LG OLED W8 Hands-on: The Wallpaper TV Gets Smart

During a recent media event in Hollywood, LG gave reviewers an early glimpse of its 2018 lineup of OLED TVs. We briefly saw the new LG Signature W8 and LG OLED C8 at CES when the new models first announced, but this was our first opportunity to get up close to the new models, and LG has announced pricing and availability for its entire 2018 lineup.

LG Signature W8 77-inch

LG's newest version of its so-called wallpaper TV is the LG Signature W8 OLED. The ultra thin wall mounted TV keeps the impressively slim dimensions of its predecessor, the W7, and boasts all of the superb picture quality afforded on LG's most premium OLED panel.

The basic design of the W8 will be familiar to anyone who's seen last year's W7 Wallpaper TV, but it's no less impressive. The display measures just 0.23-inches thick, so thin that it mounts flush against the wall with magnets, without the need to use bulky brackets or pay for custom cabinetry to make it a seamless part of the home.

It’s able to do this in large part by relocating the TV's internal components—such as the power supply and circuit boards—to an external sound bar. In addition to housing these essentials, the Dolby Atmos sound bar also boasts 4.2-channel sound at 60 watts. On the back of the soundbar you will find four HDMI ports, two USB ports, and connectors for composite video, RF antenna and Ethernet.

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During a recent media event in Hollywood, LG gave reviewers an early glimpse of its 2018 lineup of OLED TVs. We briefly saw the new LG Signature W8 and LG OLED C8 at CES when the new models first announced, but this was our first opportunity to get up close to the new models, and LG has announced pricing and availability for its entire 2018 lineup.

LG Signature W8 77-inch

LG's newest version of its so-called wallpaper TV is the LG Signature W8 OLED. The ultra thin wall mounted TV keeps the impressively slim dimensions of its predecessor, the W7, and boasts all of the superb picture quality afforded on LG's most premium OLED panel.

The basic design of the W8 will be familiar to anyone who's seen last year's W7 Wallpaper TV, but it's no less impressive. The display measures just 0.23-inches thick, so thin that it mounts flush against the wall with magnets, without the need to use bulky brackets or pay for custom cabinetry to make it a seamless part of the home.

It’s able to do this in large part by relocating the TV's internal components—such as the power supply and circuit boards—to an external sound bar. In addition to housing these essentials, the Dolby Atmos sound bar also boasts 4.2-channel sound at 60 watts. On the back of the soundbar you will find four HDMI ports, two USB ports, and connectors for composite video, RF antenna and Ethernet.

MORE: What Is OLED?

But these external descriptions are relatively unchanged from last year's model. The real improvements are under the hood, with updated processing hardware and enhanced smart TV software.

The biggest change is LG's new Alpha A9 processor. Compared to last year's M16 Plus processor, the A9 upgraded hardware includes faster CPU and GPU speeds, and a larger allotment of memory. LG estimates it offers a 35 percent increase in overall speed, which will translate into sharper images and smoother motion handling.

The A9 also supports LG's True Color Accuracy Pro, which expands LG's larger look-up table for color processing. LG says that the new look-up tables provide 7.3 times the number of data points for color, to better take advantage of the 10-bit color offered on the panel.

Taking things beyond the arcana of image processing, the W8 boasts 4K resolution, refresh rates of up to 120 frames per second, and expanded support for high dynamic range (HDR) content.

In fact, HDR support is the most inclusive of any brand we've seen yet, offering compatibility with HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. About the only format it doesn’t work with is Samsung's HDR10 Plus.

The new processor also gives the W8 the brains for LG’s AI-enhanced smart TV functionality, ThinQ. The new technology goes above and beyond the voice search offered on other smart TVs, and includes voice interaction for control of all TV features, search across both streaming services and live TV content, and deep integration with Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Unlike other brands that include support for Google- and Amazon-based voice assistants, LG's ThinQ assistant is its own thing. It boasts contextual search capability, which understands questions posed to it in natural language. Asking a question about the weather will by default search for that information in relation to the TV's location. Searching for content can be done in multiple steps, with the ThinQ assistant understanding that one question may follow after another, and doesn’t require explicit instruction to search around the same topic.

The LG Signature W8 OLED will be available in two sizes, a 77-inch model that starts at $15,000 and will be available for purchase starting April 16th. A 65-inch model, priced at a relatively more affordable $7,000, will be available starting July 16th.

LG C8 OLED 55-inch

We also got our first good look at the 55-inch LG OLED C8, the 2018 successor to last year's C7 series. The model we saw boasted many of the same processing and software enhancements seen on the W8.

The physical design features a wide metal stand, similar to the brushed aluminum used on the 2017 models, but given a new visual twist with a dark finish. A slim black bezel surrounds the 55-inch OLED panel. On the left-hand side of the chassis you’ll find three HDMI ports and a single USB connection. On the back is a fourth HDMI, along with two USB ports, an antenna connection, an optical audio jack and Ethernet for network connectivity.

MORE: It's Official: LG's Rollable OLED Is the 4K TV of My Dreams

As seen in our photo, the new models come with a gallery mode that cycles through artwork, complete with a frame. While the effect is more striking on something like the wallpaper-thin W8, it’s still a nice touch.

Like the LG Signature W8, the C8 OLED will be equipped with LG’s Alpha 9 processor and ThinQ AI assistant. The TV will be available in three sizes. The 55 and 65-inch models will sell for $2,500 and $3,500, respectively and are selling now. A larger 77-inch model will becoming on April 12th, selling for $9,000.

LG’s Other TVs

LG will soon be launching the new E8 series OLED, which replaces the superb E7 -- our favorite TV of 2017 -- along with three new models of LCD televisions. The E8 OLED will be available in 55- and 65-inch sizes, and will begin selling April 2nd. The 55-inch model will start at $3,500, while the 65-inch E8 will sell for $4,500.

The LCD-based SK9500 and SK9000 models will be available next week, March 19th, ranging from $1,600 to $2,700 for 55 and 65-inch models. These models may not have OLED screens, but they will boast full-array backlight with local dimming, and offer the same advanced processing and AI-enhanced smart TV features available on LG’s more premium models.

Only the less expensive SK8000 will miss out on these features, due to its less powerful Alpha 7 processor. While it will still offer smart TV functions and all of the same apps and services, voice search will not benefit from LG’s ThinQ technology, and will be limited to more basic search and control functions.

Credit: Brian Westover/Tom's Guide

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