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LG QNED mini-LED TVs, Dolby Atmos soundbars see big improvements at CES 2022

LG’s 2022 OLED TVs may get the lion’s share of CES 2022 buzz, but having seen the company’s new 2022 QNED mini-LED TVs in action, I believe they may be one of several sleeper hits of the show.

LG’s already-competitive Dolby Atmos soundbars are also enjoying some improvements in 2022, with a new up-firing center speaker that could be mistaken for an Atmos channel, but which is actually aimed toward increased center channel clarity and presence. Let’s dive a bit deeper.

LG QNED Mini-LED TVs in 2022.
Alex Thornburg/Digital Trends

LG QNED mini-LED TVs

When LG’s QNED mini-LED TV line was introduced in 2021, I felt the new backlight tech was a significant step forward for LG’s LCD-based TV efforts. But I still saw room for improvement. Based on what I witnessed at LG’s U.S. headquarters ahead of CES 2022, LG has successfully refined both its Quantum Dot NanoCell technology and its mini-LED backlight processing to offer some outstanding picture quality improvement in areas like brightness, black level, and color.

By using thousands of tiny mini-LEDs instead of hundreds or even merely tens of standard-sized LEDs, TV makers can exert more control over an LCD TV’s backlight to offer brightness where it matters, but not at the expense of black levels, where halo effect and blooming can otherwise negatively impact contrast performance. All those mini-LEDs must be controlled at a granular level, with plenty of dimming zones to pull of high-contrast images correctly. And while LG’s 2021 TVs transformed the company’s patented IPS LCD panels, I still felt the backlight system could have been more refined and a bit speedier.

LG’s 2022 QNED mini-LED TVs appear to sport both those improvements, offering brilliant colors and impressive contrast with a minimum of backlight distractions. LG has also added more tiers to its QNED mini-LED lineup, offering varying levels of dimming zones for high-performance options across a wider spectrum of pricing. I attribute this to LG’s Alpha 9 Gen 5 processor, which appears to offer multiple processing improvements thanks to new deep learning algorithms.

A step forward for webOS

LG has also improved its webOS smart TV platform for 2022, making its TVs a true hub for the smart home of the future. In addition to supporting Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, LG TVs armed with webOS 22 now offer individual profiles so that each member of a household can get customized app screen layouts, content recommendations, and real-time sports team alerts. The new version of webOS also allows users to wirelessly bounce the signal coming from a cable or satellite box connected to one TV to any other 2022 LG TV in the home. This makes getting a TV set up outside or in some other remote location a much easier proposition.

WebOS also supports LG’s new “Always Ready” feature, which allows the screen to display artwork while at rest or, alternatively, turns the screen into a clock or music control hub.

LG webOS in 2022.
Alex Thornburg/Digital Trends

A better remote

LG’s Magic Motion Remote has also seen some improvements, thanks to a reduction in redundant buttons and a smaller overall profile. The reduced button clutter really goes a long way, from my seat.

LG Dolby Atmos Soundbars

LG has also implemented some notable improvements to is Dolby Atmos soundbars. In addition to a new dipole-style wireless surround speaker available in the company’s flagship soundbar, LG is adding an up-firing speaker to the center channel to increase clarity, presence, and intelligibility for moments when voices can frequently get buried by otherwise explosive soundtracks for action sequences. In a demonstration using a scene from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I noted significant improvement to center channel clarity and fidelity. It also sounded as if the voices were coming from the screen rather than the soundbar itself, which is an impressive acoustic trick soundbars typically struggle to pull off.

All in all, LG is having a strong showing at CES 2022, and I look forward to testing its products in-house over the course of this new year.

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