At CES 2021, LG has revealed a brand new line of cheap OLED TVs – the LG A series, debuting with the LG A1. We know almost nothing about the new set yet, but we know it's aimed at lowering the cost of entry for people to get into OLED tech, and that it will come in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes at least.
Though LG has announced the LG C1 (a successor to the LG CX) and LG G1 (a successor to the LG GX that includes a new generation of OLED panel called 'OLED evo'), there's been little word on a successor to the LG BX so far – LG's current cheap OLED TV offering. LG has mentioned its intention to launch a B1, but it hasn't talked about it at all in any information about the new models.
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So it looks like maybe the A1 is intended to come in under the B-series, and the specs we do know certainly suggest that – for example, the A1 is slated to use the Alpha 7 image processor, rather than the Alpha 9 Gen3 used in the LG CX or the Alpha 9 Gen4 used in the C1 and G1.
Like the B series, we're surely looking at a lower brightness than the more expensive models, and it appears to be the case that LG is dropping at least some of the PlayStation 5-friendly HDMI 2.1 support that's made the LG BX such a hit in our list of the best gaming TVs. In its small print about the new models, it says that the line "four ports supporting the latest HDMI specifications" only applies to the LG C1 and G1 – not the A1. Whether that means fewer HDMI 2.1 ports or none at all hasn't been confirmed yet.
Indeed, if the A1 essentially turned out to be the BX with its HDMI wings clipped and a slightly less premium build, it wouldn't surprise us at all.
We'll bring you confirmation on the LG A1's details is as soon as we have more – if it really is a lower-cost OLED TV from a big name, without the compromises that have hit other OLED TVs that have tried to come in cheap, it could be the biggest TV hit of the year.
The year of Mini-LED
The A1 may have some stiff competition at the price range it's aiming for, thanks to the rise of Mini-LED. We explain why Mini-LED is the hottest tech of 2021 here, but basically: it means LCD TVs could offer contrast closer to what OLED achieves, but while also being much, much brighter for dazzling HDR… but not particularly expensive.
But the biggest challenge may come from LG itself. Its own QNED Mini-LED TVs may well overlap with its lower-end OLEDs, making for a very interesting set of buying decisions.