In what has become a routine strategy in the days leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), LG has unveiled details on its premium LED TV lineup for 2016, just days before its official January 5 press conference. The buzzword surrounding the new series is also a new product name: “Super UHD.”
As the name would imply, LG’s premium LED TV lineup features performance-enhancing technologies that go beyond what we’ve come to expect from basic 4K Ultra HD (UHD) televisions in the short time that the new TV standard has been around. Samsung made a similar move this time last year with the introduction of its SUHD TV series (it should be noted that Samsung has always maintained that the “S” in SUHD never stood for any particular word).
The marketing strategy may be confusing — even silly — for some, but it is nevertheless a necessary tool for distinguishing between televisions that merely offer Ultra HD screen resolution (3840 x 2160, or 8.3 megapixels) and those that add in advanced backlight systems, enhanced color, High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities, and, typically, premium designs. With all of that out of the way, here’s everything we know about LG’s 2016 Super UHD TV lineup:
Three series plus one giant 8K monster
The Super UHD line will comprise three models in multiple screen sizes, plus a standalone, attention-grabbing, questionably practical 98-inch 8K Super UHD behemoth.
The UH9500 (screen sizes 55-86 inches) UH8500 (screen sizes 55-75 inches) and UH7700 (screen sizes 49-65 inches) share several traits in common. All will offer what LG is calling HDR Plus, which means all of the sets in this series can process and display High Dynamic Range content from a variety of sources, include LG’s Color Prime tech for enhanced color brightness. These sets will also apply processing that aims to improve non-HDR content for an HDR-like experience.
All sets will also include LG’s IPS panel — noted for its advanced off-axis performance — further enhanced by two new LG technologies called True Black Panel and Contrast Maximizer, aimed at improving IPS’ typically underwhelming black levels by reducing reflections and maximizing contrast by separating objects from their backgrounds, according to LG.
All-new, ultra-thin design
All three of the aforementioned Super UHD TVs will feature what LG now calls Flat Ultra Slim design. However, the UH9500 is expected to be LG’s thinnest TV yet, with nearly imperceptible bezels. LG says that the UH9500 will come in at just 6.6 mm thick (about .22 inches), and that the borders around the TV are nearly invisible, creating that “floating in air” look.
It would be fair to expect lousy sound from such a thin TV, but LG maintains the sound quality will be as premium as the TV’s appearance, thanks to a special speaker system designed in coordination with Harman/Kardon. Based on our previous experience with LG’s in-TV H/K audio systems, we’re optimistic the company isn’t just blowing smoke here.
LG’s Super UHD TVs — along with most of its TV lineup, presumably — will run off of LG’s latest WebOS 3.0 software. The new version of LG’s extremely easy-to-use interface appears to offer simpler switching among sources and channels, easier content discovery from available over-the-top services, a new zoom feature which allows users to get extremely close looks at specific portions of a picture, and a newly-designed Magic Motion remote which has been lengthened and expanded to include more buttons rather than relying on on-screen controls.
The Elephant in the Room
As you can see above, we’ve encountered LG’s 98-inch 8K prototype before. However, the Korean corp’s big announcement this year is that the massive TV is now production-ready. Details at this time are scant, but it is likely that the ultra-premium TV will only be available as a special order item, and will no doubt include premium installation services.
LG has shown a 105-inch 21:9 (Cinemawide) 5K displays in the past, but as there is very little content produced in that aspect ratio, they remain a very niche product. The 98-inch 8K display offers four times the resolution of 4K Ultra HD TVs at a massive screen size, and although 8K content is even more scarce than 4K content at this time, the display will upscale content to look even better at the huge screen size. 8K content is being experimented with, however, so an 8K future is not a hard one to envision.