Heightening anticipation before its press conference at CES next week (7th), LG has given us a taster of what we can expect from its next-gen TVs this year. And the pinnacle is its 88in Z9 8K OLED TV - no doubt the fully-realised and now named version of the 88in 8K prototype we saw last year.
No mention of a smaller 8K OLED appeared in LG’s release, however we do know that the Z9 will be powered by the α9 Gen 2 processor that LG announced just before Christmas. It’s the second-generation processor of the one found in LG’s 2018 OLED TVs, and will be paired in the 2019 TVs with a new-and-improved algorithm to deliver enhanced picture quality.
LG explains that the α9 Gen 2 is capable of improved brightness by adjusting its tone mapping in accordance with the ambient conditions, measured by the TVs’ light sensors.
The new processor can further refine HDR content by adjusting the brightness to transform even the darkest scenes into ones with incredible contrast, detail and depth of color, even in brightly-lit rooms. leveraging Dolby’s latest imaging innovation which intelligently adjusts Dolby Vision content, LG TVs deliver a compelling HDR experience under varying ambient light.
The α9 Gen 2 is also employed in LG’s 4K OLED line-up, which conforms to the brand’s typical order, with the W9, E9 and C9 series. There’s no mention of the usual middle-sitting G series TV, however, so we can guess its been scrapped.
We hope the entry-level B series OLED – also unmentioned so far – will return for 2019, and we can expect it to have an older (first-gen 2018 a9) processor.
8K isn’t exclusive to OLED, either, as LG has leaked details of its new LCD TVs too. Its new flagship 75in 8K LCD TV (model name: SM99) will sport a panel with the superior resolution. Below it will sit the premium SM9X and SM8X series, which come under a new ‘NanoCell TV’ umbrella - a name LG thinks better represents the NanoCell technology behind them. ‘NanoColor’, ‘NanoAccuracy’ and ‘NanoBezel’, LG says, reflect the sets’ colour accuracy, wide viewing angle and narrow bezel.
As we can expect from most manufacturer’s 2019 TVs, HDMI 2.1 ports will feature on all 2019 OLED TVs and some NanoCell TVs, bringing support for high frame rate (HFR) at 120 frames per second for improved rendering of on-screen action (great news for gamers), as well as for enhanced audio return channel (eARC), allowing up to 32 channels of audio, including eight-channel, 24-bit/192kHz uncompressed data streams at speeds of up to 38Mbps to be transferred between kit over HDMI.
LG’s 2019 TVs will this year offer voice control via Amazon Alexa, as well as, like the 2018 TVs, built-in Google Assistant, with a Home Dashboard that LG says will be an intuitive hub to control your smart home ecosystem from.
Dolby Atmos returns to the flagship sets, and a new algorithm also works to up-mix stereo audio to deliver virtual 5.1 surround sound.
Considering the unanimous success of LG's 2018 TVs, any improvements brought in newer sets should be worth getting excited about. We look forward to seeing them in the flesh next week, which is when we'll also also bring you full details about LG's (and rival TV brands') 2019 TV line-up.