With the arrival of QD-OLED, there is finally competition in the OLED category. No wonder LG focuses entirely on OLED in the workshop on the new models. And in fact, almost all the attention goes to the new G3, because with that model LG takes the new QD-OLED TVs directly in its sights. We went to the huge stadium of Eintracht Frankfurt for the international performance.
The LG OLED TV line-up
We don’t have to waste too many words on the line-up itself, somewhat strangely perhaps. After all, it is broadly identical to last year’s. LG has a model for everyone, whether you’re a movie buff, sports fan or gamer. Pricing was not yet available at the time of this article.
- Z3 (88.77 inches): Yes, there will be new 8K models. The new version now also uses OLED evo with Brightness Booster Max and according to LG would even have a slightly higher peak brightness than the Z2.
- G3 (83, 77, 65, 55 inches): LG’s new star. Equipped with an Alpha9 Gen 6 processor, OLED evo with Brightness Booster Max, and a design specifically aimed at wall mounting. That design is called “One Wall Design” this year, the previous name “Gallery Design” led to too much confusion among consumers, according to LG. Those who want to go even bigger can still buy the 97-inch G2, that 2022 model will continue.
- C3 (83, 77, 65, 55, 48, 42 inches): The OLED bestseller. Also featuring the new Alpha9 Gen6 processor, but with the same panels as last year (OLED evo with Brightness Booster). The C3 remains 20% brighter than the B3.
- B3 (77, 65, 55 inches): Gamers on a budget will love the B3, which features an Alpha7 Gen6 processor.
- A3 (77, 65, 55, 48 inches): This OLED TV uses a 60Hz panel and the Alpha7 Gen6 processor. It is therefore the ideal starter for film enthusiasts.
If you want a complete overview of all televisions that LG will bring to the Netherlands and Belgium in 2023, view the line-up below.
An integral part of every new generation of televisions is new or improved image processing. The Alpha9 processor is now in its sixth generation, and received three improvements.
AI Super Upscaling: Upscaling and noise reduction are key as a lot of the material we watch is still not in 4K. In a first step, the processor determines the image quality based on the resolution and sorts the image material into four different quality levels. Then AI Noise Reduction and AI Super Resolution algorithms classify the material into 32 different types. LG claims that the processor is even able to distinguish real noise from film grain. A deep learning step identifies faces, bodies, and text, keeping them clearer and better defined. Unfortunately we didn’t see any demos of this, so we’ll have to wait for real tests.
LG does not support HDR10 +, and has been working with real-time dynamic tone mapping for HDR10 content for years. In 2022, LG introduced Dynamic Tonemapping Pro, which divides the image into 5,000 zones and gives each zone its own specific tone curve. That technique has now been made even more powerful, the image is now divided into 20,000 zones. For example, the processor will be even better able to make subtle nuances in dark and bright images more visible. But color reproduction in very bright scenes also remains more intense. That was very visible on a demo between the G2 and G3, with the Samsung S95C and Sony A95K next to it. The G3 had a clear lead there, not only over the G2, but also over the QD OLED TVs.
Finally, there is the HDR Expression Enhancer. It uses AI to detect the depth information in the image. For example, he can set a different tone mapping for objects that are in the foreground and objects that are in the background. This gives the image extra depth and feels more real. Unfortunately no demo of this either.
Brightness Booster Max: what exactly does that mean?
MLA, META, Brightness Booster Max? What is what exactly. There’s been a bit of confusion surrounding the naming of all that technology in the new panels, in part because LG Display (the panel manufacturer) and LG Electronics (the TV manufacturer) use different names for it.
LG Display expresses it as follows. The new generation of OLED panels uses META technology (just like last year’s new panels used EX technology). META technology uses two elements: a “Micro Lens Array” (MLA), which minimizes internal light loss, and the “META Booster”, an algorithm that analyzes and enhances brightness and color expression in real time.
LG Electronics does not use that terminology. The G3 is equipped with “Brightness Booster Max”. David Seperson says:
“All G3 TVs have Brightness Booster Max, which is a combination of both hardware we call ‘light control architecture’ and software we call ‘light boosting algorithms’, making the G3 OLED Evo brighter. The hardware included in each format of the G3 differs, and in some formats MLA is part of that hardware solution.”
You clearly recognize the same terminology. But then there is of course the question of which G3 models have MLA. Fortunately, LG also answered that question, albeit indirectly. The 55, 65, and 77 inch models are 70% brighter than the G2, the 83 inch model is 30% brighter than the G2. So that 83 inch version will almost certainly not contain an MLA layer.
What does Brightness Booster Max actually deliver? Well, according to measurements from LG, the G3 achieves 2,040 nits on a 3% window in Vivid image mode. In the HDR Cinema image mode you still get 1,470 nits (both on a 3% and on a 10% window). You still have 240 nits left on a completely white test image. Compared to our measurements on the G2, those last two figures would represent a 50% improvement, which is impressive. It was clearly visible in the demo.
The G3 is also equipped with a “Super Anti Reflecting” layer. This reduces the reflections of ambient light by 25%. LG seems to be less concerned about burn-in. The G3 (and also the Z3) come with a five-year warranty for the panel. With the recent messages about burn-in on QD-OLED in mind, a smart move. In the first year, the warranty covers parts and labor, the following four years only the parts. That warranty only applies to “normal use”, read with normal use in the living room.
Finally support for DTS throughput!
There is good news for those who use eARC and an external audio solution. The 2023 TVs support DTS sound pass-through (DTS, DTS HD and DTS:X). That was impossible on LG TVs from 2022 and earlier. From now on you can connect all your sources to the TV and send all soundtracks regardless of the audio format via eARC to your soundbar, for example. Attention, there is no support for playback on the TV, only for pass-through. If you opt for an LG Soundbar, thanks to Wow Orchestra it now uses both the TV speakers and the soundbar together. That feature will also come to the 2022 soundbar models, and possibly the 2022 TVs as well. LG has also ensured that the operation of the soundbar can largely be done from the TV menus, under the name Wow Interface.
There are also audio processing improvements. Adaptive Sound Control identifies genres and content to optimize playback. Auto Balance Control is an automatic equalizer that ensures that, for example, the low tones do not drown out the high tones.
And one more little audio novelty. There will be a soundbar specifically intended for the C2 and C3. The central base of that model makes it difficult to place a soundbar in front of it. The SC9 comes with its own mounting bracket. With wall mounting, you hang the soundbar on the TV, so you don’t have to provide separate mounting on the wall for the soundbar. On a TV cabinet, the bracket and soundbar together take over the role of the foot.
Slimmer webOS 23
WebOS 22 received an update halfway through the year that changed the layout of the Home screen. But LG wants to go even further. According to LG, all those previews that have to be loaded slow down the navigation. That is why the Home screen is now more tightly organized. Long scrolling down is no longer necessary, there are only two screens left.
The Home screen, with the new Quick Cards, and a second screen with an overview of the recommendations from streaming services. You can best consider those “Quick Cards” as a kind of folders in which LG groups similar apps. For example, there will be Quick Cards for Music, Sports, Home Office, the Home Hub. LG retains full control over the Quick Cards. You cannot determine which apps are included, and you cannot create your own Quick Card.
The Home Hub remains the place where you manage all your smart devices, Matter support will also be added. In the Home Office you can connect to a remote PC, use Windows 365, and Google Services such as other Mail, Calendar, and Sheets.
LG also provides an optional LG Smart Cam. You can use it in MultiView, for example to evaluate your fitness exercises. Those who want easier access to certain items in the TV menus can simply place them on the Quick Settings menu.