Korean electronics manufacturer LG hasn’t been on the TV scene for long, but the company is already an established innovator that consistently delivers new ways to enjoy TV. In fact, LG is one of the top TV makers in the world – only rival Samsung comes close to delivering the picture quality of LG’s most capable sets. Where other manufacturers skimp on features, LG comes through with dozens of “how did I live without this my entire life?” features like OLED panels and built-in soundbars. The bottom line: whether you need an absolute top-of-the-line TV or just an affordable TV that doesn’t compromise, you can never go wrong with an LG.
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If you’re in the market for an LG TV, check out our shopping guide to learn about the unique features (and a few pitfalls) of LG TVs, then review the grid above to determine which LG TV is best for you.
OLED vs. LED
One of LG’s biggest TV innovations is the use of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display panels.
OLED panels deliver a far superior picture than traditional light-emitting diode (LED) panels.
LED panels are used in the majority of TVs available. With an LED display, each light in the panel is responsible for a cluster of pixels. In addition, LED displays have limited viewing angles – sitting anywhere besides dead center means a degraded picture.
OLED panels display images with lights that are much smaller than LED lights and are able to light each pixel individually. As a result, color display on OLED TVs is vibrant and more accurate. OLED displays have superior viewing angles, so everyone in the room can see the TV easily.
Did you know?
LG is one of a small handful of TV manufacturers that offer TVs with OLED screens at this time.
The brains behind the operation: LG’s WebOS
Most LG TVs are so-called “smart TVs,” which means they have streaming capabilities built-in so you can watch your favorite TV shows and movies (or display content from your phone) without having to buy any additional hardware. LG’s smart TV interface, WebOS, is an app-based platform where you can find an assortment of games and video sources from all over the globe, as well as the usual suspects of streaming video like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, Vudu, and YouTube.
While many users love the simplicity of WebOS, others opt to buy separate streaming media boxes like the Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV. Each approach has pros and cons, so be sure to consider your choice carefully.
Using WebOS means that you can control both the TV and the streaming app with the same remote, which reduces clutter. WebOS also has a lot going for itself visually: the navigation structure is intuitive, and it’s designed so that you’re never more than a few clicks away from streaming video. That said, TVs typically last a long time, which means that any smart TV would likely continue to work well beyond the point where LG has stopped supplying software and security updates.
Using a streaming media player generally means getting a faster, more capable interface that will be updated regularly. While it does require an additional remote, it can also be necessary for accessing certain content. For example, if you want to stream movies from iTunes to your LG TV, you’ll need an Apple TV.
LG TVs: unique features
LG TVs have some unique innovations as well as some features that aren’t worth writing home about. As you’re shopping for your LG TV, consider the exclusive features you won’t find on other TVs.
LG remotes are often described as wands because they operate with motion controls as well as traditional buttons. They look and work like Nintendo’s Wii Remote controllers. That is, they can be useful, and you’ll also find yourself waving your arms in front of your TV a lot to navigate through its menus.
Some users love the approach – and for those who don’t, LG TVs have infrared ports that work well with most universal remotes.
“All LG TVs can be easily mounted with the proper size VESA mount. However, LG places their VESA mounting holes on the lower end of the back of the TV; they’re not centered like those found on most TVs. If you choose to mount your LG TV, remember to measure carefully so the bracket on the wall is at the appropriate height.”
All modern TVs feature the ability to adjust the refresh rate, and LG brands this functionality in their TVs as “TruMotion.” When you’re watching TV, you can turn on TruMotion, and it will increase the refresh rate to deliver a more realistic picture.
TruMotion shines with movies and sports that have a lot of movement, but it can be distracting with shows and movies that are more dialogue-driven, leading some to describe it as “the soap opera effect.”
TruMotion can be toggled on or off at any time, so it’s easy to use when you need it and disable when you don’t.
HDR Pro can be a pretty confusing term. LG uses it to describe their technology that simulates a HDR effect on non-HDR TVs. In reality, this means that models that feature HDR Pro are 8-bit panels that can’t display true 10-bit HDR images – so when you watch HDR content, you’re seeing a near approximation of the content in HDR.
