It's official: LG's best OLED TVs provide the Perfect Black

If you want the deepest blacks, forget mini-LED and buy an OLED TV from LG

LG C2 42-inch OLED TV on coloured background
(Image credit: LG)

LG Display makes the panels for the best OLED TVs, which are often the best TVs full stop. And it has just announced that the panels in the most recent LG TVs have been verified as "Perfect Black", an industry first. The Spinal Tap-esque award makes it clear that when it comes to black levels, LG has achieved "none more black".

The verification wasn't carried out in-house like a tech employee of the month award; it's a serious process carried out by UI Solutions, an independent quality assurance lab that assessed LG's OLED panels at sizes ranging from 42 to 97 inches. The criteria for Perfect Black is to deliver just 0.24 nits; LG's panels went even darker, with just 0.15 nits of brightness. Once you go below 1 nit, your eye can't really detect any brightness at all.

If you're thinking "okay, but why is LG banging on about a fairly obscure measurement?" it's because mini-LEDs are starting to become serious competitors for OLED TVs. LG's message here is simple: if you want the best possible black levels, buy an LG OLED TV.

What's the difference between mini-LED and OLED TV?

The key difference is that OLED pixels are self-illuminating, whereas mini-LEDs are backlit. The LEDs are much smaller and more densely packed than in traditional LED TVs, so there's much more local control over dimming, but even the best mini-LEDs can't achieve the black levels of an OLED. 

What they can do, though, is deliver exceptional brightness. I've got one and it sometimes feels I should be wearing sunglasses when I watch it; brightness varies from firm to firm but as a rule of thumb mini-LED can be as much as twice as bright as a similarly priced OLED.

LG has a foot in both camps: while it's famed for its superb OLED TVs, it also makes some cracking QNED Mini LED TVs – and as manufacturing efficiencies improve, the cost of such TVs is likely to fall while OLED panels are less likely to get significantly cheaper. Perfect Black validation is a way of driving home the sales message that when it comes to picture quality, mini-LED may be brighter but OLED is still better.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).