LG 'Super UHD' TVs tout slick designs and better viewing angles

While LG chases the OLED dream, its high-end LCD/LED sets get a 2016 makeover.

CES hasn’t officially started yet, but LG is already revealing one half of its TV plans with the “Super UHD” premium line. These aren’t the OLED TVs that LG has been trying to commercialize for years, but rather the conventional LED/LCD tech that remains much cheaper to manufacture. The new models range from 49 to 86 inches in screen size, all with 4K and HDR support.

HDR, or high dynamic range, will be one of the big TV buzzwords at CES this year, as it allows videos to have much greater contrast. LG says it’s going a step further with “HDR Plus,” which uses image analysis to further heighten brightness and make black levels darker. LG is also including an SDR-to-HDR conversion engine to compensate for the current dearth of HDR content.

LG also claims to have achieved a wider color gamut using a thicker color filter and new LCD phosphors. The company says it has reached 90 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, the full 100 percent being what movie theaters use in their digital projection systems. Strangely, there’s no mention of quantum dots in LG’s announcement, despite the contrast-increasing tech being all the rage in high-end LED/LCD TVs.

Colors and contrast aside, LG employs a few tricks to improve viewing angles, which are a well-known weak point for all LED/LCD displays. The new TVs all have IPS panels, along with proprietary technology for reducing reflections and increasing contrast ratio. LG also tries to separate objects from their backgrounds—presumably through software—to improve contrast further, even at off angles.

Design-wise, LG suggests that its UH9500 range (with 55- to 86-inch screens) will be the best-looking of the Super UHD bunch, with 0.22-inch screen depth and “near invisible bezels.” The UH9500 range also includes a speaker system developed in conjunction with harman/kardon.

LG’s UH8500 range (55- to 75-inch screens) will be similar to its higher-end sibling, but without the fancy speakers. Meanwhile, the UH7700 will have a “slightly different design configuration,” ranging from 49- to 65-inch screen sizes.

For now, LG is staying mum about its OLED TV plans for 2016, but that will likely change during a CES press conference on Tuesday. It’ll be interesting to see if OLED can become affordable enough as LED/LCD sets start to close the gap in terms of contrast, black levels, and brightness.

On that note, LG hasn’t announced any prices or availability for the upcoming Super UHD sets, but keep in mind last year’s flagship UF9500 debuted at $3,699 and up.

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