Never let it be said that an established product category like modern televisions can’t hold surprises for the media or consumers anymore: LG Electronics just unveiled its latest OLED TV models for 2023 and — although most of its lineup does follow the pattern this company has set during the last half decade or so — an unexpected change in its most advanced sets could prove to be important for OLED technology as a whole.
Contrary to reports coming from Korea as recently as early December, LG seemingly managed to solve the manufacturing problems it faced with technology meant to improve the picture of traditional W-OLED panels, in time for its high-end G3 line of TVs to actually take advantage of it this year.
LG’s 2023 Brightness Booster Max tech makes big promises
According to LG’s official press release, three out of its five 2023 G3 OLED models — the 55-, 65- and 77-inch ones — will make use of a new technology named Brightness Booster Max, which “features a brand new light control architecture as well as light boosting algorithms to increase brightness by up to 70 percent”. Although LG does not make any mention of it, this is most probably the MicroLens Array (MLA) technology that the company was having trouble implementing without picture uniformity issues occurring as late as Q4 2022.
LG’s claims regarding an “up to 70% brightness increase” should be taken with a grain of salt for the time being. That’s because (a) they use the company’s current entry-level B2 models, which are not bright, as a baseline, as well as because (b) it’s not clear which picture mode these claims refer to. Vivid Mode, for instance, could offer considerably higher peak brightness than what consumers expect from OLED TVs at the expense of color accuracy, but Cinema Mode — or Custom Mode when calibrated — significantly lower the brightness of an OLED screen in order to achieve the kind of cinematic picture these TV sets are known for.
Other sources claim that LG’s Brightness Booster Max can push these MLA-assisted screens to around 20%-25% higher brightness compared to current G2 OLED models, which would be an appreciable but not game-changing difference. It’s still too early to say — we’ll have to reserve judgement until we have some hands-on time with LG’s latest — but if those three G3 models can break, say, 1300 or 1400 nits of peak brightness in Cinema Mode, then that would be a clear step forward for traditional OLED TVs.
Business as usual for LG’s other OLED TV models
Along with the new G3 models sporting its new Brightness Booster Max tech, LG announced practically every other 2023 OLED TV it was expected to. The A3 line (from 48 to 77 inches) and B3 line (from 55 to 77 inches) will offer the company’s most affordable, least capable models, while the C3 line (from 42 to 83 inches) will once more be the company’s mainstream option, this time officially sporting the OLED EX tech of last year’s G2 line. LG will seemingly remain the only manufacturer offering 8K OLED TVs in the form of the Z3 line (at 77 and 88 inches as before).
Retail pricing for all of the above 2023 TV sets were not disclosed, but LG confirmed that its main OLED models — so, excluding A3 and B3 — all sport the Alpha 9 Gen6 processor: the new, updated version promises to leverage AI so that it can “recognize objects to enhance sharpness or apply HDR tone-mapping individually to each object in the picture”. The new processor also features an OLED Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro function, capable of dynamically adjusting brightness and color in up to 20.000 picture block. The A9 Gen6 is also responsible for several sound enhancements, although — if past experience is any indication — those often prove to be of little actual value.
All main 2023 LG OLED TV models sport four HDMI 2.1a ports (offering the Quick Media Switching function for the first time) as well as version 23 of LG’s webOS TV operating system. This has been redesigned to be simpler, quicker and easier to use, while also offering compatibility with the newly-launched Matter smart home standard. The first 2023 LG OLED TV models are expected to be available to US and European customers in the spring.