LG SJ9500 series Super UHD LCDs may be better, but they still ain't OLED

While LG's OLED TVs produce the best picture quality we've ever tested, its LCD TVs have been among the worst. Maybe the 2017 improvements will help.

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."

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Last year we tested both OLED and "Super UHD" LCD TVs from LG. We loved the OLEDs, but the Super UHD was among the worst.

Now LG is back with a slew of new Super UHD LCD TVs for 2017 at CES -- the SJ9500, SJ8500 and SJ8000 series with sizes ranging from 55 to 85 inches -- and it says their picture quality has been overhauled for the better. They still use the company's IPS panels, however, so I'm doubtful.

At the heart of the supposed upgrades is a new "nano cell" layer said to improve off-angle viewing fidelity (especially compared to competitors such as Samsung that use Quantum Dots), so the image appears even better when seen from seats in the room other than the sweet spot facing the center of the screen. The sets are also said to wash out less under bright room lighting and deliver better color overall.

They'll also support four HDR formats: Dolby Vision and HDR10 (just like the 2016 models) as well as HLG and Technicolor (neither of which have content yet). A new "active HDR" mode is said to improve the image from HDR10 sources to mimic the dynamic metadata system used by Dolby Vision. LG also talks up a new picture mode designed by Technicolor that can work with non-HDR sources.

No matter how many picture enhancements these Super UHD sets offer, however, they won't match the image quality of OLED. On the other hand they'll probably cost less, and models like the flagship SJ9500 are extremely thin.

Specifications and features

  • 4K resolution
  • More than 90% coverage of DCI color space
  • Supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG and Technicolor HDR
  • Active HDR enhancement
  • Nano cell technology
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