If you’re in the market for a new TV, you may be wondering if it’s worth upgrading from an LED TV to an OLED TV, especially LG’s newest OLED models. OLED TVs boast exceptional picture quality and viewing angles, but also come at a premium price point. This comprehensive buyer’s guide examines the key differences between LED and OLED TVs and provides an in-depth review of LG’s 2023 OLED TV lineup to help you decide if the upgrade is worthwhile.
Outline of Contents
- Introduction to OLED TV Technology
- LED vs. OLED TV Comparison
- Picture Quality
- Viewing Angles
- Motion Handling
- HDR Support
- Smart TV Features
- Overview of LG’s 2023 OLED TV Lineup
- C2 Series
- G2 Series
- Gallery Series
- Z2 Series
- In-Depth Review of the LG C2 OLED TV
- Sizes Available
- Picture Quality
- Gaming Performance
- Smart TV Features
- Sound Quality
- Pros and Cons
- Price and Value
- FAQs About Upgrading to an OLED TV
- The Verdict: Is Upgrading to an LG OLED Worth It?
Introduction to OLED TV Technology
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs represent the latest innovation in TV display technology. Unlike LED TVs which use an LED backlight to illuminate an LCD panel, OLED TVs have self-illuminating pixels that can turn on and off individually. This results in exceptional picture quality, including true blacks, vibrant colors, infinite contrast, and wide viewing angles. LG is currently the dominant manufacturer of OLED TVs.
So what does OLED technology mean for your home entertainment experience? Here’s a detailed look at how OLED TVs compare to LED TVs and whether you should consider upgrading to one of LG’s latest OLED models.
LED vs. OLED TV Comparison
With self-illuminating pixels, OLED TVs can produce true blacks and remarkably accurate color. Dark scenes look stunning with the infinite contrast of OLED. Details remain crisp and clear even in shadowy areas of an image. OLED also handles motion exceptionally well with fast response times and minimal blur.
LED TVs must rely on LED backlighting across the entire screen, resulting in more uniform brightness. Parts of the image that should look black may appear grayish. You may notice clouding, blooming or flashlighting around bright objects. LED TVs have improved in picture quality but still can’t match the precision of OLED.
OLED screens maintain color accuracy and brightness even at drastic viewing angles up to 84 degrees. You’ll get a clear picture regardless of where you’re sitting.
LED TVs appear washed out when viewed from the side, with colors shifting at around 20 degrees off center. You’ll need to sit directly in front of an LED TV for the optimal experience.
Winner: Depends on model
Early OLED TVs couldn’t match the peak brightness of the best LED TVs, but recent models have closed the gap. LG’s newest OLED TVs use heat dissipation and processing enhancements to boost peak brightness up to around 800-900 nits, not far below the 1000+ nit capability of premium LED sets.
In a dimly lit room, an OLED TV’s self-illuminating pixels and pixel-level dimming mean it can still produce an exceptionally vibrant, high contrast picture at more modest brightness levels. But in a bright room, a high-end LED TV may have the edge.
OLED’s quick response time and pixel-level illumination result in the smoothest motion clarity. Fast action sports and movies look crisper with less motion blur.
LED TVs have improved motion handling with features like black frame insertion. But fast moving scenes may exhibit more noticeable blurring, judder or artifacting.
With pixel-level precision, OLED TVs can optimize HDR content on a per pixel basis, unlocking the full visual impact. Specular highlights pop while details remain clear in shadows.
LED TVs with full array local dimming boost their HDR effect by dimming specific zones rather than the entire screen. But they can’t match the specificity of OLED, sometimes resulting in blooming around bright objects.
Smart TV Features
Both LED and OLED TVs come equipped with robust smart TV capabilities. Top models include built-in voice assistants, app stores with streaming services, and customization options. While LG’s webOS offers a user-friendly interface, most major brands provide a comparable smart TV experience.
With self-illuminating pixels, OLED TVs don’t need bulky backlighting components. This allows for impressively slim, sleek designs – LG’s wallpaper-thin Gallery Series being the prime example. Even standard OLED models have razor thin bezels and profiles.
LED TVs require space for LEDs and light guides, resulting in thicker overall builds. Bezels have shrunk over time but still remain chunkier than those of OLED TVs.
