Every few years at CES, LG comes around with another of its Signature OLEDs. These are meant to encompass the company’s latest display technology and the very best that the TV maker is capable of, and they often come with sky-high prices to match. Back in 2017 we got the ultra-thin “wallpaper” OLED TV. A year later came the rollable OLED TV concept that eventually evolved into a real $100,000 product. LG’s Signature lineup is expensive, to say the least.
We’ve reached that time again at CES 2023. But with the all-new Signature OLED M, LG isn’t so much concentrating on the panel itself. It’s a beautiful, bright, enormous 97-inch 4K screen, sure, but what else would you expect from LG? Instead, the gimmick is what’s outside the TV. The OLED M receives all of its video and audio wirelessly from a “Zero Connect” box that can be positioned up to 30 feet away. All of the processing happens in the box; the TV is just a panel and speakers. LG touts the OLED M as the “world’s first wireless OLED TV.” It obviously goes a few steps beyond your typical wireless HDMI transmitter.
There are three HDMI ports on the box — all of them capable of 4K at 120Hz — along with USB and antenna inputs. You can plug in the usual array of gadgets (a cable box, game console, 4K Blu-ray player, etc.) and that source content gets beamed over to the giant OLED display. There’s a little pill-shaped antenna on top that you’re supposed to spin around so that it’s pointing in the direction of the TV for the best wireless performance.
Wondering how all of this works? It’s thanks to proprietary LG technologies and algorithms, of course. “To ensure the seamless transfer of data from the box to the TV, the company developed an algorithm that instantly identifies the optimal transmission path,” LG wrote in its press release. “The algorithm also helps to minimize transmission errors or disruptions as it can recognize changes in the immediate environment — such as people or pets moving around the room — and switch paths accordingly.”
I didn’t notice any hitches or dropouts in LG’s demonstration of the new Signature OLED at its hotel suite in Las Vegas. And the video quality genuinely looked fantastic. The TV supports all the usual Dolby Vision, Atmos, and other home theater features you’d expect, and it’s G-Sync certified on the gaming side of things.
But is gaming really possible on this thing? What’s the latency like? Surely there’s some kind of tradeoff in going wireless. LG representatives told me the company hasn’t yet measured gaming latency on the OLED M, which I find a bit odd. But they seemed confident that the experience will be enjoyable. Still, we’ll have to wait for real-world latency measurements once the OLED M makes its way to buyers in the second half of this year.
Some people might be curious as to why something like this even exists. It doesn’t have the same wow factor as a TV that rolls down and disappears into a stand. Even so, LG sees the OLED M as giving customers a new level of freedom in choosing where they put the TV — and it greatly simplifies cable management since all you’re running to the TV is power. Maybe you want to put your huge OLED TV above a fireplace where it’s not easy to route multiple cables for different components. In other regions, people have to contend with concrete walls. It’s scenarios like this where LG believes the OLED M can offer a unique answer that won’t require hiding cables or leaving them in plain sight. Put the TV where you want it, and the box can go someplace else in the room. Seems like a very pricey solution.
LG’s Signature OLEDs are historically wildly expensive, but the company isn’t yet disclosing pricing on this one. When I asked reps at CES to ballpark it compared to the rollable, they confirmed it won’t be quite that exorbitant. I’d still expect it to cost well above even the company’s largest 8K OLED set. Most people will (and should) stick with LG’s OLEDs meant for us ordinary folk. At least they’re excellent.