LG has announced eight 8K TVs, ahead of CES. There are two OLED models which are 77 and 88-inches big, and six LCDs measuring between 65 and 75-inches. LG is yet to announce pricing or availability information for any of the sets, but it’s keen to emphasize that they’ll all offer “Real 8K,” in what appears to be a shot across the bow at Samsung and its recently announced certification from the 8K Association.
The announcement marks a continuation of LG’s proxy war with Samsung over what exactly constitutes an 8K TV. While both companies agree that 8K is a resolution of 7680 horizontal pixels by 4320 vertical pixels, the two companies have different ideas about how these should be measured. LG uses the Consumer Technology Association’s definition, which relies on a measurement called “Contrast Modulation” to define its pixels. Meanwhile, Samsung uses the 8K Association’s definition (an organization which LG is not a member of), which doesn’t list any such requirements.
It’s a very technical distinction, and it doesn’t seem like there’s any conclusive evidence about which is the better approach just yet. Check out John Archer’s in-depth explainer over on Forbes if you want to learn more, but don’t expect this to be the last you’ll hear about this mini format war.
Regardless of resolution disagreements, LG’s newly announced TVs should offer much better support for 8K content. The TVs now support HEVC, VP9, and AV1 content natively, which is notable when its previous 8K TV required an external decoder box to decode the YouTube-backed AV1 codec. The TVs are also equipped with HDMI inputs that can handle 60 fps content at 8K resolution.
Internally LG’s TVs are equipped with the company’s new Alpha 9 Gen 3 processor, which it says uses deep learning technology to optimize both picture and sound quality. The processor can upscale video to 8K and audio to 5.1 surround sound, and can also recognize faces and text on-screen, tweaking picture quality to improve the appearance of both.
Support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants returns from last year, as does HomeKit and AirPlay 2 compatibility. LG also says that the TVs will be upgraded with Alexa far-field voice compatibility in the future, and that the TVs can be used to monitor and control supported IoT devices from their dashboard.
Despite the amount of noise being made about the new resolution, LG and Samsung’s disagreement shows that 8K is a technology that’s still in its infancy. There’s not just a lack of native 8K content; key TV manufacturers can’t even agree on the same definition for the new resolution.