In a side-by-side comparison lineup against the best LCD TVs I had on hand in CNET's lab, including the Samsung Q9 and the Vizio P Series Quantum, the B8 looked better. Yes, those sets delivered brighter highlights with some HDR material, but OLED's perfect black levels and superior contrast lent its image more impact and realism overall with both SDR and HDR.
Compared against the C8 OLED TV the B8 was very slightly worse, simply because I saw more contouring (banding) with a few extremely difficult scenes. In the vast majority of material they looked basically identical, with the more expensive C8 showing no advantage whatsoever. Both deserve a "10" in picture quality, but the C8 technically retains its crown as the best TV I've ever tested.
Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.
Dim lighting: Watching the incredible-looking Avengers: Infinity War Blu-ray all of the TVs in my lineup looked excellent, but as usual the two OLEDs stood above the rest. In the opening sequence where Thanos and the Black Order bully Thor and the other heroes, subtle OLED advantages included a bit more pop and life in high-contrast areas, like lights and fires against the shadows of the wreckage, and a slight improvement in depth and dimensionality in areas like the face of Heimdall. The letterbox bars stayed true black, while on the LCDs they were slightly brighter, taking away some of the image's contrast.
The local dimming LCDs in general did a very good job controlling blooming and maintaining contrast, but the OLEDs still looked better. As the Bifrost streaks through space, for example, the edge of the moon cased some blooming on all of the LCDs' letterbox bars (10:26), the shine from the moon bled out into space, and the LCDs' pause icons were significantly dimmer than the OLEDs'. That's a result of OLED's ability to illuminate (or dim) every pixel individually, which again contributes to contrast.
I looked hard for any real difference between the B8 and the C8 OLED TVs in this film and didn't see any. Both looked spectacular, and a step (at least) better than any of the LCDs.
Bright lighting: Like the C8, the B8 doesn't improve upon past LCDs for light output, as usual it can't compete with the raw brightness of the LCD-based models in our lineup, including the TCL 6 series at less than half the price.
That said, the OLED sets are still bright enough for just about any viewing environment. Yes, they do get significantly dimmer than the LCDs when showing full-screen white -- think a hockey game, for example -- but even in those situations they're hardly dim.
Light output in nits
|TV||Mode (SDR)||10% window (SDR)||Full screen (SDR)||Mode (HDR)||10% window (HDR)|
|TCL 65R617||Brighter/Vivid||653||480||Brighter/Dark HDR||824|
|LG OLED65C8P||Vivid||419||141||Cinema Home||792|
|LG OLED55C8P||Vivid||418||140||Cinema Home||788|
|LG OLED65B8P||Vivid||393||130||Technicolor Expert||771|
All of the OLED sets preserved black levels and reduced reflections very well -- better than the TCL and Vizio, albeit worse than the Samsungs, whose handling of reflections is among the best I've ever seen.
Color accuracy: Before my the B8's ISF Expert (Dark Room) was the most accurate for a dark room, edging out Technicolor Expert and Cinema. The best modes on the B8 sample I reviewed tended slightly toward blue, but that's not a big knock. See my calibration notes for more.
After calibration, the two OLEDs looked basically identical in terms of color, despite the B8's advantage in my post-calibration measurements -- neither one had a clear advantage. As usual OLED's superior black levels also improved the perception of color saturation compared to the LCD displays but, beyond that difference, the LCDs were just as accurate in program material. also looked basically as good.
Video processing: This is the category where LG claims the new Alpha 9 processor on its step-up C8 and higher models will pay dividends over the older processor in the B8. In truth, I had a tough time seeing any difference in just about everything I watched.
The one advantage the Alpha 9 brings that I saw was in removal of the contouring artifacts in some material. I saw it most obviously in the amazing 4K HDR Blu-ray of "Blue Planet," (Disc 1, Episode 2: The Deep) where the lights cast by the descending sub (6:24, 8:26 and 9:04, for example) showed relatively abrupt transitions from light to dark on the B8, and smoother, more natural transitions on the C8. In many other areas of this challenging episode, however, those artifacts didn't show up on the B8 either, even when they appeared on other sets (most often the Vizio), or showed up on all of the sets equally. In short, contouring isn't a major issue on the B8, but the C8 does handle it slightly better.
With my standard motion tests the B8 and C8 performed the same. With the Real Cinema setting turned on, the C8 passed my go-to 1080p/24 film cadence test from I Am Legend in both the "Off" and the "User" (zero for De-Judder and 10 for De-Blur) TruMotion position. I'd probably choose the latter since it also delivered the TV's maximum motion resolution (600 lines) and correct film cadence.
