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LG’s 2019 OLED and NanoCell TVs gain new AI processors and AirPlay 2 support

By Ng Chong Seng - on 9 May 2019, 6:11pm

LG’s 2019 8K and 4K TVs get a new processor, support Alexa, AirPlay 2, HomeKit, and VRR

First published on Jan 3, this article was last updated on May 9 to include Singapore pricing and availability details of LG's 2019 OLED and NanoCell TVs.

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Ahead of CES 2019 that’s happening next week, LG has today announced a few details of its upcoming TV lineup.

Expectedly, LG’s 2019 4K TVs will come with a new picture processor. Called α (Alpha) 9 Gen 2, this new chip is the successor to last year’s α9 and it’s in charge of all the image and audio processing on the new TVs. The key improvement is an algorithm that LG says will enable the TVs to output a more optimized picture after factoring in ambient conditions.

The α9 Gen 2 processor will also lend a hand in the sound department. There’s an intelligent algorithm that can up-mix two-channel audio to deliver convincing virtual 5.1-channel surround sound, and the TVs can now optimize audio output based on content type (you know, AI).

Like its 2018 TVs, LG’s 2019 models sport the WebOS-based ThinQ AI platform with Google Assistant support. Depending on region, the TVs may also support Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

There is an Amazon Prime Video button the 2019 Magic Remote, which when pressed, will allow users to ask questions, check the weather, manage smart home devices, and access Alexa skills. LG’s own ThinQ AI is also gaining better conversational voice recognition, one which understands context and thus allows users to make more complex requests. This new feature is coming to 140 countries.

Update: The new TVs also support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.

 

2019 lineup

In terms of TV models, we’re looking at four series in the OLED lineup: the Z9, W9, E9, and C9. All of them are powered by the α9 Gen 2 processor. The flagship is the 8K 88-inch Z9. Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos are once again onboard.

Like LG's past 4K OLED TVs, the W9, E9, and C9 are mostly differentiated by design. If you don't need a "wallpaper" TV, you can just look at the E9 and C9.

For LCD TVs, the 2019 lineup consists of the SM99, SM9X, and SM8X, with the flagship being the 8K 75-inch SM99.

The SM9X and SM8X 4K TVs also use LG’s Nano Cell tech and are powered by the α7 Gen 2 chip. These NanoCell LCD TVs are capable of high frame rates (HFR), and support the aforementioned Google Assistant and AirPlay 2 features.

The main difference between the SM9X (SM9400 and SM9000) and SM8X (SM8600 and SM8100) is that the former uses full-array LED backlighting and the latter uses edge LED backlighting.

Take note too that the SM8100, which is the most entry-level model of the lot, doesn't support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, auto calibration, and Technicolor Expert mode. It also can't use AI to adjust its brightness and sound because it doesn't use the α7 processor (it uses a nameless "quad-core" chip).

Update, May 9:

LG has today shared the local availability info for its 2019 TVs. The Z9 8K OLED TV and SM99 8K NanoCell TV will arrive sometime in 3Q, but the 4K TVs (both OLED and NanoCell) will go on sale starting today. Here are the prices we know so far:

4K OLED

  • OLED W9 (77"): S$34,999
  • OLED W9 (65"): S$10,999

  • OLED E9 (65"): S$6,999 (available in May)
  • OLED E9 (55"): S$5,099 (available in May)

  • OLED C9 (77"): S$18,999
  • OLED C9 (65"): S$5,999
  • OLED C9 (55"): S$4,099

4K NanoCell

  • SM9400 (86"): S$13,999 (available in July)
  • SM9400 (75"): S$8,999 (available in May)

  • SM9000 (65"): S$5,399
  • SM9000 (55"): S$3,599

  • SM8600 (65"): S$4,199
  • SM8600 (55"): S$2,999
  • SM8600 (49"): S$2,399

  • SM8100 (65"): S$3,499 (available in May)
  • SM8100 (55"): S$2,499 (available in May)
  • SM8100 (49"): S$1,699 (available in May)
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