2018 is kicking off to a great start - well, at least for TV lovers it is. After LG pre-released a bunch of information prior to CES, it formally showed off the new LG TV 2018 line-up at its press conference at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018).
And at a recent event in South Korea it gave another glimpse of LG television 2018 lineup, giving a little more information on what we can expect to see from its ThinQ AI technology.
Like last year, the 2018 line-up of LG TVs consists of OLED TVs at the high end, Super UHD TVs - which have a lot of the same components as the OLED TVs, but lack the main OLED panel - in the middle, and then traditional 4K TVs and finally FHD screens at the bottom.
With there being so many different models to take in, we thought it might be beneficial for most folks to see the entire line-up on paper, from the high-end OLEDs to the entry-level FHD TVs in one long piece.
It’s worth noting that a lot of the specs listed below could potentially change as we get closer to the retail release of these screens (March, April and May of this year), but for the most part the specs you see here should be the components that make it in the final product.
LG 2018 TV technology
All this information listed below comes directly from LG - the South Korean manufacturer offered a first look at future-facing technologies for some journalists attending CES 2018 and at a further press event held in South Korea in March 2018.
The biggest change for the high-end screens (the OLED line-up) is the switch from the M16+ processor to something LG is calling the “Alpha 9” processor.
The Alpha 9 silicon upgrade promises a 35% boost in CPU and GPU speeds which equates to smoother motion handling, object-based contrast enhancement for better sharpness and detailing and a technology called True Color Accuracy Pro.
True Color Accuracy Pro replaces last year’s True Color Accuracy technology that, according to LG’s internal tests, provides 7.3 times the amount of data points for color. Now, because LG still plans on using 10-bit panels, there might not be a massive difference between the resulting images … but we’ll need to see them for ourselves before we can make a judgement call on how much an increase to Look Up Table (LUT) size impacts overall picture quality.
While the OLED TVs will have this new Alpha 9 processors, LG has announced that its Super UHD offering will be powered by Alpha 7, the same processor found in the B8 series.
Interestingly, LG is also touting High Frame Rate (HFR, 120/4K) through broadcasts and streaming as well. An LG representative said the TVs won’t come equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports (the spec wasn’t finalized in time) but the TV should be able to do 120/4K via streaming websites like Netflix, YouTube, BBC, FOX Sports and Amazon and broadcasts … when broadcasters start putting out 4K HFR signal.
Noise-reduction was another feature the company was keen to talk up. It's using a four step process to remove the kind of picture grain that can plague low quality images, while most other TV companies - it claims - only use two.
With AI being the technological buzzword right now, you'll be unsurprised to hear that LG's OLED and Super UHD ranges will have AI functionality embedded in the sets. Thanks to its ThinQ AI, LG TV viewers will be able to speak directly into their remote controls in order to discover real-time information and move between channels. LG says users will be able to say “search for this movie’s soundtrack” or “turn off the TV when this program is over” without repeating the program’s title or specifying a time.
LG ThinQ TVs will now essentially be smart home hubs, able to access other smart home devices like air conditioners/purifiers, smart lights, smart speakers and many other devices that connect to the TV via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The other new addition to LG TVs in 2018 will be Google Assistant, which will now be integrated into webOS. Google Assistant on webOS will be capable of switching inputs via your voice, as well as change the channel. Full integration with other Google services such as Google Photos and Google Maps is also promised, so you can get your information from the largest screen in your house.
LG OLED 2018 Models
LG OLED W8 (available in 77- and 65-inch sizes): At the head of the proverbial table sits the LG OLED W8 - an incremental upgrade on 2017’s Signature Series W7 OLED. According to LG, it will feature a similar “picture-on-wall” design that the W7 had last year, in addition to a new “Alpha 9” processor, 4K Cinema HDR and High Frame Rate (HFR). Also, expect a 60-watt 4.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar and Google Assistant integration in webOS.
LG OLED E8 (available in 65- and 55-inch sizes): While LG did mention that G-series of OLED TVs would make an appearance at CES, it wasn’t part of our briefing. Instead, we got the details on the successor to the E7. According to the specs, the E8 will be almost identical to the W7, but will instead have a traditional chassis in lieu of the picture frame-esque visage of the W8.
LG OLED C8 (available in 77-, 65- and 55-inch sizes): The LG OLED C7 was one of our favorite TVs of 2017 as it nearly perfectly balanced performance and price. The 2018 C8 OLED will have much of what made the C7 so great but, like the W8/E8, include the new next-gen processor. There will also be the 2.2 soundbar attached like last year.
