OLED televisions remain a success story in the premium TV segment. Meanwhile, there is also a wide range of models, which fuels the price competition. In this review, we look at the LG OLED55C8PLA, LG’s cheapest model that still gives you the same image quality as the higher models.
LG OLED55C8PLA – specifications
- What: Ultra HD oled TV
- Screen size: 55 inches (139 cm), flat
- Connections: 4x HDMI (1x ARC 4x v2.0a), 1x optical digital out, 3x USB, 1x headphones, 2x antenna, Bluetooth
- Extras: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Technicolor , HFR, WiFi (802.11ac) built-in, WebOS 3.5, USB / DLNA media player, DVB-T2 / C / S2, CI + lock, auto calibration
- Dimensions: 1.288 x 757 x 230 mm (including foot)  Weight: 19.1 kg (including foot)
- Consumption: 113 / 0.5 watt (Energy label A)
- List price: 2.299 euro
A complete overview of all models that will be on the market in 2018 brought, in the 2018 LG TV line-up. Here you will also find the complete specifications per model.
LG OLED55C8PLA – design
If you are looking for differences between the C8 and for example the E8 (see here for the review), you will especially notice that the devices have a completely different design. Of course, this C8 is super slim, the screen is even slimmer than that of the E8. Where in the latter the OLED panel was mounted on a glass plate, the C8 used a wafer-thin metal back. It is still sufficiently sturdy, you do not have to worry about it.
But where the E8 went through that glass plate in the foot and provided a remarkable construction, the C8 opted for a more conventional approach. The foot supports the device over the entire width, but just grabs with two pins in the chassis like many other televisions.
The assembly is good, but the plastic, slightly concave foot gives a significantly less premium feeling. In fact, he even looks a bit cheap, and because he catches the eye that is even more striking. If there had to be saved anyway, a less noticeable foot would have been a better choice.
With the equipment you do not deliver anything compared to the higher model, even the layout is identical. You get four HDMI connections, all ready for Ultra HD HDR. Three are on the side and one on the back. They are. On the side we also find a USB connection, and at the back two extra USB connections, the headphone output, optical digital output, network connection and antenna connections. Attention, the connections at the back point to the back wall, you have to take that into account when you choose wall mounting.
The headphone jack is quite deep behind the device and is therefore difficult to reach. You can optionally connect an adapter cable and put it within easy reach, or you can use a Bluetooth headset.
LG OLED55C8PLA – ease of use
WebOS we have always found very user friendly, and that is no different on the C8. Installation is easily and quickly arranged. A push of the settings button takes you to the Quick Menu where you can quickly adjust the picture and sound mode. From there you go to the general settings, or you go directly by holding down the settings key for a long time.
The Magic Remote is an important part of the ease of use of WebOS . You simply point it on the screen, and move the cursor by moving the remote. You point to things on the screen, as it were. In contrast to the smart remote from Samsung which only has a minimum of keys, you will find a lot of keys on this remote. This way it works fine if you want to use the pointing function less.
There are two specific buttons for Netflix and Amazon Video. Via the built-in microphone you can not only record searches for YouTube or the entire web, but you can also activate various TV functions.
LG OLED55C8PLA – features
Smart TV platform
WebOS, the smart tv LG’s system is now up to version 3.5. The playful but very handy interface remains one of our favorites. In daily use you will find everything on the Home screen that takes the form of a ribbon at the bottom of the screen with icons for all sources on the device, from live TV, to external inputs and internet applications.
For an extensive tour you can read our review article on WebOS3.5 .
Like the E8, the C8 is equipped with a full set of TV tuners, and the possibility to record to USB hard drive. The media player plays all known music formats, including ALAC and FLAC. He is also very versatile for video, he plays all of our test formats, both in SDR and HDR and with all subtitles. This makes it one of the best media players on the market.
This device is also equipped with ThinQ AI. But for smooth and smart use of voice commands, waiting for support for Dutch remains. You can also link a Google Home or Amazon Echo to the LG TV so you can even enter voice commands without the remote. Also that link is currently not yet available in Belgium and the Netherlands.
For an overview of the future speech options, you can go the overview article of WebOS3 .5.
LG OLED55C8PLA – Image quality
The 2018 models from LG are equipped with a new OLED panel, and although LG does not mention any significant improvements, other manufacturers have let us know that these panels are slightly brighter are (10%). The C8 is the last device in the OLED lineup that uses the new image processor Alpha9. The lowest model, the B8 uses the Alpha7 processor. In terms of image performance, we therefore expect few differences with the E8.
With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.
|General||Advanced operation||Picture Options|
|Picture mode: Cinema
Setting end aspect ratio: Original
Energy saving: Off
OLED Light: 80
|Dynamic Contrast: Off
Dynamic tonemapping: Off
Super Resolution: Low
Color Range: Auto
Color Filter: Off
Gamma: 2.2 / BT.1886
White Balance: Warm2
|Noise Reduction: Low *
MPEG Noise Reduction: Low *
Black Level : Automatic
Real Cinema: On
Motion Eye Care: From
TruMotion: Clear (or modified)
Explanation of main settings;
- The Cinema setting delivers the best start. The ISF presets are an alternative for those who want day and night versions.
