LG has expanded its OLED lineup, added mini-LED sets and more in 2021, delivering one of the most robust television selections available.
Beyond just releasing better hardware, the company is also revamping its smart TV software with a new look and cool new features.
LG is updating WebOS with a home screen to bring it more in line with other smart TV operating systems. I’m not sure if the new design is the right move for LG since the subtleness of WebOS was something that I liked about it. That said, having a more traditional home screen might make LG’s TVs easier to use for more people.
LG says that this new version of WebOS will also be better at recommending content to people. That said, it will be interesting to see what content partners the company can leverage for this. Hopefully, it plays nice with Canadian content as well. I bring this up because Google TV doesn’t recommend content from Crave.
High-end TVs with this OS are also getting some gaming upgrades, including a new ‘Game optimizer’ mode that groups all the gaming-related settings in one place to make it easy to adjust your TV. It will also automatically change your settings depending on what type of game you’re playing. The press release mentions tweaking settings for first-person shooters, strategy and role-playing games, as examples of types of games the TV can adapt to, but there’s no mention of what the feature actually includes.
LG α9 GEn 4 AI processor
Many of the TVs are also going to get the latest LG α9 GEn 4 AI processor, which the company says produces better upscaling, and a weird feature called ‘AI picture Pro’ that analyzes bodies on a screen and uses AI to help them stand out more from the background of the image. This sounds even more egregious than Motion Smoothing and something that most people will likely end up disabling.
LG says that the TV can even sense the genre of the content you’re watching, and it can adjust things like picture quality, light and more, automatically. This seems like another annoying feature, but hopefully, it’s more subtle than it sounds.
On the plus side of things, LG plans to use AI to remix some stereo content into 5.1.2 virtual surround sound, which sounds like an interesting upgrade to make TV speakers sound better. Building on this sound tech LG is also promising better volume levelling across apps.
Mini-LED TVs are new for LG, but other industry competitors like Samsung and TCL have been using the tech for years. This technology provides a more precise and adaptable backlight solution for LCD panels resulting in much better colour and contrast.
Some Mini-LED TVs are even going to support variable refresh rates for gamers. However, the company doesn’t specifically mention 120Hz in its press release.
LG’s OLED Line in 2021 is getting larger with new sizes and brighter pannels. These TVs will range from 48-inches to 83-inches but not every OLED TV model will have every size available.
Hopefully, this year LG will start to release some of its OLED based TVs with more consumer-friendly pricing, but since the new QNED (mini-LED) sets are coming out too, I’d expect the company to keep its OLED models at the top end with the mini-LED sets making up the mid-range.
One interesting improvement that LG has made to its OLED panels this year is a new way to reduce blue light. The company says that its OLED set delivers 50 percent less blue light than comparable LCD TVs.