LG Reveals Pricing On 2018 Premium 4K Ultra HDTV Lines
LG Electronics USA formally revealed pricing and availability Tuesday on most of its 2018 premium Ultra HD OLED and Super UHD LED-LCD TV series, all of which include the new ThinQ AI voice control system.
All of the 2018 4K OLED series, including the B8, C8, E8 and W8 series and the top-end Super UHD LED-LCD TV series, SK9500, all have the peak brightness, black level luminance and Digital Cinema Initiative P3 color gamut coverage to comply with Ultra HD Alliance “UHD Premium” TV level certification, although the televisions await formal testing, LG product marketing senior director Tim Alessi told HD Guru.
Highlighting the new details was pricing on much of the 4K Ultra HD OLED models, starting with the C8 range, which rings in at a $2,499.99 suggested retail (available the week of March 19) for the 55-inch model, $3,499.99 for the 65-inch model (available the week of March 19) and $8,999.99 for the 77-inch version (available the week of April 12). The step-up E8 line includes a 55-inch model at $3,499.99 and a 65-inch model for $4,499.99 (both will be available the week of April 2).
Pricing for the flagship “wall paper” 65-inch 65W8 (available the week of July 16th) 4K OLED will be $6,999.99 and the 77-inch flagship W8 will be $14,999.99 (available the week of April 16th). Due to the ultra-thin nature of the models, the use of a special flat ribbon cable and the Dolby Atmos-supporting sound bar/connectivity system, the W8 models will be sold primarily by custom installer/specialty dealers, Tim Alessi told us.
For OLED price comparison purposes, the introductory suggested retail pricing on 2017 55- and 65-inch C7 series OLED models was $500 more apiece than this year’s equivalents. In the E7 series, pricing was $1,000 and $1,500 more, respectively, than the 2018 equivalents and the 77-inch W7 model was $5,000 more and the 65-inch W7 was $7,999.99 or $1,000 more than this year’s equivalent.
All models will include LG’s webOS 3.5 smart platform with a large app library and fast source switching capability, and LG’s Magic Remote with button-activated mic input for voice command operation of the television.
The new sets will treat image enhancement differently from last year, particularly in the areas of sharpness and object-based contrast, in part, by focusing on edge detail to produce a more natural look. All OLED series except the entry B8 models will include a new Alpha 9 chip that will also include a more than 700 percent increase in look-up-table (LUT) color mapping coverage for what LG said will be more accurate color tone mapping.
The entry B8 and 2018 4K Super UHD LED-LCD TVs will use a less powerful Alpha 7 chip (which is the equivalent to the chip used in last year’s OLED models), so picture enhancements won’t be quite as sophisticated as the step-up Alpha 9-enhanced models. The same chip will also be used in LG’s Super UHD 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TVs.
LG OLED65E8, $4,499.99 (week of April 2)
This is a change from 2017, when all of the 4K OLED TV series had the same processing and panels, and hence, comparable picture quality. Differentiation was focused on cosmetic styling and built-in audio support.
In addition, the 2018 premium models will feature LG’s 4K Cinema HDR (formerly known as Active HDR) which has been improved to deliver more natural-appearing HDR images. All OLED and Super UHD LED-LCD TV models will continue to support HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and Technicolor HDR profiles in 2018.
In addition, this year LG is adding what it calls HDR10 Pro and HLG Pro, which add dynamic HDR-like-enhancement to the two corresponding HDR formats. LG said that although the new HDR system won’t make use of metadata instructions in the content, the technology is designed to estimate what the tone mapping elements should be on the screen based on the continually changing information in the picture.
LG has said this will also present a boosted effect playing HDR10+ based encoded material without supporting the actual HDR10+ dynamic metdata profile.
The models also have been enhanced to improve calibration support, including a new IP-based AutoCal process that will be supported by Portrait Display/SpectraCal’s Calman professional calibration software.
All of the new premium OLED amd Super UHD LED-LCD TV models also support LG’s new ThinQ Artificial Intelligence (AI) smart system which builds in support for the popular Google Assistant and Amazon Echo voice control platforms and will enable operating compatible smart home devices throughout the house. These devices will include smart thermostats, robot vacuum cleaners, smart appliances, smart lighting etc.
LG is also making significant advancements in its 4K Super UHD LED-LCD TV series for 2018. The models use the aforementioed Alpha 7 chip and also include the multi-flavor 4K Cinema HDR system with high frame rate content support used in the OLEDs. Like the OLED models they will decode Dolby Atmos sound internally (a change from the Harman Kardon developed sound system from last year).
Like last year, the 2018 Super UHD TVs employ LG’s Nano Cell technology, which applies super tiny uniformly sized dots to apply filtering between colors to achieve similar results to other companies’ quantum dot technology. All LG models also have the company’s IPS LCD panels that provide wider viewing angles of rich color and contrast compared with typical VA LCD panels.
The top two Super UHD series employ Full Array LED backlighting for the first time, which will bring contrast and black level improvements over last year’s offerings.
The Super UHD tier has three series: the SK9500, with 65- and 55-inch screen sizes, the SK9000, with 65- and 55-inch screen sizes and the SK8000 series, with a 65-inch screen sizes.
65SK9500 $2,699.99 suggested/$2,599.99 promotional price
(available the week of March 19)
Features include: full-array LED backlighting with the highest LED zone count for greater black level control; Local Dimming Pro, TruMotion 240 (120 Hz native refresh rate).
65SK9000 $2,199.99 (available week of March 12th)
55SK9000 $1,599.99 (available week of March 12th)
Features include: full-array LED backlighting; Local Dimming, TruMotion 240 (120 Hz native refresh rate).
75SK8000, $2,699.99 (available week of April 23)
65SK8000 $1,999.99 (available week of April 2)
55SK8000 $1,999.99 (available week of April 2)
49SK8000 $999.99 (available week of May 7)
Features include: edge-lit LED back lighting and the previously mentioned additions.
By Greg Tarr
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