If you’ve been keeping an eye on the ever-changing technology world, you’ll probably remember a time not so long ago when Japanese TV brands ruled the market, a dominance that lasted decades and gave us some stunning innovations from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, and many more. In South Korea, meanwhile, the seeds of something big had been sewn. A company that aimed to take on the big Japanese brands at their own game was slowly expanding and getting global attention — first under the name Goldstar and, in recent years, LG.
The catalyst for the rapid and massive growth of LG – and fellow Korean brands like Samsung – has been the gigantic global market for flat panel displays of various kinds. With smartphones, tablets and laptops all hungry for higher resolution and higher quality displays, it was the South Korean manufacturers who stepped up to meet the demand. LG set up its own sub-company especially to research, develop and manufacture display panels of all kinds; named LG Display, their work is today found in TVs, phones and tablets from dozens of brands.
What Makes LG Televisions Different?
That long, expensive research process at LG Display led the company to become one of the world’s key makers of LCD panels, and their expertise with that tech can still be seen on LG’s own range of LCD TVs. But the innovation that really put LG on the map was their mastering of one of the most difficult challenges of all – mass producing TV-sized OLED display panels.
As you’ve probably heard if you’ve been TV shopping, OLED screens are pretty much the state of the art when it comes to the best possible picture from 4K sources ranging from Netflix to UHD Blu-ray discs. They work differently to the usual LCD display – instead of having a light shining through the screen to make the picture visible, OLED screens are made of over 8 million tiny LEDs that can all make their own light. That means OLED screens use less power, but more importantly, can display perfect blacks – making them ideal for movie fans.
LG’s OLED TVs are the benchmark by which all others are measured, and the sheer quality of the picture is matched by one of the best user interfaces available on any TV.
But don’t think that means LG’s LCD-based televisions are not worth checking out. This is a company that knows how to make superb displays of all kinds, and their LCD TVs, while substantially cheaper than the OLED models, deliver a fantastic picture alongside the same user interface that their more expensive siblings use.
Last audited 09 November 2020
The LG User Interface – webOS
Smart TVs all need an interface to let you access their many features and apps, and a confusing or unfriendly interface can make a TV a chore to use. LG’s answer comes in the form of webOS – a system that was originally developed for tablet computers, brilliantly adapted by LG and honed into an easy to use, super-slick interface. Users can even access the various on-screen buttons and menus with a wireless “mouse pointer” that’s built into the supplied “Magic Remote”.
Apps for all the major streaming services are available, alongside a plethora of more obscure ones. If you’ve got a fast broadband connection you’ll love the many options available here, with the sleek webOS on-screen menu placing a whole world of streaming at your command (and if you’re looking for the best broadband plans to power you’re new TV, we’ve got you covered). LG’s televisions are well supported by app developers, so you can feel confident that you won’t be left out by any streaming service you want to use – there’s apps here for everything from the must-have Netflix to Amazon Prime Video to Bigpond Movies – even arthouse streaming service Mubi. And unlike many smart TV user interfaces, webOS is never slow and cumbersome. It never gets in the way of what you want to do, whether that’s loading up your favourite streaming app or browsing a USB flash drive full of videos and photos to play back.
Of course, if you’d prefer to use one of the many dedicated streaming devices like the Apple TV 4K or the Telstra TV 2, LG’s ready for it – their 4K-capable TVs feature more true 4K-ready inputs than other brands.
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How Much Would You Expect to Pay?
As with all the major manufacturers, LG has a range of TVs that suit just about every price point – as long as the starting point for your shopping is a requirement that the TV be a quality one. Among the 15 different current models on general sale in Australia (you’ll also find excellent prices on last year’s models) the starting price point is around $1200 for a 43” UJ65 LCD model.
It’s the OLED screens that many go straight for when they’re checking out LG’s offerings, though, with the current 8-series models considered to be among the finest OLED TVs ever produced. And while the recommended retail prices can seem fairly steep, you’ll frequently find even the current models discounted generously at the usual big-name retailers. The great thing about LG’s OLED TVs is that they all use pretty much the exact same OLED screen, whether it’s the entry-level B8 ($2999 RRP, but seen for less than $2000) or the top-end E8 ($4199 RRP).
If something even more extravagant takes your fancy, you’re in luck, too. LG Australia doesn’t list it on their web site, but the W8 “Wallpaper” OLED TV, if you can find one (and at about $15,000 afford one) is a remarkable achievement – a screen as thin as a piece of canvas that mounts on your wall. LG’s only just getting started with flexible OLED screens, too – a TV that rolls away when not in use is on the way!
Summary: LG Is the Brand That Made OLED Famous
They weren’t the first company to release an OLED TV, but LG did what no other manufacturer had managed – they made OLED affordable and reliable, so it’s not surprising that LG’s screens are also in every other brand of OLED television. But LG knows there’s no point having a superb screen if the TV is a pain to use – and their unique, silky-smooth user interface is worth the price of admission even if you opt for one of the LCD models instead. LG has most definitely become a major innovator in this new era of smarter, better-looking TVs.