Knowing the differences between the LG BX OLED and LG B9 OLED has never been more urgent. The 2020 iteration of LG's entry-level B Series OLED range is now here, with the BX being available worldwide as of early September.
The LG B9 is a bit harder to get hold of these days, but is still kicking around in a few territories. But for those who do have the luxury of choosing between the two models, or are thinking of upgrading their B9 for the latest iteration, this is the guide for you.
While OLED TVs aren't ultra-affordable, some are still far cheaper than others, and none more so than the LG B Series.
That's especially the case with the new LG BX, which starts at just $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,795 for its smallest 55-inch size. That's significantly lower than the B9's original RRP, as you'll see below, with what should be a visual improvement over last year's processor.
With Hisense no longer making OLED TVs, and its existing O8B OLED not offering a particularly reliable experience – during our tests, at least – LG is the place to go for a budget OLED, and in this guide we'll run you through everything you need to consider before making a choice between the BX and B9 OLEDs.
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LG BX vs LG B9: pricing
Pricing for the LG BX OLED has now been confirmed, and it's shown the new model to be pretty competitive compared to last year's set – and the rest of LG's 2020 OLED range.
The LG BX starts at $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,795 for its smallest 55-inch size, with a higher $2,099 / £1,999 / AU$3,795 price tag for its 65-inch model.
By comparison, the LG B9 went on sale at around $1,995 / £1,529 / AU$2,900 for the 55-inch model, and $3,055 / £2,499 / AU$4,530 for the 65-inch model. By late 2019, this had dropped to $1,399 / £1,299 (around AU$2,030) for the 55-inch OLED55B9, or $2,299 / £1,799 (around AU$3,340) for the 65-inch OLED65B9.
So it looks like LG jumped the BX to the knock-down price the B9 got at the end of 2020 – which might be because the BX launched a few weeks later than its forebear did last year.
You can still buy the B9 for £1,098 in the UK, or around $1,399 in the US – making the older model a more tempting buy in the former territory than the latter (where there's no price difference between the B9 and BX).
LG BX vs LG B9: processor and picture quality
That price drop comes with a catch, though. Like the LG B9 OLED before it, the LG BX OLED will use a lower-spec processor than its more premium siblings. So instead of the a9 Gen 3 processor found in the LG CX and GX OLED, you'll find the a7 Gen 3 processor.
This follows on from the previous year, when the B9 used an a7 Gen 2 processor instead of the C9's a9 Gen 2 chip.
We reviewed the LG B9 OLED very favorably last year, with only small markdowns for the occasional video noise caused by the lower-spec processor, as well as middling upscaling performance. But the sacrifices here seem worth it if you're mainly interested in getting an OLED TV that's more affordable than some of the options out there.
We expect a slight uptick in picture quality from BX's picture processor, although the LG BX is unlikely to match the picture output of, say, last year's LG C9. The BX will include LG's new Face Enhancing processing technology, to better represent skin tones and help faces to stand out from backgrounds.
In either case you're not getting the AI processing used on the C Series and above, so you are taking a dent to your home's picture potential by going with the B Series instead.
LG BX vs LG B9: design and specs
Processor aside, is anything materially different when it comes to the design, formats, or inputs of the LG BX and LG B9?
These sets are actually almost identical in terms of their specs. The BX and B9 both ship in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, and the exact dimensions of each model size appear unchanged, excepting the odd 0.1 of an inch. The B9's 19.9kg weight (including the stand) is unchanged too.
The BX also retains the 40W audio output of the B9, including the 20W subwoofer added to the B Series for the first time last year. Both sets feature 2.2 channel speakers, like those on the C9, though without the same TV stand solution as the latter, which is designed to funnel downward-firing audio towards the viewer.
If you’re connecting your headphones or smartphone to the TV via Bluetooth, you’ll be pleased to know that the BX uses the latest 5.0 standard, as the B9 did, rather than the B8's older and less reliable 4.2 connectivity. We've yet to find out exactly what ports are built into the BX, but we expect a good number of HDMI and USB inputs.
Both are 4K TVs with HDR panels, and support the dynamic Dolby Vision HDR format, as well as Dolby Atmos surround sound (although not HDR10+) and both ship with LG’s sleek magic remote and streamlined webOS smart TV platform. With LG’s ThinQ AI integrated, too, you’re getting a very smart system, with built-in Alexa / Google Assistant support and the ability to connect to Google Home and Amazon Echo devices.
Apple AirPlay 2 support – which came as an update to 2018 and 2019 LG TVs last year – will also be on the BX from launch.
LG BX vs LG B9: takeaway
LG's B Series is a smart bet for anyone looking to get an OLED TV into their home at a reasonable price, even if what counts for 'budget' in the world of OLEDs is still a lot more expensive than cheap LCD panels.
In our LG B9 OLED review, we found the B9 had the same weaknesses as the older B8, in terms of occasional video noise and processing that can't compete with higher-end sets. That's unlikely to change much with the BX, although we expect a nominal improvement in terms of the extent of these visual imperfections – not enough to warrant an upgrade from the LG B9, but certainly enough to make the BX worth considering for a new TV.
With the BX now on sale, and at a lower price than the original RRP of the B9, the newer model seems like the best buy. Either way, you can expect an impressive OLED picture with only a small dent in picture quality.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.