LG’s first 2018 C8 and E8 TVs are here to prove OLED is finally mainstream

LG’s has launched its first new OLED TVs in 2018. The C8 and E8 are both 4K HDR TVs with absolute black levels and LG’s new Alpha 9 (a9) video processor. Both models are available in the US and Europe starting today. Current prices are as follows:

Apart from new Google Assistant integration for voice commands, the a9 is the key differentiator from last year’s models.

LG claims this artificial intelligence processor reduces what few significant picture-quality weaknesses OLED tech has, like color banding. It doesn’t change the maximum brightness, though, which comes in at “up to 1,000” nits according to LG. In practice, OLEDs won’t get as bright as competing LCDs, though these levels are adequate for current HDR content.

The E8 supports 4.2-channel audio with its own speakers, whereas the C8 comes in at 2.2 channels. Picture quality should be identical across all of LG’s OLEDs this year, excluding the upcoming B9. That set will ship at a lower price point by eschewing the a9 processor in favor of the older Alpha 7, so its picture quality should fall closely in line with last year’s set.

Each TV supports the most common TV HDR standards, including Dolby Vision, HDR-10, and the less common HLG and Technicolor. They also support frame rates up to 120fps, and they support Dolby Atmos processing, though neither of these models has Atmos-capable speakers. (The W8 model will when it launches.) Both models ship with LG’s webOS smart TV software, which comes with apps for Netflix and other streaming services.

Both TVs have four HDMI 2.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, optical digital audio out, a composite port, an RS232C jack, RF in for an antenna or cable, and Ethernet.

Recently, LG’s OLEDs have been widely regarded by critics and home-theater enthusiasts as the best consumer sets on the market in terms of picture quality—at least for low-light home theaters. Unfortunately, they’re still not cheap, though they have come down comparatively in price over the past couple of years.

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