It’s a new year, and that means today LG is announcing its latest series of OLED TVs. For 2022, the company is adding new screen sizes both big (97 inches) and small (42 inches), ratcheting up the brightness (again) on the G series, and bringing some additional features — like multiuser profiles — to the webOS software that runs on its TVs.
Now on the fifth generation of its A9 processor, LG says 2022 TVs will include better 4K upscaling, improved tone mapping, and a greater sense of depth through foreground object enhancement.
As for the TVs themselves, after debuting its higher-brightness OLED “Evo” panel on the G1 in 2021, this year Evo will be featured in both the G2 and more mainstream C2. LG says the G2 will deliver higher peak brightness numbers than the C2 through a combination of brightness booster algorithms and better heat dissipation from the TV’s components. But the C2 should still outperform something like the CX from two years ago.
Expanding Evo to the C series makes a lot of sense: LG claims that line is the bestselling “premium TV series” — priced above $1,500 — in the United States. For both the G2 and C2, LG says it’s using a new composite fiber material in their construction that makes these TVs significantly lighter; for example, the 65-inch C2 is nearly half the weight of the C1. That should result in a less stressful unboxing and mounting experience for these very thin, fragile displays.
At a press briefing in New Jersey ahead of CES, LG lined up the new G2 side by side with the C1 to show off the brightness gains. A more helpful comparison to demonstrate year-over-year improvements would’ve been putting it against the G1’s Evo display, but no such luck. The G2 definitely looked better than the C1, but this was a staged demo — so take the stark difference you see with a grain of salt.
LG is also adding new screen sizes at both extremes. The C series is getting a new 42-inch OLED that the company thinks will be a perfect fit for small bedrooms, offices, or gamers in tight spaces. (Previously, the smallest LG OLED was 48 inches.) And there’s an enormous 97-inch 4K model that’s joining the G series. LG has offered 83-inch 4K and 88-inch 8K TVs in the past, but there’s a new giant OLED in town.
As usual, every HDMI port on both the G and C series will offer full HDMI 2.1 capabilities — and this time LG really means it. Whereas the company’s TVs have been limited to about 40Gbps of HDMI bandwidth in recent years, for 2022 it’s using the whole 48Gbps pipeline. You’ll also still be getting the usual 120Hz 4K gaming, variable refresh rate, auto low latency mode, and so on. It’s worth noting that LG is already being surpassed in a few of these areas, however; some of Samsung’s just-announced 2022 TVs support VRR up to 144Hz for PC gamers.
That doesn’t mean LG isn’t making its own improvements for gamers. The game dashboard will put more information at the top layer so you’ll avoid extra clicks and can adjust key settings without jumping into the full game optimizer menu. There’s also a new fifth preset for sports games and a dark room gaming mode in picture settings. In recent months, LG has rolled out support for GeForce Now and Google Stadia cloud gaming services.
The lower-tier A series will also remain part of LG’s OLED family in 2022, though it’s primarily intended for movie and TV watching since it lacks HDMI 2.1 and gaming-centric features.
LG G2 OLED: available in 97-, 83-. 77-, 65-, and 55-inch sizes
LG C2 OLED: available in 83-, 77-, 65-, 55, 48-, and 42-inch sizes
LG joined the Mini LED bandwagon in 2021, and this year it’s rolling out another wave of its terribly named “QNED” TVs that use the technology for vastly better contrast and black levels than the company’s older LCD sets. It’s not perfect black and infinite contrast like an OLED, but you can’t get much closer — and Mini LED TVs can crank higher than OLED when it comes to overall brightness.
But confusingly, LG is already muddying up what the “QNED” branding means, since not all of the TVs that carry it in 2022 will include Mini LED. The entry-level QNED80 model will have traditional, less precise local dimming without the miniaturized LED backlighting.
The underlying webOS software on LG TVs is also seeing some tweaks this year. First off, the latest version will be “webOS 22” to match the year of its release. That’s a little more straightforward than before. The company is also adding support for multiple user profiles, with each person getting their own personalized recommendations and the freedom to customize the homescreen to their liking. I asked LG if TV picture settings could be customized and saved for each user (in case someone in your home really loves the soap opera effect), but profiles don’t extend that far.
LG is also promising a feature called “room to room share” that will be able to “temporarily” send the feed from one TV (where a cable box or other component might be plugged in) to another in a different room. You’ll supposedly be able to change channels and do other actions in this mode. But room to room share won’t roll out until after the TVs ship, so there aren’t a ton of details right now. Last is a new-for-2022 “Always Ready” mode that, when the TV is off, “transforms the screen into a digital canvas for showcasing artwork, keeping track of time, or playing music.”
Full pricing and release timeframes for LG’s 2022 TV lineup should be available as they come closer to shipping this spring. It seems like the company is playing things a bit safe this year — especially in light of rumors of QD-OLED TVs being on the horizon. But maybe that’s still enough for LG to maintain its status as the go-to recommendation for an OLED TV that doesn’t demand the premium of Sony’s pricier models.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge