HDR brightness. OLED TVs used to be almost universally dimmer than their 4K LCD cousins but LG has been steadily pushing the boundaries of what organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs9 can output with remarkable success. The C8 is pretty much the brightest OLED TV we’ve ever seen so far and it even beats the Sony A8F slightly on this front (we considered Sony’s TV to be the brightest OLED ever until this C8 review was completed). This model can deliver spot levels of peak brightness that are HIGHER than those of most LCD 4K HDR TVs even, and that just makes everything else about this television’s picture performance look better. The numbers below demonstrate what we mean:
LG C8 OLED SDR Brightness
- Overall SDR peak brightness for normal content: 391 nits
- Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 430 nits
- Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 443 nits
- Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 161 nits
- Sustained 10% SDR brightness: 412 nits
- Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 156 nits
LG C8 OLED HDR Brightness
- Overall HDR peak brightness for normal content: 683 nits
- Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 941 nits
- Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 904 nits
- Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 162 nits
- Sustained 10% HDR brightness: 873 nits
- Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 162 nits
LG’s C8 OLED TV delivers superb HDR and SDR color performance though in terms of these specs, Sony’s otherwise slightly dimmer OLED TV outperforms it on performance. This is to be expected since Sony has traditionally been a king of color delivery with LG lagging behind slightly across the board. In any case, these differences are small ones and by any visible measure, the LG C8 is one stellar 4K OLED TV for sheer color quality, vibrancy and richness. In terms of key metrics for high dynamic range color delivery, this television really does great, with 98.30% DCI-P3 color space delivery and over 73.94% of the even larger and much more difficult to cover Rec 2020 space being covered. That’s downright impressive. In terms of 10-bit color support for smooth gradations between 1.07 billion HDR color tones, the C8 does a fantastic job, creating smooth and exquisitely gradated color variations in content that has been formatted for 10-bit color delivery. Additionally, even at the maximum levels of this TV’s considerably powerful luminosity output, the C8 manages to conserve color quality and vibrancy. Many 4K TVs can’t pull this off at high levels of peak brightness. Color reproduction also stays very good during reproduction of low light scenes with lots of shadows. These crucial color specs make a huge difference for HDR and SDR video sources of any kind.
In other words, if you use the C8 to watch Dolby Vision movies and shows what you get on the screen looks downright spectacular. However, even for reproduction of normal SDR TV and movie content, LG’s most affordable 2018 4K HDR TV is a superb performer, delivering excellent vibrancy, accuracy and realism for most reasonably well-produced content from cable TV, streaming sources, media players and external devices of any kind. The C8 also upscales non-4K video sources very nicely for a smooth, extra-sharp level of picture quality that’s particularly great when this TV is used to view 1080p or 720p movies and shows from TV, cable, streaming or media device sources.
White balance delta E, color delta E and Gamma in the LG OLEDC8 sit at excellent levels of 0.12, 1.51 and 2.09 respectively. We’ve seen better in cheaper 4K TVs but these aren’t bad values at all. Color temperature in this OLED TV is also highly impressive, being nearly perfect. Older OLED TVs tended towards cooler, rather distracting temperatures due to the bluish light of their organic light emitting diodes. The A8F avoids this little defect remarkably well.
Motion Handling & Upscaling:
OLED 4K TVs almost universally offer fantastic levels of motion handling. This isn’t just because they’re expensive premium TVs, it’s a result of how their display technology works. Since each pixel contains its own light source and color filters, the shifts between colors in pixels that create the perception of fluid changes in content happen much more quickly than they do in even the best LCD TV (which has to rely on light from LEDs behind the pixel surface). As a result, motion blur on the LG C8 is downright minimal, with a specific response time of between 0.3 and 2 milliseconds. No LCD TV can compare to this and even the best LCD/LED models typically do no better than 9 milliseconds.
The LG C8 also delivers some truly excellent motion interpolation of content at all major typical frame rates (24p movies, 30fps TV content, high frame rate streamed video and games on its native 120Hz display panel. 24p Blu-ray discs, DVDs, cable TV and broadcast TV sources as well as streaming media from both native apps and apps inside external streaming media devices can all be played judder-free if they happen to be 24p formatted. Backlight flicker is also not something you’ll find with LG C8’s display, since as an OLED TV, it has no flickering LED backlights to begin with.
Input Performance for Gaming and PC:
LG’s 2018 OLED TVs, like the 2016 and the 2016 models before them all offer excellent input lag performance for console gaming and PC use at different resolution, color and HDR settings as well as at different refresh rates. Sony’s OLED TVs underperform slightly in these metrics but the C8 delivers them superbly almost across the board. This combined with its HDR support specs makes this particular LG OLED 4K HDR TV into one fantastic console gaming TV for 4K, HDR and normal 1080p Xbox or PS4 Pro gamers. The following are the specific specs for its gaming performance in different console setups:
- 4k @ 60Hz: 21 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz: 20.7 ms
- 1080p @ 120Hz: 22 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 21 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR: 29 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode : 50 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 22
- 4K @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR: N/A
- 4K with interpolation activated: 100 ms (leave the interpolation off)
We should also note that LG has given the C8 some very good compatibility with PC hardware for use as a huge PC monitor. This TV offers up full 4:4:4 chroma subsampling support and 1080p @ 120 Hz support when coupled with PC rigs. Other fully supported resolutions and color settings for PC connectivity include [email protected], [email protected], 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4.
Like all newer 4K HDR TVs of any kind or price, or from any brand, the LG OLED C8 offers up a full package of today’s now standard and essential advanced connectivity specs. For connecting it to pretty much any external media device in the most useful possible ways, no user should have connectivity problems with this model as long as all hardware is in working order. In other words, it comes equipped with multiple HDMI, USB ports and other crucial connectivity slots. The television comes with full HDMI 2.0 HDR supported bandwidth in all four HDMI ports. Another thing we like about the C8 is that it offers full Dolby Vision support and pass-through. Few 4K TVs offer this, even in 2018 so far. The following are its ports and their specifications:
- HDMI : 4 (all with HDCP 2.2 and full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
- USB : 3 (USB 3.0)
- Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
- Analog Audio Out 3.5 mm : 1
- Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
- Ethernet : 1
- HDR10 support: Yes
- Hybrid Log Gamma HDR support: Yes
- Dolby Vision HDR: Yes
The LG OLEDC8PUA TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types.
- 1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough ARC DTS
- 1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough Optical DTS
LG offers up the C8 in three different sizes, 55 inches, 65 inches and a giant 77 inch edition. They are all for the following prices found in the links below at the time of this writing. Bear in mind that these are subject to sometimes frequent downward change and it’s a good idea to click the following Amazon links for real-time pricing and all available discounts on this model.