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If you’ve been spending as much time staying at home as I have this year, you’ll know how important — and necessary — a good television has become. With little to do during quarantine, binge-watching a favorite show or movie on one of the many streaming services out there became a nightly ritual, which then turned into a comforting routine. But saddled with a cheaper TV, and well, sometimes holding out for a clear and lag-free experience can be as risky as an under-developed chess move on The Queen’s Gambit.
That’s why we’re resolving to upgrade our television viewing experience in 2021, starting with a look at LG’s 8K OLED TV.
There are a lot of words in the official name of LG’s 8K TV set — officially titled the “LG SIGNATURE ZX 77-Inch Class 8K Smart OLED TV w/AI ThinQ®.” Part of the wave of 8K TVs unveiled at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, the only thing you really need to know is that this is a beast of a television set, that will transform the way you see — and experience — your content.
While 4K technology is basically the new industry standard, when it comes to streaming shows and movies on your TV, a number of studios are starting to create 8K content as well. As the name suggests, 8K offers four times the detail as traditional 4K, and 16 times higher resolution (7,680 x 4,320 pixels) than HD. In short, the best 8K TV sets promise more vivid, more true-to-life images, across larger displays and a wider color palette.
We tested the 77-inch LG SIGNATURE 8K OLED TV, which incorporates LG’s renowned OLED technology with the ability to display 8K resolution across a sleek, end-to-end display. The TV (which technically measures 76.7 inches diagonally) uses more than 33 million self-lit pixels that offer more than a billion color combinations, with perfect blacks and incredible contrasts. What that means: all 76.7 inches of the screen are crisp, detailed and color-correct, with no blurring or dimming. While cheaper TVs focus the action on the center of the screen (and often get fuzzy around the edges), LG’s OLED TV creates sharp, intense images even at wide angles.
It can be hard to find 8K content out there, so LG provided me with a link to a special video they produced in conjunction with the American Ballet Theatre in New York, which captures The Nutcracker in stunning 8K quality. It’s not a stretch to say the familiar ballet really popped on the 8K set, with even the fine details (I.e. the texture on the dancers’ costumes) coming through the display. What was most impressive though, is how realistic and immersive the performance looked on screen, as if — and this is no hyperbole — you were right there, watching every Arabesque and plier from the front row. LG says that’s thanks to the television’s α9 Gen 3 AI Processor, which is specifically engineered to power 8K performance. The advanced processor also eliminates any stuttering or lag, creating a virtually seamless viewing experience from step to step, jump to jump. The motion was impeccably clear and precise, and it was easy to make out everything on screen, even in the faster sequences and spins.
After watching The Nutcracker in 8K, I found myself watching 8K videos on YouTube (one of the few streaming sites with true 8K content). LG SIGNATURE ZX supports HEVC, AV1, and VP9 codec, so it’s easy to watch 8K YouTube videos or say, 8K videos from a USB stick. Even content that isn’t in 8K is automatically upscaled to as-close-to-8K resolution as possible. For me, that meant a night of watching nature docs on YouTube and then switching to favorite action sequences and chase scenes from films like Joker and Christopher Nolan’s latest, Tenet.
The 8K upscaling coupled with LG’s OLED technology meant smooth action and well-defined images created from a wide color palette. While watching a nature documentary on the Pacific Islands, every ripple of the ocean was displayed in a different shade of blue, rendering it incredibly life-like. That opening heist scene from Joker? LG’s OLED Motion technology made it whizz and whirl on screen without any stutter, while the 8K resolution added an intensity and clarity to the scene that I had never experienced on previous viewings of the film. The same bold colors and striking imagery popped out from the screen while watching an NFL game, where the action was smooth and stutter-free. One note: I did try re-watching the infamous “Long Night” episode of Game of Thrones and it was still dark, so I’m chalking that up to the GoT cinematographer and not my TV.
The reality is, there still isn’t a lot of 8K content out there, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering this TV. Even on “regular” content, LG’s intuitive 8K technology still elevates everything you see. In fact, LG says its SIGNATURE OLED 8K TVs exceed the industry’s official 8K Ultra HD definition, as set by the Consumer Technology Association. From the moment you power up the television, you’ll notice an immediate difference in the quality of what you’re watching.
It’s all packed into a super slim design with a minimalist bezel that’s thinner than most non-8K sets in the market today. The 77-inch set was a conversation starter for sure for anyone who stepped inside my family room, and it’s an impressive display piece for both movie buffs and design aficionados alike.
If you’re looking for a seriously impressive TV set for 2021 and want to outfit your home entertainment system with the latest technology on the market, this is the TV to pick up. With a $19,999 price tag (easy financing is available via Best Buy), it’s not cheap, but considering all the time we’re spending at home watching TV these days, consider it an investment to improving not just your streaming quality, but your quality of life during quarantine as well.