2023 was a mixed year for OLED TVs, but 2024 is already looking brighter

Sony A80L TV (left) LG C4 (right) with a man spraying champagne on screen
(Image credit: Future)

Back in August of last year, I expressed my indifference towards many of the OLED TVs released in 2023. As a whole, the year was mostly good but there were a few serious setbacks. 

While we were treated to some excellent OLED TVs such as the Sony A80L, Panasonic MZ2000 and LG G3, we had to jump a few hurdles in the process. First and foremost were two of the biggest brands underdelivering on what should have been a sure-fire pair of five-star sets. Samsung's impressive S95B set the bar high for QD-OLED screen technology when it launched in 2022, and the LG C2 swept the Awards of that year, and yet neither brand could keep up with the pace in 2023.

Starting with the S95C, the TV was a technical marvel, but its picture left something to be desired when it came to subtly. We found it to lack balance in the picture department, and its sound was notably lacklustre too, resulting in a four-star review – an understandably disappointing result considering its five-star predecessor was a hit in our AV test room.

Moving onto the LG C3, the 65-inch version to be exact, we also awarded it four stars as well. While it's still a very solid choice for most people, and the smaller versions are still mighty impressive TVs, we found the larger size to be easily bettered by the Sony A80L. A price increase also bumped the C3 into the same price bracket as the A80L, which made the comparison even tougher. While the LG was the better choice for gamers, the A80L stole the show, and as we review on a 'pound-per-performance' basis, we had to go with the Sony.

I'd like to stress now that four stars is still an admirable score to receive, but when it comes to products such as these, we were surprised to find that they didn't receive top marks.

A return to form for the Korean tech giants

Samsung QE65S95D QD-OLED TV

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Thankfully, both Samsung and LG appear to have worked past this, as the new versions of both TVs are five-star stunners. 

The S95D wowed us with its impressive anti-glare coating, sensational brightness, colour and contrast, and its overall more considered image. The "OLED glare-free" coating might not be perfect as there are some very minor side effects that impact picture quality, but the way it efficiently combats glare from ambient light or the reflection of brightly-coloured shirts is truly impressive. 

We were blown away by its "blisteringly bright peak white highlights", rich and bold colours and deep blacks, with a specific focus on its stellar handling of contrast. We called it the "best OLED TV yet for bright rooms" thanks to its glorious brightness, however, it's equally impressive when it comes to dark scenes. We noticed very little noise, and using the Movie preset corrected practically any that we did notice.  

LG seems to have taken our feedback to heart too, as the C4 is equally impressive in its own way and it's thankfully cheaper this year. While it doesn't include an MLA OLED panel like we'd (foolishly) hoped, its image is punchy, sharp, vibrant and yet remarkably natural which makes it a winner in our books.

It's still the best choice for gamers thanks to its consistently epic gaming spec, and this year it has picture upgrades to match. This year's model is brighter and sharper than the C3 it's replacing, and its rich yet balanced colours make it a joy to watch. It also happens to sound better than the C3, with improved scale and dynamics making it an impressive system by built-in speaker standards. 

2023 delays set back top notch OLED TVs


(Image credit: Future / Netflix, Our Planet II)

So that's one issue tackled, but that wasn't the only downside to 2023 when it comes to OLED TV launches. Two notable brands, in particular, seemed to suffer from pesky setbacks which meant we didn't see their respective TVs until very late into the year. Those were, of course, Philips and Sony, although the former was clearly more affected.

Luckily, both companies were recipients of overwhelming praise with the Philips OLED908 and OLED808 both scoring top marks in our reviews, as did the Sony A95L. However, none of these sets were released in time to compete in our November Awards. Furthermore, in the case of Philips, we've already seen their follow-up models, despite only reviewing its 2023 models in December 2023 and February 2024. 

Philips faced its own struggles, with behind-the-scenes issues with software and supply chains being the cause of these much-publicised delays. The Sony A95L, on the other hand, also didn't make an appearance in our test room until the back end of 2023, despite its predecessor hitting our test room in May 2022. 

While I agree that good things come to those who wait, it's hard to dispute the fact that if Philips and Sony released their TVs earlier in the year, then they would have been met with an even greater reception. Make no mistake, the A95L is up there with the very best, and Philips delivered a stellar pair of TVs too, but the competition had the best part of a year to drop in price – which it did. 

Less delays in 2024? It's looking that way 

Philips OLED909 TV mounted on a white wall with an image of a Mediterranean seaside town on the screen

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Understandably, these are sometimes out of the manufacturer's control, so what can those companies do in 2024 to avoid the same mistake? Well, it appears they're making strides in the right direction already. Already, back in November, Sony showed us its upcoming Mini LED backlighting tech that's tipped to debut on its upcoming 2024 models, so new models could be making an appearance soon. 

Philips has also wasted no time showing off its 2024 sets at an event in January, and it's set much earlier release dates for its upcoming TVs too. The OLED809 is set to launch in May and the OLED909 is in the calendar for June, which is a promising sign.

I hope my optimism isn't misplaced, but with a solid start to the year and an exciting slew of TVs marked for release in the coming months, I certainly feel like 2024 could be a return to form for OLED TVs as a whole.  


Read out full Samsung S95D QD-OLED TV review

And the LG C4 OLED TV review 

And check out our list of the best OLED TVs

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.