If you can afford to, buy an LG TV that truly supports HDR.
Did you know?
LG TVs include built-in sleep timers, so you can set a nightly shut-off time for your TV or simply set a shut-off countdown timer.
LG TV prices
While some TV manufacturers base their pricing primarily on screen size, LG bases it on features and functionality.
In the $300 to $999 range, you’ll find all of LG’s 1080p TVs and a handful of 4K TVs.
On the low end of the range, expect to see smaller screens and TVs that aren’t smart; on the high end, you’ll find giant, full-featured 1080p sets alongside 4K sets that leave out premium features like HDR.
“Digital movie vendors like Amazon, Apple, and Vudu often base their pricing on the available movie resolutions. For example, purchasing a movie from Amazon Video in 4K will cost roughly 30% more than the cost of the same movie in 1080p resolution.”
In the $1,000 to $2,000 range, LG offers 4K TVs with LED panels. You can expect every TV in this range to be smart and to include just about every bell or whistle you can think of.
LG TVs in this price range are an incredible value; they punch well above their weight class and deliver a picture that rivals their competitors’ priciest models.
In the $2,000 to $3,500 range, expect to find LG’s OLED TV sets that are 55 inches and up.
OLED TVs create a picture that looks generations ahead of any other TV on the market – and a picture this good doesn’t come cheap.
Did you know?
When you play low-resolution content on a 4K LG TV screen, the TV upscales the image to improve picture quality. For example, with upscaling on, a classic 480p DVD can be made to look nearly as good as a 1080p Blu-ray.
Before buying an LG TV, consider these tips:
Buy a universal remote. LG’s wand-style remote is unique, but it’s not for everyone. The point-and-click interactions can get tiresome pretty easily. What’s worse, not all LG TV remotes are learning remotes (although some are), so if you plan on connecting a cable box, game console, or Blu-ray player, you’ll need to keep track of multiple remotes. Save yourself the hassle from day one and grab a universal remote when you buy your LG TV.
Keep your LG TV packaging. LG TVs come in large boxes with custom-fit styrofoam to hold everything in place. If you can, hang on to all of the boxes and packaging. They’ll be perfect for transporting your TV if you move or if you ever need to get it serviced.
If you plan on using your LG TV’s internet-connected features, use a WiFi guest network. By connecting your LG TV to the internet, you can unlock all types of streaming video, but that doesn’t mean you have to grant it access to your entire network. In general, it’s a good idea to isolate any smart appliances to a guest network to protect your privacy. If you’re not sure how to set up a guest WiFi network, consult your wireless router documentation.
Q. Do I need to buy new HDMI cables if I get a 4K LG TV?
A. Yes and no. In most cases, standard HDMI 1.4 cables are fine for watching 4K content on 4K TVs. However, newer HDMI 2.0 cables are required for displaying any 4K content that happens to be at 60 frames per second (fps). If you’re a hardcore gamer, playing at 60 fps is likely a priority. Similarly, Netflix’s 4K content in HDR also plays at 60 fps. The bottom line: if gaming and HDR aren’t priorities for you, any HDMI cable will do. If you’re ready to level-up to HDR or high-end gaming, pick up a few HDMI 2.0 cables when you buy an LG TV.
Q. Can I cast video from my phone or tablet to an LG TV?
A. Yes. LG Smart TVs work with most smartphones using a technology they dub “Smart Share Screen Sharing.” By creating a direct WiFi interface with your device (also known as WiDi, or Miracast), you can cast local media to any LG smart TV.
Q. Why are some 4K LG TVs so inexpensive while others are so pricey?
A. LG’s 4K TV product line is designed to provide 4K TVs at all different price points, and they do that by varying the feature set widely between models. For example, LG’s most affordable 4K TVs sometimes only have one input that supports a 4K source, and sometimes they won’t include any smart TV technology. Similarly, LG’s most expensive 4K sets are made with OLED panels, support HDR, and in some cases, include high-end soundbars.