There’s no contest here. Due to the complex manufacturing processes, OLED TVs demand a significant price premium, often costing 2-3x as much as LED TVs of the same size. Mid-range LED models can frequently be found for under $1,000 where comparably sized OLED sets start around $2,000.
That said, OLED pricing has dropped significantly, and LG’s C2 offers a relatively affordable entry point to OLED, albeit still at a higher cost than most LED TVs.
OLED TVs have faced concerns about image retention and the lifespan of the organic materials. But LG claims their latest models can last over 100,000 hours before reaching half brightness. Real-world testing suggests OLED TVs have satisfactory longevity under normal use.
LED TVs may outlast OLED models under extreme usage. But average users are unlikely to notice any functional lifespan difference under typical living room conditions.
Overview of LG’s 2023 OLED TV Lineup
As the OLED market leader, LG continues to expand and improve their OLED offerings:
LG C2 Series
The most affordable LG OLED series with sizes ranging from 42″ to 83″. Features LG’s a9 Gen5 AI Processor, Brightness Booster, and gaming optimizations. Excellent performance at a lower price.
LG G2 Series
Flagship 4K LG OLED powered by the new Evo Brightness Booster panel and a9 Gen5 AI Processor. Available in 55″, 65″, 77″, 83″ sizes. Exceptional picture with higher peak brightness. LG’s best 4K OLED for 2023.
LG Gallery Series
Ultra-thin wallpaper style 4K OLED designed to hang flush on the wall. Impressive Dolby Atmos sound system. Extremly premium. Available in 65″, 77″, 83″ sizes.
LG Z2 Series
LG’s introductory 8K OLED series with 88″ and 77″ sizes. Integrated 8K upscaling and AI Picture Pro powered by a9 Gen5 AI Processor. Exceptional future-proof 8K option albeit at a very high cost.
But for most buyers, the C2 OLED is the ideal blend of performance and value. Let’s take an in-depth look at this model:
In-Depth Review of the LG C2 OLED TV
The C2 series builds on LG’s successful C1 line by retaining the stellar OLED picture while adding some notable hardware and software upgrades. It continues to hit the sweet spot balancing premium performance and a relatively affordable OLED price point.
For 2023, the C2 OLED is available in 42″, 48″, 55″, 65″, 77″, and 83″ sizes, providing a range of options for any room size. The new 42″ model opens up OLED technology to smaller living spaces like apartments and bedrooms.
Like all LG OLED TVs, the C2 delivers perfect inky blacks and vibrant, accurate color thanks to pixel-level lighting control. Scenes with mixed bright and dark elements appear stunning with the infinite contrast. Details remain pristine across the entire luminance range.
The a9 Gen5 AI Processor leverages deep learning algorithms to enhance almost every aspect of picture quality. Content detection automatically matches the optimal settings. Upscaling boosts lower resolution content to near 4K clarity.
This year’s Brightness Booster increases peak brightness up to 20% higher in Vivid mode enabling better HDR pop in brighter rooms. The C2 can’t quite match the new G2 in luminance but provides ample brightness for most situations. Dark room viewing reveals OLED’s black level prowess.
Response times remain lightning fast with no perceivable blurring or ghosting in fast action scenes. Sports, video games, and action films appear remarkably smooth and crisp.
LG OLED TVs have established themselves as top choices for gamers. The C2 continues this reputation with a spec sheet tuned for gaming excellence:
- 4K 120Hz native refresh rate
- Sub-1ms response time
- Nvidia G-Sync, AMD FreeSync support
- 4x HDMI 2.1 inputs
Console and PC games shine in 4K 120fps with imperceptible lag and buttery smooth motion clarity. You’ll gain a real competitive edge, especially in multiplayer shooters and racing games. HDR visuals also stun with vibrant colors and specular highlights.
Smart TV Features
LG’s user-friendly webOS platform powers the C2’s smart capabilities with quick access to all your favorite streaming apps. Key features include:
- Intuitive menu interface
- Built-in Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and LG ThinQ AI voice control
- Native streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
- App store for downloading additional services
- Chromecasting capabilities
- Next-gen TV tuner with HDR support
- Customizable home screens
- “Magic Remote” with universal control and voice commands
webOS makes navigating between live TV and streaming services a breeze. Voice commands via the remote allow easy searches, launching apps, and more hands-free control.
