LG’s C9 OLED TV models have been on the market for a year, but there is no trace of fatigue. The 77-inch variant is the largest possible variant.
In our HDTV issue 4/2019 we not only tested LG’s 2019 OLED TV generation in detail, but also brought you closer to the quality advantages of OLED technology. In the test of the 77-inch version, we therefore do without extensive test laboratory analyzes, but instead we focus on the most important functions. In contrast to most 4K TVs that you can currently find on the market, LG is fighting the aging trend with the 2019 OLED TVs: The 77C9 is better than ever and does not have to fear competition in 2020 either.
More and more possibilities
The basic components of the 77C9 are well known: TV fans can use the twin tuners to achieve up to 4K HDR quality when receiving programs, and connected USB data carriers enable program recording and time shift, whereby you can change channels during a recording. Picture-in-picture playback lets you display TV content and HDMI sources side by side, and connected sources are usually automatically recognized and set up by the TV to enable CEC control via the TV remote control. The possibilities of Internet streaming are even more impressive: Integrated apps such as Youtube, Netflix, Amazon or the newly added Apple TV access enable 4K HDR playback including 3D audio support such as Dolby Atmos. If in the case of Apple TV it doesn’t work with 3D surround sound, LG promises a suitable software update. The app for Disney + is also in the starting blocks, so that film and series fans with the C9 do not need any external sources. To achieve a full-fledged home cinema sound experience without an AV receiver, you can use WiSA components that are hardly known in Germany. The optionally available module for wireless WiSA control is connected to the TV via USB and all active home theater speakers can be used wirelessly as long as they also support the WiSA standard. Conventional home cinema systems, on the other hand, benefit from the TV’s eARC-HDMI connection, which allows 3D audio signals to be reproduced in the best quality via an AV receiver or a sound bar.
For PC and console players, LG also covers the most important functions to increase playability and picture quality to an excellent level. So you can play not only 60 Hz but also 120 Hz signals via HDMI. While the C9 OLED TV supports 4K resolutions in HDR quality (HDMI 2.1 standard), current consoles (e.g. Xbox One X) and PC graphics cards are still at 1 440p-120 due to HDMI 2.0 restrictions -Hz HDR quality limited. If you play with 120 Hz signals, the OLED display achieves the lowest input delay of just under 7 milliseconds (approx. 13 ms with 60 Hz signals) and the motion picture sharpness is excellent. The benefits of the pixel response time of the OLED panel can be skillfully exploited with real 120 frames per second and the quality advantage is enormous compared to a 60 Hz feed. The huge picture area and super-smooth, detailed picture reproduction with high-performance PCs creates a hypnotic picture effect that puts all previous gaming experiences with PS4 and Xbox One in the shade. Thanks to the support of variable frame rate adjustment according to the HDMI VRR standard (Xbox One) or according to G-Sync specification (PC with Nvidia graphics card), there are no annoying image errors even with fluctuating number of frames per second. Especially with high-end PC hardware and an Nvidia RTX2080 Ti, the 77C9 demonstrated the best picture quality and playability that can currently be implemented with a television and even a multitude of sinfully expensive LCD professional monitors fall behind in comparison. Tip: If the setup of the source in PC mode (activation via the connection diagram) does not work as desired, you should check the HDMI Ultra HD setting in the picture settings.
