LG Unveils 7 4K OLED TVs, Touts Quantum Dot Tech

As with most of the events that followed LG’s 8AM start on the annual Press Day, televisions were not first item on the bill of fare. LG’s first 15-minutes were devoted to home automation and health and fitness electronics. The last 15-minutes included (no joke) the launch of new LG washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

But sandwiched in between were juicy bits on LG’s new OLED and 4K Ultra HDTVs (none of manufacturers had much to say about “Full HD” 1080p sets). Most of them were LCD models, all of which employ either LED or Quantum Dot technology. Quantum Dot is shaping up to be something of a highlight at this year’s show, with both TCL and Samsung using them as well (though Samsung has its own proprietary name for it).

Two points must be emphasized here about Quantum Dots and what they do and do not offer—points that all of the manufacturers who promoted them (to be fair, not just LG) largely avoided. Quantum Dots are not a new display technology. Rather, like LEDs, they are a new form of backlighting for what is still an LCD set. They are said to increase brightness, be cheaper to produce, and offer a wider color gamut than LED backlighting. But the latter is of no value with today’s Rec.709 color gamut standard (at least not if your goal is color that accurately reflects the source material).

A wider color gamut is in the cards for future UHD sources, but has not yet been incorporated into today’s limited UHD programming. And though current and new 2015 4K sets all claim wide, wider, and widest color gamut capability, selectable as a menu option, it’s unclear (and safe to assume unlikely) that they can make proper use of an input with a wider color gamut than Rec.709 when and if such material becomes available to the consumer.

With that rant aside, LG has an impressive and wide-ranging lineup of UHD LCD sets for 2015, all of which use IPS panels for improved off-axis performance. They are clustered into eight different ranges, far too many to discuss in detail here. The top five ranges also offer an “ULTRA Surround System,” developed in cooperation with audio specialist company Harman Kardon.

Like the other manufacturers below, LG made much of its new smart TV layout and features, here dubbed WebOS 2.0. Perhaps most exciting for videophiles, however, is LG’s continued dedication to developing and selling OLED TVs. There are seven new OLED models in LG’s 2015 lineup ranging from 55- to 77-inches, all of them 4K. No prices or availability dates were given (in common with the information provided at most other manufacturers’ press conferences). LG is also investing heavily in expanding OLED production facilities, a hopeful sign for the growth of this technology.