With cinematic visuals, sound can’t be forgotten. The C2’s integrated audio makes noticeable improvements from last year:
- 2.2 channel speaker system with 40 watts output
- AI Sound Pro processing
- Dolby Atmos 3D audio support
- Dedicated bass drivers in larger sizes
Voices come through clearly and dialogue remains easily understandable. Effects exhibit decent stereo imaging with a limited but noticeable soundstage. You’ll still want to pair the C2 with a soundbar or surround system for truly immersive sound but the built-in speakers hold their own much better than most.
Even from standard viewing distances, the C2 practically disappears into your living space with its perfectly borderless display. The sleek, ultra-thin panel achieves a floating effect on the wall. LG offers a customizable stand or recessed wall mount.
Rear inputs remain neatly hidden and out of sight in the C2’s flush back panel design. Cable management is further simplified with the included external connector box.
Pros and Cons
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- Stunning OLED picture quality
- Excellent black levels and contrast
- Vibrant, accurate colors
- Fast response time eliminates motion blur
- Extremely wide viewing angles
- Low input lag and HDMI 2.1 optimal for gaming
- Integrated Google Assistant and Alexa
- webOS smart platform with all major apps
- Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos support
- Slim, nearly bezel-less aesthetic
- More expensive than most LED TVs
- Can’t reach LED’s highest peak brightness
- Potential for minor image retention with static content
- Mediocre built-in audio
- Lacks BFI (black frame insertion)
Price and Value
LG’s C2 OLED is priced very competitively for the technology providing a realistic OLED option for more buyers. The 42″ model starts at an MSRP of $1399 making it among the lowest cost OLEDs available. Stepping up to the most popular 65″ size remains attainable at $2499. Larger models scale up accordingly.
Considering the tremendous picture quality with perfect blacks and vibrant color unlocked by self-illuminating pixels, the LG C2 offers outstanding value among today’s TV landscape. The addition of gaming-centric features also maximizes the utility of the investment for multi-use home entertainment.
FAQs About Upgrading to an OLED TV
Is an OLED TV worth the extra cost over an LED TV?
The stunning visual performance enabled by OLED technology justifies the price premium for buyers wanting the best overall picture quality. Perfect blacks, vibrant color, and fast response times result in a remarkably lifelike image, especially for movies and cinematic content. The C2’s competitive pricing helps offset the difference compared to LED.
How big of a TV should I get for OLED?
OLED technology allows even smaller screen sizes like 48” to deliver impressive image quality but we recommend 65” or larger to fully appreciate the expansive contrast and depth. The 65” C2 is likely the optimal combination of screen real estate and value.
Should I worry about OLED burn-in with video games and cable news?
Modern OLED TVs use screen shifting and pixel refresher algorithms to minimize the risk of permanent burn-in under normal viewing conditions. Temporary image retention may occur but is rarely noticeable. Just don’t leave static content onscreen for excessive periods.
Is the LG C2 OLED a good TV for bright rooms?
OLED may slightly underperform LED in extremely bright rooms. But the C2’s boosted peak brightness can compete much better than earlier OLED models. Activating the special Brightness Booster mode will maximize visibility if needed. Close window shades in challenging daylight conditions.
How long will an OLED TV last before quality declines?
LG claims their OLED TVs will continue providing quality performance for over 100,000 hours of usage, equivalent to over 10 years for typical viewers. OLEDs aren’t as susceptible to degradation as older plasma TVs.
The Verdict: Is Upgrading to an LG OLED Worth It?
If you’re seeking the absolute best picture quality with deep cinematic contrast, vibrant and accurate color, and silky smooth motion clarity, LG’s newest OLED TVs make a compelling case for upgrading from LED. The self-illuminating pixels enable performance that LED/LCD technology simply can’t match.
Between LG’s different OLED series, the C2 consistently provides the most bang for your buck. You’ll enjoy nearly all the same benefits of LG’s pricier G2 and Gallery models without pushing too far past the budget of a premium LED TV.
The C2 also builds on the OLED advantages by incorporating next-gen gaming features and the latest webOS smart platform. It’s not just an elite screen technology anymore but a fully capable do-anything TV suitable as your primary entertainment hub.
If you can afford the premium, make the investment in the supreme quality of the LG C2 OLED TV and you’ll be enjoying the best possible home theater experience for years to come. Once you go OLED, you’ll never want to go back to LED.