One of the first major stories ahead of this week’s CES 2020 in Las Vegas is news that LG is expanding its range of 8K sets.
Previously if you wanted to buy an 8K set from LG you had the choice of big or bigger, either 75-inch or 88-inch. The new sets cover new sizes, a more accommodating 65-inch and a nuanced 77-inch, bringing a bit more variety to the table; albeit only two inches in one case.
The 2020 8K set lineup now includes premium 88- and 77-inch class LG Signature OLED 8K TVs and six LG NanoCell TVs in various flavours at 65- and 75-inches. Perhaps more importantly for the consumer these are all going to be the first sets badged and certified with the official 8K UHD logo unveiled by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) last year.
Just to recap, that specifies at least 33 million active pixels, with at least 7680 horizontally and 4320 vertically within a 16:9 viewable window, and a display capable of receiving 10-bit 8K images. The sets will support 8K content streaming at 60fps and are also certified to deliver 8K 60P over HDMI.
LG’s own bit of branding is to additionally badge the sets as ‘Real 8K’ and the company says their performance will exceed the CTA definition. For those wondering where that came from, this is all part of an ongoing spat with rivals Samsung regarding the way that pixels are counted. Samsung sets are certified as 8K by the 8K Association, whereas LG is not a member of the 8K Association and says that the Samsung pixels are not distinguishable enough from each other to make up the full pixel count. So there.
It's the sort of own goal that the CE sector frustratingly specialises in and is likely to rumble on for a while, but perhaps one of the keys to any success in the market though is what the sets — which are as yet frustratingly unpriced — do when confronted with material that is not Real 8K. LG says a new α9 Gen 3 AI processor provides upgraded performance of the company’s AI-based 8K upscaling, using a deep learning network to apply Quad Step Noise Reduction and frequency-based Sharpness Enhancer to increase lower resolution material.
The α9 Gen 3 processor's AI Picture Pro is also capable of recognizing faces and text, fine-tuning and sharpening each to produce what are billed as natural skin tones, well-defined facial features and more readable characters. Auto Genre Selection meanwhile recognizes the type of content being watched and automatically applies optimised picture settings, seeking the best image quality among four genres: movie, sports, standard, and animation.
The sets have some audio tricks as well; LG's AI Sound Pro analysing and classifying content audio into five categories – music, movies, sports, drama or news – and isolating and increasing the volume of spoken words while the backgrounds are up-mixed to virtual 5.1 surround. There’s also all the Internet of Things, Alexa, Homekit and so-on integration you would expect from a high level set nowadays.