I definitely wouldn't choose the mode that introduces black frame insertion, new for 2018. Labeled Motion Pro, it can be toggled on and off in the TruMotion User menu. Turning it on improved motion resolution somewhat, perhaps to 700 lines while also making those lines sharper. But it also dims the image by about 40 percent, adds a subtle pulsing effect to 24-frame motion, and introduces visible flicker to bright areas. The extra motion resolution isn't worth those trade-offs in my book.
The rest of the settings (with the exception of Off) introduced some form of smoothing, or soap-opera effect, and all maxed out at 600 lines of motion resolution. In comparison, the Samsungs and the Vizio PQ hit 1,200 lines, which might make them more appealing for sticklers who can't stand blurring. To my eye, however, the LG remained plenty sharp in motion with all the actual program material (as opposed to test patterns) I watched.
Input lag in Game mode with both 1080p and 4K HDR sources measured an excellent 22 milliseconds, basically the same as the C8 in 1080p and slightly better in HDR.
Off-angle viewing and uniformity: The B8 and C8 were the best TVs in my lineup in this category. One big OLED advantage over LCD is its superb image when viewed from off-angle, in positions other than the sweet spot directly in front of the screen. The OLEDs maintained black-level fidelity and color accuracy much better than any of the LED LCDs I've tested, all of which (including ones in this lineup) wash out in comparison.
Screen uniformity on the B8 matched the C8 as the best I've ever seen on an OLED TV. Very slight vertical banding was still visible on both in the darkest full-field test patterns, in some patterns, but it was exceedingly faint. That said, I didn't notice any banding or any difference between the two OLEDs' uniformity, with regular program material as opposed to test patterns.
The LCDs, for their part, showed much more noticeable uniformity issues than the OLEDs; for example, brightness variations across the screen.
HDR and 4K video: Despite the massive light output advantage of the LCDs' in my measurements, the two LG OLEDs consistently delivered the most impressive HDR images. OLED's advantage of perfect black levels without any of the blooming necessitated by local dimming LCDs overcame brightness and highlight advantage held by the brightest LCDs in my lineup.
I started with the spectacular 4K HDR version of Avengers: Infinity War. Yes, at times the LCDs did show an advantage in light output. In Chapter 3 when Banner picks up the cell phone for example, the sky behind his head (27:00) looked and measured significantly brighter on the Samsung Q9 compared to any of the other sets, including the OLEDs, and that gave it more pop. LIkewise many highlights, for example the sun at the beginning of Chapter 4 (27:30) were quite a bit brighter on the Q9 and the Vizio PQ compared to the OLEDs (and the others).
But in most other scenes the OLEDs looked the best. As the camera pans back from the sun to show Peter Quill rocking out in the cockpit, for example, only the OLED sets' letterbox bars and dark shadows remained true, creating superior contrast and a overall more impressive image despite the dimmer highlights. In this dark scene and many others, the Vizio and the Samsung Q9 looked great too, but compared to the OLEDs their images looked a bit more washed-out and less impactful.
Colors were also spectacular on the OLEDs, blending accuracy and deep saturation. As with SDR, however, I didn't see any major color advantage compared to the best LCDs in my lineup (namely the Q9 and the Vizio PQ).
One of the best examples of OLED's HDR contrast superiority came in "The Deep" during a section featuring bioluminescence (12:54). The sub shuts off its lights, leaving the black ocean lit up by neon blue jellyfish and stranger creatures. The LCDs struggled to suppress the blooms of light around the creatures balanced with the black background while the OLEDs had no such issues. In one scene that resembled a field of blue stars, the tiny blue creature-dots looked brighter, and the black seas darker, on the OLEDs. It wasn't even close.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.000||Good|
|Peak white luminance (SDR)||393||Average|
|Avg. gamma (10-100%)||2.40||Good|
|Avg. grayscale error (10-100%)||0.28||Good|
|Dark gray error (30%)||0.25||Good|
|Bright gray error (80%)||0.25||Good|
|Avg. color checker error||0.70||Good|
|Avg. color error||0.80||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||700||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|
|Input lag (Game mode)||21.93||Good|
|Black luminance (0%)||0.000||Good|
|Peak white luminance (10% win)||771||Average|
|Gamut % UHDA/P3 (CIE 1976)||98.40||Good|
|Avg. color checker error||3.37||Average|
|Input lag (Game mode, 4K HDR)||21.93||Good|