The way to the optimum
The improvements show in detail that LG has learned from the critical tests of recent years: Even in PC mode, you can use the C9 to optimize the image balance exactly or achieve a natural image reproduction in game mode. This not only avoids loss of detail or an exaggerated sharpened display with artificial contrast enhancement, but you can also manually adjust the color temperature of the TV, which is usually too yellow or bluish in the delivery state. Despite the low input delay, helpers such as dynamic HDR adjustment for HDR10 signals (including HLG signals) are available to avoid too dark HDR playback or unnecessary loss of detail. If you instead want to optimally tune the HDR playback via the gaming source, you can use the new HGiG mode, which bypasses the HDR tone mapping of the TV, which leads to severe loss of detail without adjusting the source. If there are no HDR sources available, you can gradually increase the brightness of the white light by using the “highest brightness” option: rich colors do not appear more brilliant, but less saturated details gain brightness. Speaking of luminosity: The 77C9 does not come close to the brightness records of some OLED TV models, but the larger the display, the more the different OLED TV models adapt. In the default setting “Clear”, the intermediate image calculation delivers a more acceptable result than with older LG OLED TVs, although dropouts and artifacts still offer enough scope for optimization. The reproduction of the darkest image areas is also more precise, so that block artifacts and visible gradation effects have been reduced compared to the 2017 and 2018 OLED TV generations (LG even published further software updates for optimization for the 2018 OLED TVs). Inferior quality streaming content benefits from the C9’s smoothing filter, which is no longer coupled to MPEG artifact reduction, which enables the smoothing function to be switched on without blurring the overall picture too much. Even if you don’t see any big differences in performance with the OLED panel compared to older TV models at first glance and afterglow effects with the C9 still occur, the direct comparison with a C7 model is an eye opener: The C9 offers the better Illumination, the more precise reproduction in dark areas of the image, the better image adjustment options and the more effective filters to make poorer sources acceptable. So if you are tingling with your fingers after just two years of watching TV, you will definitely not be disappointed by the C9.
2020 still up to date?
Despite the enormous possibilities and advantages offered by the 77C9, the question naturally arises as to what potential for improvement will the CX successor 2020 offer. In addition to the slightly improved image processor of the CX-OLED TV, which should enable even more precise HDR image post-processing and adjustment, LG wants to optimize the black image overlay Clear Motion: The C9 only enables dark images with a 60 Hz flicker effect, while the CX – Successor should optimize the motion picture sharpness almost flicker-free. We are curious whether LG can eradicate the automatic darkening of the C9 with the successor model, because if you play dark content without changing the contrast for several minutes, the image of the C9 appears increasingly fluffy. Only a change of contrast or the fade-in of on-screen elements helps the reproduction to its original brilliance. The overall picture quality differences will not be large, so that the 77C9 will be the biggest competitor of the future CX model, especially at current market prices. Whether just under 5,000 euros is appropriate for a 77-inch OLED TV is a question of consideration: for the amount of the 77C9, you can purchase two 65C9 models including a gaming console. Conversely, the 77C9 is now almost 3,000 euros cheaper than the market launch and, despite modern HDMI 2.1 technology, cheaper than other 77-inch OLED televisions with poorer features. Since 2020, many LED LCDs with 4K resolution will be slimmed down compared to the previous models in terms of image quality and high-end components are usually reserved for the new 8K LCD models, the 77C9 is also a cross-technology leader when it comes to the best 4K – Bring quality into the living room. How to turn it around: If you want to use a 4K television with the sources of the present and future, you cannot avoid LG’s 77C9 even in 2020.
Settings for a natural picture
- Picture mode: cinema, technicolor, ISF or game
- AI image: as desired
- OLED light: as required
- Contrast: 100
- Brightness: 50
- Sharpness: 20
- Color depth: 50
- Hue: 0
- Dyn. Contrast: Off or Low
- Dynamic Tone Mapping: On (HDR source only)
- Super Resolution: Medium
- Color gamut: Automatic or Advanced (SDR)
- Color filter: off
- Gamma: 2.2 or 2.4
- Color temperature: Warm 2 or Warm 1
- Greatest brightness: as desired
- Noise Reduction: Off
- MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
- Smooth gradation: low
- Black level: low
- Real cinema: On (24p content, Trumotion Off)
- Trumotion: Clear or Off (Clear Motion: Off)
- AI brightness: as desired (HDR source only)
- Aspect Ratio: 16: 9 or Original, Just Scan: On
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