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LG's AI-infused 4K OLED TVs to arrive in stores this month

By Ng Chong Seng - 22 Apr 2018

LG's AI-infused 4K OLED TVs to arrive in stores this month

First seen at CES this past January, LG has today (Apr 19) confirmed its OLED TV lineup for the Singapore market. A total of seven models across three series will be available. The three series are: the Signature W8PTA, the E8PTA, and the C8PTA. In essence, they’re the direct successors to last year’s W7T, G7T/E7T, and C7T.

LG’s 2018 OLED TVs share many similarities in terms of specs as their forebears. But there are new additions, too. Here’s a summary of the new TVs’ tentpole features:

  • New α (Alpha) 9 processor - Quad-core processors are a common sighting in LG’s flagship TVs, but this year, the company has supposedly made a vastly improved one that's faster and smarter and given it a name: α (Alpha). In fact, there are two chips: α9 and α7. The former is reserved primarily for the OLED TVs, while the latter is found in the company’s ‘Super UHD’ 4K TVs.

    Because of the α9 processor, this year's OLED TVs are able to do a four-step noise reduction process. There’s a new color correction algorithm that supposedly expands the reference color coordinates seven-fold compared to last year’s processor.
     
  • 120fps - The TVs support 120 frames per second high frame rate (HFR) to give you a smoother picture than what's possible on 60fps sets. In theory, this is great news for PC gamers and HFR movie lovers; in reality, since the TVs don't support HDMI 2.1, you've to rely on direct HFR streams to enjoy this feature.

  • 4K Cinema HDR - Like the 2017 OLED TVs, the 2018 models offer strong support for the various types of HDR formats currently out there, and then some. They all play nice with Dolby Vision, HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), as well as Advanced HDR by Technicolor. Take note: LG markets its TVs as HDR10 Pro and HLG Pro TVs; they basically mean LG-processed HDR10 and HLG. For instance, the TVs will take regular HDR10 signals and use its proprietary algorithms to dynamically tone-map each frame to get better brightness and contrast.

  • Dolby Atmos - The W8PTA, E8PTA, and C8PTA all support Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound.

  • ThinQ AI - LG’s TVs in the last few years are powered by WebOS. Under the hood, the 2018 models still run on this operating system, but LG is now referring to this platform by a new name: ThinQ AI. You still get a launch bar for easy access to apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Toggle, and features such as Miracast Overlay and Screen Share, but the updated platform do bring additional features, including more advanced voice commands. For now though, the voice controls still center around changing of TV settings and simple web searches; but come later this year, there'd be a firmware update for more advanced searches. For example, you can say, "Show me all the movies with Tom Cruise", and the TV will display results from the web, YouTube, Netflix, etc.

    While we saw Google Assistant integration on the TVs at CES, my understanding is that this integration is region specific, and right now it isn't available here. The various LG folks I spoke to all told me that the TVs are basically Assistant-ready, and they're mostly waiting on Google to officially enable Assistant support for Singapore TVs. No timeline is given, but in theory, when the full Google Assistant integration arrives, you'd be able to do things such as using the just-launched Google Home smart speaker to control the TV, or control your other Home-compatible smart devices through the TV.

  • Design - Like the W7T, the W8PTA continues to be a "wallpaper TV" that sports a “picture on wall” design. You can only wall-mount it because it's quite literally a sheet of OLED panel. It comes with a separate soundbar (4.2-channel, 60W) that also houses all the chips and ports, and you connect this soundbar to the TV with a ribbon cable. The W8PTA is the only Signature OLED TV series LG is bringing to Singapore this year (sorry, Signature G series fans).

    On the other hand, the E8P sports a “picture on glass” look and can be wall and table mounted. It has a 4.2-channel, 60W front-firing speaker system. For now, the most “entry level” model LG’s bringing in is the C8P; there's no word on whether we'd see the B8P later this year.

No surprise, blacks look super deep on these OLED TVs.

Stripped of the circuitry and I/Os, the Signature W8P main unit is basically just an OLED panel.

The W8P comes with a giant Dolby Atmos soundbar. All your I/Os, including HDMI 2.0 ports, are at the back of this speaker.

The TVs' smart remote control (LG calls it Magic Remote) have dedicated Netflix and Amazon buttons.

TV or painting? All the OLED TVs have this Gallery mode that turns them into a giant photo frame.

At S$4,699, the 55-inch C8P is most affordable OLED TV in the current lineup. There's also 77-inch C8P going for S$19,999.

Here’s the pricing of LG’s 2018 OLED TVs, which are all trickling into stores this month (Apr 2018):

LG Signature OLED W8PTA

  • 77W8PTA (77-inch): S$34,999
  • 65W8PTA (65-inch): S$11,699

LG OLED E8PTA

  • 65E8PTA (65-inch): S$10,999
  • 55E8PTA (55-inch): S$7,999

LG OLED C8PTA

  • 77C8PTA (77-inch): S$19,999
  • 65C8PTA (65-inch): S$7,299
  • 55C8PTA (55-inch): S$4,699
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