LG's 48-inch OLED TV is coming – but it needs to be cheaper

(Image credit: LG)

LG's first 48-inch OLED TV is on the cusp of release, and we finally have a price tag for the compact OLED – but, sadly, it's not as cheap as we'd hoped.

The LG CX OLED is this year's successor to the LG C9 – a brilliantly capable television that topped a huge number of our buying guides (best OLED TVs, best 55-inch TVs, etc) last year.

We caught wind of the set's 48-inch model a few months ago, and ever since we've been eagerly awaiting a retail price to put next to the (relatively) small TV.

So, how much does it cost? The 48-inch CX OLED will cost £1,499 – around $1,860 / AU$3,100 by current conversion rates. That's a decent £300 lower than the 55-inch, and likely to lower over the coming year, but is still nowhere near cheap enough to meaningfully shake up people's buying habits for OLED displays.

Admittedly, we only have the UK pricing, for now, but it doesn't bode well for those wanting an affordable OLED in 2020.

A missed opportunity

Previously, the cheapest LG OLED available has been the B Series, such as the LG B9 OLED we reviewed last year. When we got word of a 48-inch OLED model, our immediate hope was that it could bring OLED TV prices below £1,000 / $1,000 (around AU$1,700) and finally drop OLED sets within reach of those with smaller budgets.

Sadly, that isn't the case. At the moment, it looks like the 48-inch CX is going to cost roughly the same as the 55-inch BX OLED, which feels like a pointless overlap to have pursued.

There are certainly issues of cost involved for LG, given the need to create new production lines for the smaller 48-inch size, which won't yet have been scaled up to a large size. It may also be the case that LG doesn't want to undersell the model as something inferior, or reduce its profit margins for a size it doesn't know for sure people want.

But we can't shake the feeling that a 48-inch model of the BX would have been the best thing for consumers – helping to lower the price barrier at the very bottom of LG's OLED range. As it is, this reduction and size and cost for the CX isn't as tempting or game-changing as we hoped it would be.

The pricing for the LG BX OLED has yet to be revealed

The pricing for the LG BX OLED has yet to be revealed (Image credit: LG)

Is there hope for cheap OLEDs yet?

Yes! For one, we haven't received official pricing for the LG BX, in any territory. It may be the cheapest OLED in the range does do what the 48-inch CX model couldn't, and offer a real bargain for a decent OLED display.

This is also the first 48-inch OLED that LG has put out, and we could well see more TV series get this smaller size in 2021 – or somewhat unexpectedly in late 2020. The pricing of this model is likely to drop by the Black Friday sales later this year, too, though likely won't drop to a three-figure sum. This is really just the start of 48-inch OLEDs, and they may need time to realize their potential for bringing OLED into many more people's homes.

The cheapest OLED you can buy currently is the Hisense O8B, at just £999 (around $1,200 / AU$2,050) in the UK, though for a baseline of quality you'll really want to go for whatever LG OLED you can afford.

LG has misstep slightly, though, in picking the CX over the BX – and not offering the price drop it could have.

Henry St Leger

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.