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I love my LG OLED TV — but there's one infuriating problem

(Image credit: LG)

Once you go OLED, you won't go back. We certainly could not, awarding LG OLED's our best TV to buy recommendation, year after year, until Samsung finally caught up with its QN 90A Neo QLED in 2021. 

As someone who owns an LG OLED C9 from 2019, I'm continually left in awe of the vibrant colors and deep inky blacks. Going from an LCD television, there really is no comparison. Well, apart from some recent mini-LED TVs. Unfortunately, there's been one major sticking point regarding my LG OLED C9, and that's Dolby Atmos audio.

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For whatever reason, when using Dolby Atmos with some devices, in my case an Xbox Series X console, there's significant audio delay. In games, lip sync feels off by a good 1-2 seconds, something that becomes grating. Unfortunately, there's no way to decrease audio delay in the settings, whether it be on the TV, sound bar or Xbox itself.

A Google search shows multiple Reddit and forum threads with users complaining about this exact issue. It largely does seem to be limited to LG OLED televisions, regardless of the model year, including the most recent LG C1 OLED. The problem also seems to be most noticeable on Xbox Series X, although delay does exist on PS5, 4K Blu Ray players and streaming apps. It's just not as significant. 

"I love the TV otherwise but it's a common issue with LG OLEDs and it's crazy to see that with a $1500+ TV," said user fracas on an Resetera forum thread. 

It's a sentiment I share, as do many others that saved up for an LG OLED. Solutions to minimize audio lag include changing the digital sound out from Auto to Passthrough or switching off Atmos completely for 5.1 uncompressed. Of course, the problem here is that this solution eliminates some of the oomph that Dolby Atmos brings, especially in regard to its 3D audio experience, as broken down in our Dolby Atmos Explained article. Switching from eARC to analogue out via an optical cable is also an option, but one with significant drawbacks in audio quality.

The only solution I've found that kind of works is from a two-year-old Reddit thread. It requires a lot of specific fiddling between internal TV speaker settings and Dolby Atmos settings. Even then, the delay is still present, just less noticeable. 

For Xbox Series X, one user on AV Forums points out that by switching the audio format in the Xbox settings from Dolby Atmos to DTS can fix this annoying delay issue. The problem is that users lose 120Hz and variable refresh rate, which was the point of buying an LG OLED to begin with. 

Reddit user CoopaClown suggested buying a Thenaudio eARC Audio Processor, a $228 device that seemingly does reduce latency significantly. But that's a big ask for customers that have likely dropped well over $2,000 on a television and audio setup. 

And that's the problem. With little communication from LG itself, users are left to fend for themselves with half-baked solutions that only go so far. Unlike other brands, LG lacks a properly moderated community forum where customers can ask questions with LG technicians available with solutions. That's opposed to Samsung, which has a large community forum with over 12 million members and 24 thousand threads.

Tom's Guide has reached out to LG regarding this issue but has yet to receive a reply. Upon reply, we'll update this article.

Until we do get a reply, users will have to continue messing around with settings or take more drastic steps. On another AV Forums thread, user BennyNL finally reached a breaking point:

"I gave up and returned the 65CX. Tried everything imaginable, searched the internet for hours. Nothing helps."

Imad Khan

Imad Khan is news editor at Tom’s Guide, helping direct the day’s breaking coverage. Prior to working at the site, Imad was a full-time freelancer, with bylines at the New York Times, the Washington Post and ESPN. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.