LG's 2021 TV rollout has largely consisted of its OLED TVs so far, including the admittedly magnificent LG G1 and LG C1. However, its high-end LCD TVs are now arriving at last, landing in July, and they promise 4K and 8K screens, with the latter immediately raising eyebrows here in the T3 office.
These are LG's QNED TVs, and that string of letters tells you that they use Quantum Dot NanoCell panels… basically, the really elite tech. Most importantly, LG is using the QNED name for its TVs that use a mini-LED backlight, which is the next-gen screen tech that's setting the world alight. Well, it's lighting up certain specific parts of the world at least. The parts with a mini-LED screen in.
Mini-LED is exactly what it sounds like: the LED lights used behind the pixels to actually create light are much, much smaller. That means that many more of them can be squeezed into a space, which enables much more fine-grained control of a backlight, improving contrast.
We've already seen this in action in the wonderful iPad Pro (2021), but also in the Samsung QN900A 8K TV and Samsung QN95A 4K TV.
In all three cases, it's massively impressed us, and those Samsung TVs landed straight at the top of our guide to the best TVs – we said the contrast genuinely comes close to matching what the best OLED TVs can do.
And yet, LG might be about to make those TVs look basic. You see, the company has announced that the top-end 8K LG QNED99 will have 2,500 local dimming zones in its 86-inch model, thanks to its array of 30,000 mini-LEDs. For comparison, the 65-inch top-end Samsung 8K model (the QN900A) is thought to have around 1300. The QN95A has around 800.
Samsung hasn't confirmed whether the larger sizes of its sets have more dimming zones, but even if they do, they may not have this many. More dimming zones means a more precise ability to darken the backlight in black areas of the screen, while still making it shine brightly in light areas nearby, without the light blooming from light to dark.
There are other factors here, such as how well the dimming works in practice, even if there are lots of zones, but LG is not exactly an amateur here. Smaller sizes will also feature fewer dimming zones, most likely, so we've asked LG to clarify what we can expect from models closer to the Samsung sizes mentioned above.
Aside from the high-end 8K LG QNED99 model, LG will also release a lower-spec LG QNED95 8K TV, and then the 4K LG QNED 90. Sizes will range from 65 inches up to the 86-inch model we're raving about.
All will feature LG's latest and greatest image processing, along with HDMI 2.1 support for next-gen gaming features, including 4K 120Hz.
LG says that the sets will arrive in North America first, and then around the world – whether that means the July rollout will be US and Canada-only in real terms, we don't know yet.