- The effect of Superresolution is very limited. You can leave it safely activated.
- Noise reduction and MPEG noise reduction are best activated if you start from a bad source (old DVDs or low quality YouTube). Especially MPEG noise reduction is best left on Low because it also eliminates color bands.
- TruMotion: Clear gave the best results. Do not put it out, you lose too much detail. Anyone who chooses a personal institution can put deblur between 8 and 10, and the adjudicator between 7 and 9.
General image and image processing
Image processing is an important part of your image quality. The television has to show a variety of sources with different characteristics as good as possible on the screen. Increasingly powerful processors with complex algorithms are required to do that. With the Alpha9 processor, LG can easily place itself next to the competitors.
The results of the Alpha9 are very good. The processor has no problem with deinterlacing and perfectly recognizes the different video and film framerates. One of the improved parts is noise reduction. It provides a very powerful noise reduction thanks to a new four-step approach. In addition, the MPEG noise reduction now also removes color bands. The effect is clearly visible, unless the color bands are really very heavy. The image gets a bit softer, so it keeps weighing what you prefer. A good compromise seemed to put both noise suppressions in the lowest position. You can combine this with the sharpness to bring something up, for example to 15 to remove that soft effect. The C8 provides excellent upscaling by the way.
OLED screens have good sharpening, at least if you leave TruMotion at least in clear conditions. The ‘Fluent’ mode clearly has fewer problems than on the models of last year, but will still be unpleasant for many viewers. Yet it remains the only solution if you want to make pan images smooth. LG has now made available a Black Frame Insertion technique under the name “Motion Pro”, but it makes the image flicker and that is very unpleasant.
LG delivers the device finish with a top calibration. The gray scale is nicely neutral and the gamma value of 2.2 is ideal for the living room. The device shows neatly all the black detail. If you are looking for a more cinematic look, for looking at obscuration, you can select BT.1886 in the settings as gamma value, which keeps the image slightly darker. The color reproduction and color range are excellent and the skin tones very natural.
LG OLED55C8PLA HDR
Wide support for HDR remains an asset on the LG OLED TVs. Just like last year, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision are planned. LG also supports Technicolor HDR, but since we have not yet heard about any content of that format, that is less important for the time being. LG could not tell us about HDR10 +, but since that is the preferred format from Samsung, we would not be surprised if that format is still missing.
Just like on the E8 the C8 for HDR10 and HLG on its own form of dynamic tonemapping, with which he simulates the use of dynamic metadata. You can activate this using ‘Dynamic Tone Mapping’. The results vary. In some images there is hardly any effect, in others the general brightness decreases, in some the highlights seem to become slightly brighter. Often you win a bit of white detail in clear images.
The screen provides a peak luminance of about 780 nits, which increases to about 840 nits in a short time, and then descends to 130 nits over a long period. On a completely white screen, the maximum is about 147 nits. Color range clocked up to very well-known values: about 96% DCI-P3 and 70% Rec.2020. The calibration is very good, with a neutral gray scale. Only the course of the brightness curve is slightly above the norm, around 10%. That does not bother, it makes the images a little clearer. All white detail is always visible, even with different metadata.
Reflections and viewing angles
OLED screens have an excellent viewing angle, so that those who are not directly in front of the image can enjoy excellent contrast and colors. The LG refutes reflections well, but attention to the right lighting is still required.
In cinema mode we measure a lay of 108 ms, quite high, even for a casual gamer. In game mode the lag drops to 21.5 ms which is an excellent result. We also see these two results in HDR mode. The screen is a decent choice for gamers.
LG OLED55C8PLA – Audio quality
In addition to design, sound is actually the only area where you have to give up some terrain compared to the more expensive E8. The system has to set it with 40 Watt and a 2.1 configuration, and this device also supports Dolby Atmos. Yet the sound remains convincing. There is enough volume in it, and the bass reproduction is very solid, although like the E8 it can get a bit messy if you turn the volume knob too far.
We found the standard mode often the give best result. The music mode is a bit too aggressive. You can optimize the sound with the help of the One Touch Sound Tuning and the Magic remote, definitely worth trying.
For the lay-measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter, Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems, we use an HDFury Vertex.
LG OLED55C8PLA – Conclusion
This C8 series only delivers in terms of design and sound compared to its more expensive brother. You have to decide on design yourself, but even the slightly less powerful sound solution continues to perform well. As long as Dutch is not fully supported, ThinQ AI remains a label or a real added value, but that might change in 2019.
Image quality? There you get the same great performances as the more expensive E8. The calibration is excellent in both HDR and SDR. The OLED screen delivers perfect black, sufficient brightness and beautiful colors. This LG also shows a lot of black detail. The Alpha9 image processor delivers excellent results and WebOS remains a pleasure to use. In short, this is a very nice television, with a great price tag, although he has a few strong competitors at the Philips 55OLED803 and the Panasonic TX-55FZW804.