It was always going to be hard to follow up on a TV that can roll up when it’s not being used, and so LG has come to CES 2020 with a new lineup that prioritizes elegance and thinness over bending screens. The company is launching new “Gallery Series” OLEDs that hang flush against the wall (thanks to a new custom mount) and can double as both a TV and “a piece of art.”
The Gallery Series will be released in 55, 65, and 77-inch sizes, and LG says the 65-inch model measures just 20mm (0.787 inches) thin. If it sounds a bit similar to LG’s wallpaper OLED, it is — but this time there’s no separate box housing all the key electronics and ports. It’s all built right into the TV itself.
This TV-as-art approach is similar in concept to Samsung’s The Frame, which can be set to display artwork when idle; Samsung even has an artwork store that grants customers access to thousands of works of art for $4.99 monthly, and owners can replace the TV’s bezels with different finishes and textures to better match a room. Here at CES, Samsung just announced new sizes for The Frame. But last year’s 65-inch model is nearly 2 inches thick, so you can see the advantage of OLED’s efficiency there.
For those not interested in LG’s luxury series, there are also excellent updates to the regular OLED lineup, and LG is introducing an entirely new size for 2020: a 48-inch 4K OLED TV. At that size, you’re getting pixel density “comparable to that of a 96-inch 8K TV,” the company says. Consumers are buying giant TVs in droves, but it’s nice to see LG recognizing that some people need something a bit smaller — and now they don’t have to miss out on OLED as a result. LG views the 48-incher as a perfect bridge between gaming monitor and living room TV, and it retains LG’s low input lag (around 13ms) and support for variable refresh rate via either Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync.
For picture quality refinements in 2020, LG is introducing a new Filmmaker Mode that “delivers images the way they intended.”
By disabling certain post-processing effects (such as motion smoothing, noise reduction and sharpening) while perfectly preserving correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates, LG OLED TVs with the Filmmaker Mode faithfully replicate the original vision of the director.
LG’s new Alpha 9 Gen 3 processor can differentiate between different types of objects on screen and apply different processing to each area to optimal sharpness and noise reduction. It’s also capable of recognizing the “genre” of content on screen and can automatically switch to the appropriate TV mode for sports, movies, standard (news, etc), and animation.
But in a move that might unsettle some, LG is building active-listening microphones directly into some of its most premium 2020 TVs. The company already supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s AirPlay 2, but now it’s introducing its own voice command system with a custom trigger phrase: “Hi, LG.” On older sets, you had to hit a button on LG’s remote control for voice interactions (or use a smart speaker), but now the microphone is part of the TV itself. LG says the microphone can be completely disabled if that’s what a customer prefers. LG’s own voice system can search for content and handle functions like turning the TV on or off.
Microphones will not be built into the mainstream CX and BX OLED series TVs. So if that’s what you’re eyeing, you’ve got a bit of reassurance there. Instead, the hands-free voice control will be available on the rollable TV (when it eventually ships in the US), LG’s 8K OLED, the Wallpaper TV, and the new Gallery Series. Regardless, I still see this as an alarming experiment, and I wish LG had just left all things voice to the remote.
Other software tricks for LG this year include the option to use a Bluetooth speaker as a front speaker, a single rear speaker, or even stereo left / right rear speakers. Yes, it’s possible to put together a quick and dirty surround sound system this way. LG is adding sports alerts for game scores, and — in the US only — you can pause some content and see what actors are on screen and even what they’re wearing and where you can purchase the same outfit or accessory. E-commerce is coming to your beautiful OLED screen.
Here’s the full lineup of LG’s 2020 OLEDs. As always, the company is releasing a lineup of NanoCell LCD TVs as well.
RX Signature series (rollable TV)
ZX Signature series (8K OLED)
WX Signature series (“wallpaper” OLED TV)
GX Signature series (new Gallery series)