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LG TV 2021 technology: what’s new?
So, what’s new with LG TVs in 2021? We’re getting a new round of processors, as ever, with the a9 getting a Gen 4 AI iteration, as well as a step-down a7 Gen 3 model for the new A Series. (The A Series will cleave close to the B Series of previous years, for those wondering.)
It’s that ‘AI’ part of the new a9 chip that piques our interest, though. LG claims its new chip will use deep learning to better analyze discrete objects onscreen, meaning people, backgrounds, and sections of text are all properly distinguished from each other.
The biggest change this year is probably the introduction of Mini LED, an LCD TV technology also used by TCL. LG’s Mini LED screens aren’t replacing its OLED TVs, but it could give new life to the company’s LCD displays, which tend to feel a bit underwhelming next to their impressive OLED siblings.
What is Mini LED? This panel technology makes use of a huge number of tiny LEDs (30 thousand in LG’s first Mini LED set), and is what LG calls “the ultimate evolution of LCD TVs”. LG’s Mini LED sets will be branded as ‘QNED’ (a garbled contraction of Quantum NanoCell Mini LED), which does sound eerily similar to Samsung’s QLED branding. The underlying technology is very different, though, given the Mini LED backlight, which should vastly outperform the brightness and contrast of traditional LED TVs.
OLED, QNED, or NanoCell?
LG has quite a few TV technologies in play this year. Here’s what you need to know.
OLED uses organic light-emitting diodes in each pixel to create virtually unlimited contrast (a pure white pixel next to a totally black pixel next to it, for example) but is limited by its peak brightness.
Nano Cell uses an LED-LCD screen with quantum dot-like technology to enhance color saturation, reach higher peak brightness and offer wider viewing angles than traditional LED-LCD.
QNED is a new TV technology for 2021, with the acronym standing for quantum nano-emitting diodes (yup). It makes use of a Mini LED backlight with 30,000 tiny LEDs, almost 2,500 dimming zones for exceptional brightness control and contrast (for an LCD screen, at least).
LG says its new backlight “comprises up to almost 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce incredible peak brightness and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 when paired with up to 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming zones.”
We have to discuss the new TV sizes, of course. LG Display, which supplies LG Electronics with OLED panels, is introducing a new 83-inch OLED panel size, as well as a 42-inch size for those after something smaller. It’s likely we’ll see both sizes for flagship sets like the C Series and G Series, if not the A Series too – and we know that the 48-inch OLED panel introduced last year is going to be more widespread across the LG range.
LG’s webOS smart TV platform has changed sizeably, with the usual horizontal icon bar now becoming a screen-filling interface, packed with recommended titles based on your viewing history.
The LG Magic Remote has undergone something of an overhaul, too, with a new ergonomic shape as well as the introduction of NFC Magic Tap technology to enable fast screen mirroring from a smartphone. It will feature dedicated buttons for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and LG Channels – as well as ThinQ, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa smart assistants.
Gaming is a big concern this year – understandably, given the recent launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles. And LG’s 2021 TVs are set to feature VRR (variable refresh rate), Nvidia G-Sync for reduced screen tearing from connected PCs, and four HDMI 2.1 ports (for the OLEDs, at least). There’s also
We’ll even see support for Google Stadia and the Nvidia GeForce Now streaming services land in the second half of 2021, in a major boost to both platforms.
LG’s AI Sound Pro feature will also upmix audio to 5.1.2 channel sound, for a surround sound-esque effect, though we don’t expect it will ever quite feel like the real thing.
For UK viewers, Freeview Play support is still absent after 2020’s lapse on LG TVs, but we’re told LG is working on amending this.
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