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LG sets lowest initial OLED TV pricing yet, starts at $2,500

The opening bid bodes well for the inevitable price drops coming later in the year.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Consider this the opening salvo of high-end TV pricing for 2018.

LG has revealed pricing for most of its 2018 lineup of OLED TVs. The good news is that they're less-expensive than last year, by $1000 for both the 55- and 65-inch sizes.

Now playing: Watch this: LG's new OLED TVs still look great, offer some upgrades

The bad news is that they're still really expensive. The cheapest, the 55-inch member of the C8 series, starts at $2,500. Here are all of the initial UPP selling prices (which are lower than the suggested retail prices) LG has revealed.

LG 2018 OLED TV pricing

Model Size Price Shipping week of
OLED55C8P 55-inch $2,500 March 19
OLED65C8P 65-inch $3,500 March 19
OLED77C8P 77-inch $9,000 April 12
OLED55E8P 55-inch $3,500 April 2
OLED65E8P 65-inch $4,500 April 2
OLED65W8 65-inch $7,000 July 16
OLED77W8 77-inch $15,000 April 16

The cheapest 77-inch model is significantly less-expensive than the initial price on the 77-inch models from 2017, but it's still way out of reach for most buyers.

The top-end set for 2018, the W8 series, retains the ultra-thin "wallpaper" design that debuted last year, and the step-down E8 series is similar to last year's picture-on-glass E7, albeit with a slightly slimmer sound bar. The less-expensive series, C8 keeps the more standard-looking, while still super-thin, design. All share the same picture quality, according to LG.

LG's 2017 OLED TVs are our all-time favorites for high-end buyers, with the best picture quality we've ever tested, and the 2018 models don't break the mold. The biggest improvement is the integration of Google Assistant. The company makes a big deal out of its new-for-2018 Alpha 9 processor, but it doesn't claim to have improved any of the basics, namely contrast and color. 

Full details on LG's 2018 OLED TV lineup

Missing is word on pricing for the lower-end B8 series, due later this summer, which will lack the A9 processor. I expect it to cost a couple hundred less than the C8.

How low will they go?

The biggest question for anybody who wants to get a new OLED TV is how cheap they'll eventually get during the holiday buying season. In the last couple of years, LG has waited until around Black Friday to discount the sets to their lowest levels.

In 2017, for example, the B7A got down to $1600 for the 55-inch size and $2600 for the 65-incher. That's when I told CNET readers to pull the trigger.

I expect 2018 will be the same, and that the "B" series will again provide the best value. For Black Friday 2018, I wouldn't be surprised to see the B8 get down to $1200 for the 55-incher and $2000 for the 65-incher, with the C8 a couple hundred more.

LG traditionally sets the pace for OLED TV pricing, and in turn for high-end pricing in general. Sony introduced a step-down OLED TV at CES this year, the A8 series, that I expect to sit somewhere between the C8 and E8 in price. Meanwhile Samsung will roll out its newest QLED TVs, and they'll probably have to match or beat LG's OLED pricing to win over high-end videophiles. 

I expect to hear about Sony and Samsung's initial price offers soon, and their prices to drop throughout the year as well.

Updated March 6. When it originally posted this article showed suggested retail pricing based on LG's web site, which started at $3,000. It has been updated with lower UPP pricing per LG's official announcement, starting at $2,500, and official pricing for the E8 and W8 series has been added.