LG's 2019 TVs add HDMI 2.1 and 8K

The new HDMI standard adds key features even if you're not buying into 8K.

CES 2019 hasn't started yet, but LG is already drip-feeding information about this year's OLED and LCD TVs. While it didn't mention the rollable OLED we're expecting, it did list model numbers for two 8K sets, with an 88-inch Z9 OLED and SM99 8K LCD TV on the way.

There's no word on price yet, but the big confirmation is that thanks to HDMI 2.1 ports, all of its 2019 OLED TVs and "selected" NanoCell LCD TVs will support high frame rate (HFR) 120fps video inputs. Other features in the new standard include an enhanced audio return channel (eARC) as well as variable refresh rate (VRR) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM) to keep gamers happy. If you're snagging one of the new 8K TVs, you'll just be pleased to know you won't have to plug in four HDMI cables to get everything connected.

The NanoCell name is a new brand for LG's high-end LCD TVs (SM9X and SM8X) with enhanced color, viewing angles and thin bezels. As usual, LG is also talking up its AI capabilities with Thinq technology, and a new Prime Video button on its Magic Remote that ties in directly to Amazon's Alexa routines.


This year's version of LG's AI platform is said to support conversational voice requests, while the α9 Gen 2 processor inside the screens applies deep learning techniques to video processing by adjusting standard and HDR video to match lighting in a room as well as using the latest in Dolby Vision tech. LG also claims it can "convincingly" upmix stereo audio to virtual 5.1 while also intelligently setting sound levels based on its positioning in the room.

We've come to expect a lot from LG's new TVs over the years -- they've dominated our Best of CES awards -- and we'll look carefully next week to see if they can again take things to a new level.