In the battle for cheap OLED TVs in 2021, you've got to be looking at the LG B1 vs LG BX. Later in the year, the company will introduce an even cheaper model, the LG A1, but for now B means Budget for LG.
The LG BX was the company’s entry-level OLED TV last year, and the LG B1 is the 2021 version. Despite the 2021 range including the all-new A1 model, the B1 will still be the lowest-priced OLED in the line-up to support all the latest HDMI 2.1 gaming features.
However, with the BX enjoying significant price reductions, are there enough improvements to justify buying the newer model or should you save money with the 2020 version? The BX found itself comfortably in our list of the best TVs, after all, particularly if you're looking for the best 65-inch TVs or best 55-inch TVs.
If you're wondering about whether to buy now or wait for the B1, we'll break down what we know about the differences so far, so you can make a more informed decision. And don't forget we have our full LG BX review, if you want to dig further into that model alone.
LG B1 vs LG BX: Price & features
The LG BX comes in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes and, as the entry-level model in the 2020 line-up, has enjoyed a number of decreases in price as the launch of its replacement approaches. As a result, you can officially pick up the OLED55BX for £989, and the OLED65BX for £1,439.
The LG B1 has yet to be released and pricing hasn’t been officially announced for the UK and US, but one significant difference is that the new model will be adding a 77-inch screen size to the established 55- and 65-inch options. This will make the B1 the cheapest way to enjoy super-sized OLED action.
The prices for the LG B1 have been unveiled for Germany, though, which gives us an idea of what to expect. The OLED55B1 is launching at €1,800, the OLED65B1 will be €2,700, and the OLED77B1 will be €5,000. For comparison, the 55-inch BX launched at £1,400/£1,600/€1,800, and the 65-inch BX launched at £2,300/$2,300/€2,800, so we're likely to see similar prices at first to last year's models at launch.
LG B1 vs LG BX: Design & connections
The LG BX and B1 share extremely similar designs, with the same super-slim look and single-foot stand that LG has favoured recently. Because OLED panels are extremely thin, it makes for a very svelte set, except for where it widens to allow for containing the important electronics.
The B1 and BX offer the same in terms of connections, with two sideways HDMI 2.1 inputs, and a pair of rearwards HDMI 2.0 inputs. One of the HDMI 2.1 inputs supports eARC (enhanced audio return channel), and both can handle next-gen gaming features, including 4K 120Hz, Variable Refresh Rate, and ALLM, which automatically puts the TV into its low-lag gaming mode when it detects a connected console. These features make the BX one of the best gaming TVs for its price, and we've no doubt the B1 will follow.
As for other connections, both sets include three USB ports, terrestrial and satellite tuners, a digital optical output, a line output, a headphone socket, and an Ethernet port. They also support wireless connectivity including Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi, with Apple AirPlay 2 on board.
LG B1 vs LG BX: Picture quality
The LG BX is an impressively specified OLED TV for the price, making the most its rich contrast with support for HDR10, HLG HDR, and Dolby Vision IQ, which uses dynamic metadata to deliver superior HDR combined with a sensor to optimise the experience depending on ambient light.
There’s no support for the competing HDR10+ format, but Dolby’s is more popular, and is used by Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+, plus great 4K Blu-ray support. There’s also the dedicated Filmmaker Mode to ensure films are seen as the creator’s intended.
The BX uses LG's α7 Gen3 AI-enhanced processor for fine-tuning images. The result is some excellent upscaling for lower resolution content, and motion enhancements that are particularly useful with fast-paced sporting action. It's a really solid processor, if not quite at flagship level. The set also offers sub-10ms lag for gaming, which combines with the other features for make it top-tier for console or PC gaming overall.
The new LG B1 offers very similar features, but uses the new α7 Gen4 AI-enhanced processor, which is designed to deliver improved upscaling and greater colour accuracy. There’s also a new feature for gamers as well, with the Game Optimiser presenting all the gaming options in single convenient interface, making it easier to customise your gaming experience.
The difference in picture quality moving from one generation of processor to the next is likely to be subtle, rather than transformative. When it comes to the panel itself, we're expecting few difference, so it'll me more about how well LG can take advantage. Expect marginal gains.
LG B1 vs LG BX: Sound quality
The LG BX uses a pair of downward-firing speakers and two woofers, each with 10W of power. This results in a decent sonic performance, with the added of bonus of Dolby Atmos decoding producing a greater immersion through psychoacoustics that create the impression of extra width and height. The AI processor also analyses the audio signals, allowing the TV to enhance regular soundtracks closer what Atmos soundtracks achieve.
Once again, the new LG B1 employs a near-identical audio system and set of sound features to the BX, but thanks to the improved α7 Gen4 processor the overall audio experience should be subtly enhanced, LG says.
While audio will be perfectly passable on both, adding one of the best soundbars to your setup remains our advice with the LG BX, and likely will be the same for LG B1.
LG B1 vs LG BX: Smart TV
The BX boasts LG’s webOS smart platform, which has been the pre-eminent operating system for the last five years due to its comprehensive choice of streaming apps, and highly intuitive interface thanks to the magic remote, plus built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
However, webOS has lost some its dominance for UK buyers in the last year because LG dropped Freeview Play on its 2020 TVs, causing the company to re-certify the TV catch-up apps. As a result, last year’s models currently only include the BBC and ITV streaming services.
The new LG B1 includes webOS (6.0), which now uses a home page that fills the entire screen, rather than a launcher bar at the bottom, an upgraded user interface, and a redesigned magic remote. The really good news is that Freeview Play will return on the 2021 models, ensuring a complete set of TV catch-up services, and the ability to move back through the EPG.
LG B1 vs LG BX: Verdict
The LG BX remains a cracking 4K OLED TV that delivers exceptional picture and sound, combined with AI-enhanced processing, an impressive webOS smart system and plenty of useful features. The only complaint is the lack of certain UK catch-up TV apps, but otherwise it’s hard to fault.
The imminent release of the B1 means the older model currently enjoys some very competitive pricing, and given the BX offers similar design, features and performance, it’s certainly tempting. However, there are some exciting new features on the B1, including the 4th generation α7 processor, Game Optimiser, updated webOS, and the return of Freeview Play.
There is also one major difference when it comes to screen sizes, with the B1 adding a 77-inch version to the continuing 55- and 65-inch options. This makes the new 77B1 the perfect choice for anyone looking for a really big-screen OLED TV.
With the BX being as cheap as it is now, and the B1 looking like a subtle upgrade rather than a major change, we'd say anyone opting to save on the BX rather than waiting looks unlikely to regret it.