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LG's new OLED TV lineup mostly flat, differentiated by design

In 2016, LG will continue to expand its lineup of world-beating OLED televisions with four new series of 4K models, all with basically identical picture quality. Only one has a curved screen, but all have distinct styling.

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LG's OLED TVs deliver the best picture quality of any TV we've ever tested, and in 2016 the company is expanding the lineup even further.

The first thing to know about LG's OLED TV lineup in 2016, which was shown off at CES in Las Vegas, is that they'll all have basically identical picture quality, which LG claims is a bit better than the 2015 versions we liked so much. The new image quality specifications don't seem important enough to cause buyers' remorse for many 2015 OLED owners, however.

The second is that they'll mainly be differentiated by styling. The highest-end model, the G6 (available in 77- and 65-inch sizes), has a sleek speaker bar that can flip up behind the TV when wall-mounted. Both it and the step-down E6 (55- and 65-inches) have LG's slimmest design yet, "panel-on-glass" that measures just 2.57 millimeters (one-tenth on an inch) thick across most of the TV.

Meanwhile the lesser models, the C6 and the B6, are very similar to the 2015 EG9600 and EF9500. The former has a curved screen (the only curved OLED TV in LG's 2016 stable) and the latter a flat one. For some reason LG has dropped 3D capability from the flat B6, however. Both series come in 55 and 65-inch sizes.

Finally, the sole non-4K set will continue to be the 55EG9100, a carryover from 2015.

Pricing was not announced, although LG's rep told CNET that the 65-inch size in the flagship G6 series should come in at "less than $10,000." It will ship in the first quarter of 2016, as will the sets in the E6 series. The C6 and B6 models will arrive later in the first half of the year.

A bit brighter and more colorful

In terms of picture quality, a couple things have changed between the new models and the 2015 sets, but nothing ground-breaking enough to make 2015 buyers regret their purchase.

The newer sets boast a twenty-five percent higher brightness than last year, which is more important in the ongoing specsmanship battles with ultra-bright LED LCD displays than it is in real life. LG didn't cite an actual brightness level in nits, but did tell us that they will hit the 540 nits (a unit of light output) required for UHD Alliance certification. We measured around 440 nits for the 21015 models.

That's about half the brightness of Samsung and other LED LCD makers' displays, which cite 1000 nits, but in our HDR tests last year, we still preferred OLED despite LCD's brightness advantages.

The 2016 models also boast a somewhat wider color gamut, delivering a claimed 99 percent of the DCI color space compared to around 88 percent for the 2015 versions, according to our measurements. All of the new OLED sets are also compatible with Dolby Vision HDR, in addition to the HDR 10 standard that the 2015 sets supported. Notably, none of Samsung's 2016 TVs support Dolby Vision.

Speaking of tests, one of the few issues we noticed on LG's OLED TVs is uneven uniformity in some very dark scenes. LG's engineers claim to have improved the issue with the 2016 models. We can't wait to test them.

Hardware specifications

  • OLED display technology
  • Wide color gamut for 99% coverage of P3 color space
  • HDR compatible, including Dolby Vision
  • 10-bit panel and 10-bit processing power
  • Web OS 3.0

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that brightness hasn't changed from 2015 to 2016.

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