LG OLED B8 (available in 65- and 55-inch sizes): The biggest disappointment of LG’s 2018 line-up, in our early opinion at least, is the new B8. Instead of getting the new Alpha 9 processor like its peers, the B8 is getting something that LG referred to as its "Alpha 7" processor. The difference isn’t entirely clear, but according to the information given to us, it could mean that pictures won’t look as sharp or as vibrant as they will on the C8, E8 and W8 TVs. That being said, it will come with a 2.2 soundbar and webOS with Google Assistant.
LG OLED G8 (available in 65 inches): This one isn't really a series given it's a single model that comes in one size. The 2018 G8 has an interesting 'one glass' design that has the screen mounted on a very thin glass plate which extends past the bottom of the screen to hold an integrated soundbar. Here you'll find the same picture and sound features of the W8 models, but the soundbar isn't quite as powerful.
LG Super UHD 2018 Models
SK9500 (available in 65- and 55-inch sizes): The top Super UHD TV of 2018 will be the SK9500. This series of flagship Super UHD screens will use Nano Cell display technology with full array local dimming - which should offer significant improvements to the uniformity of black levels - and will be powered by the Alpha 7 processor. The TV will support Dolby Atmos - but it won’t ship with a Dolby Atmos soundbar like the W8 or E8 OLED.
SK9000 (available in 65- and 55-inch sizes): One step under the SK9500 is the SK9000. It too has full array local dimming, the Alpha 7 processor and Dolby Atmos on-board, but it will offer slightly less lighting control than the SK9500.
SK8500 (available in 49-, 55- and 65-inch sizes): The SK8500 range is a recent announcement but like the other Super UHD models it makes use of the Alpha 7 processor. It does, however, have a less premium design and fewer dimming zones compared to the more high-end models.
SK8000 (available in 75-, 65- and 55-inch sizes): The SK8000 is the poor man’s SK9500. It’s still offering the Alpha 7 processor and Dolby Atmos, but the panel drops full array local dimming for simple local dimming. Fewer zones means even less lighting control and more inconsistencies in brightness.
LG UHD 2018 Models
UK7700 (available in 65-, 55- and 49-inch sizes): The best UHD TV from LG this year is the UK7700. While it doesn’t have the OLED or FALD panel that the series above it has, it’s not all bad news for the UK7700 and its ilk. The good news is that these screens offer 4K with Active HDR and Ultra Surround sound. They only use a quad-core processor, though, and that could spell trouble for motion, clarity and vibrancy.
UK6500/70 (available in 86-, 70- and 70-, plus 65-, 55-, 50- and 43-inch sizes): The most common LG TV of 2018 is going to be the LG UK6500/70. It’s available in the most screen sizes from a monstrous 86-inch to a still-appeasing 43-inch, and it comes with middling, but-still-decent technology. Namely, that technology will include webOS with Google Assistant, 4K Active HDR, a 4K IPS panel and, again, a less-than-ideal quad-core processor.
UK6300 (available in 65-, 55-, 50-, 49- and 43-inch sizes): The last 4K TV in LG’s 2018 line-up is the UK6300. On paper, it’s close to the UK6500 in nearly every way, but it will have a slight variation with its 4K IPS panel. That said, we expect it to be dirt cheap.
LG FHD 2018 Models
LK5400 (available in 49-, 43- and 32H sizes): It might not be 4K, but the LK5400 is the last TV in LG’s 2018 catalog to offer HDR - which can make a surprising difference in FHD TVs. The LK5400 doesn’t offer any of 2018 processors, and instead opts for an older quad-core processor and LG’s Virtual Surround Plus instead of Atmos.
LJ5100 (available only in 49-inches): The medium-sized LG5100 only offers a dual-core processor, really. There’s no HDR, no smart TV functionality and drops Virtual Surround Plus for Clear Voice, LG’s lowest-end audio technology.
LJ5000 (available in 43- and 32-inches): Last but not least is the LJ5000. It’s more or less the LJ5100 but in a smaller size.
That’s it! The entire LG TV line-up for 2018. We’ll grab as many hands on experiences as we can with LG’s line-up at CES 2018 when it kicks off next week, but this should give you some ideas for which screens might be underneath your tree this time next year.
Update 1/3/2017: LG has reached out to inform us of the updated names of the new Next-Gen Processors, the Alpha 9 and Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor. LG's also renamed the SK8500 to SK9000. All copy has been updated to reflect these changes.