At $2,000 for 55 inches, LG's OLED TV gets slightly more affordable

LG's OLED televisions produce amazing picture quality but demand serious cash. And while two grand for a 55-inch television is hardly "cheap," it's a lot less than last year. The 55EG9100 isn't 4K and does have a curve, but it's still pretty appealing.

David Katzmaier
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

3 min read


If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Except to lower the price.

Last year when I reviewed LG's 55EC9300 , its groundbreaking $3,500 OLED TV, I said it had the best picture ever.

That TV's successor, the 55EG9100, has now been introduced, and it's basically the same. Except that you can get it for $2,000 US. That works out to about £1,300 in the UK and AU$2,700 in Australia.

That kind of massive price drop is just what OLED TV needs to tempt buyers who would otherwise choose a top-flight LCD television. Two grand for a 55-inch TV is hardly cheap, but if you're shopping in the high end of the market -- or looking to splurge -- this is the 55-inch TV to get. Even though it has a curved screen and lacks 4K resolution.

In our tests, OLED delivers significantly better images than other display technologies, namely LED LCD (overwhelmingly dominant among TVs today) and plasma (which is no longer being manufactured). Its main strength is the ability to produce both a perfectly dark shade of black and a very bright white on the same screen simultaneously, leading to truly infinite contrast. It's also fiendishly difficult to manufacture, which is why it's so expensive, and why only LG (so far) has managed to sell it on a large scale.

LG also makes more-expensive 55-inch OLED TVs, named the 55EG9600 and the 55EF9500 in the US. Both have 4K resolution, but at this size, the benefits of 4K are basically invisible unless you sit extremely close to the screen. The 55EF9500 has a flat screen and further HDR capability. That said, both currently cost $1,000 more than the 55EG9100, and for most people that's not worth it.

In case you're wondering, LG doesn't currently make a 1080p OLED TV that's flat, nor one that's larger than 55 inches. If you want a larger OLED, they currently start at $5,000 for 65 inches.

The tougher choice is between the 55EG9100 and its predecessor, the 55EC9300. That's because the latter currently costs $200 less, and according to LG, the two have exactly the same picture quality.

The main difference between the two comes down to styling and a couple of features. The newer 9100 has a more traditional stand compared to the swoopy number that supports the EC9300 (for what it's worth, I prefer last year's stand). The EG9100 also gets the latest version of LG's motion remote and Smart TV system, Web OS 2.0. I like the new remote better and version 2.0 of Web OS is markedly faster; check out my review of the EG9600 series for details.

If you've been keeping track, you'll remember that LG promised an upgrade to Web OS 1.0 to improve its response time. It was supposed to hit last month but hasn't yet. Here's what LG's rep told me when I followed up about a week ago: "Due to some unforeseen delays, the update is coming in a few weeks. We'll let you know when it's live."

All things considered, if it was my money I'd probably get the 55EC9300 just to save the $200. It will likely sell out soon, according to LG.

I haven't reviewed the 55EG9100 yet, but that should change in the next few weeks too. Stay tuned.

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