Today LG announced its high-end 2019 television sets. Not anything crucial like model names or prices—just that the sets were coming and they’d be nicer than what we already have. Also, we learned that they’d support Apple AirPlay and HomeKit. Yup, Samsung and Vizio aren’t the only TV makers playing nice with Apple this year.
There are a couple of differences between LG’s Apple move and what we heard from Samsung yesterday. Samsung’s sets will support streaming content directly from Apple’s iTunes store, no Apple TV required. LG’s TVs won’t do that. But they will support HomeKit, which means you could theoretically control your LG set with iOS, macOS, and Siri. Vizio also announced very similar Apple friendliness his morning.
I’m just grateful for the support for AirPlay 2 from both all three TV makers. The streaming protocol that allows you to toss audio or visuals from your Apple product to compatible devices has gotten extremely stable over the last few months. I have both AirPlay 2 and Chromecast on my TV at home, and every time I find AirPlay 2 to be the more consistent and stable technology. Building this in televisions seems like a no-brainer.
The Apple news wasn’t the only good news about LG’s new TVs. The new sets will now max out at a bit larger size than current models. The top OLED will be an 88-inch set supporting 8K resolution. It will also support HDMI 2.1 on all HDMI ports, which means it should be a little more future proof than current sets. HDMI 2.1 has a higher bandwidth than the 2.0 and 1.4 found on many TVs currently and should be able to stream 8K content natively when that content eventually exists. The top LED from LG will also support HDMI 2.1, and while that top set is also an 8K display, it will only be a 75-inch set.
In the demos we saw both 8K TVs had rich colors and sharp details. LG boasted that you’d be hard-pressed to see the pixels even when standing up close. I did not find this boast to be accurate, but I did have to practically touch my nose to the displays to see the pixels.
LG’s also making a move to make its TVs easier to calibrate—particularly you don’t want to pay someone to come calibrate your TV, or drop $1,500 or more on the necessary pattern generator required for calibration. What this means is LG will now store a wide range of calibration patterns right on the TV.
The only really annoying thing about today’s announcements from LG is that the coolest ones—Apple support and built-in calibration patterns—won’t be coming to older model LG TVs. The company insists the TV requires its A9 processor to handle the tasks.