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LG’s Latest OLED AI TV Brings The Finer Things To Your Binging Of Stranger Things

LG C9 65-inch
The LG C9 65-inch OLED TV courtesy: LG Electronics

I’ve had a taste of the finer things

It’s a relationship from a bygone era.

My partnership with my 32-inch Sony Bravia LED TV. I bought it way back in 2010 with one of my very first paychecks. I was so excited to finally have my high-performance television so that I could game without having to use adapter jacks on my passed down cube tv.

When I moved in with my girlfriend, I couldn’t believe she didn’t have a TV. My trusty Sony TV is something we now agree we can’t live without in our lives. But thanks to LG, we’re ready to move on.

Recently, LG let us borrow their C9 to try out. It’s the latest model in the company’s flagship home entertainment line. At $2,700 to $9,000 [$2,700 for 55-inch, $3,799 for 65-inch, and $9,000 for 77-inch] it’s not so friendly on your wallet, but If you’ve got the money, the LG C9 promises to be helpful to you — quite literally in once case.

Accessibility is on point 

As a person with a disability, I was impressed with LG’s accessibility features. From the first step of initial settings, the unit greets you with a warm, pleasant, and very importantly, non-robotic voice. The on-board AI uses a clear voice filter to effectively understand and open applications like Prime Video, YouTube and Netflix. It also lets you control the TV functions like volume, power, inputs. If I had to improve this feature, I’d suggest adding a wake word to the remote so that users don’t have to push the microphone button. But with that said, the guide dots on the remote make it easy enough to find with touch.

There were two low-vision options I was particularly fond of: Magic Zoom and Menu Transparency. Magic Zoom lets you apply a scrollable magnifying glass to the screen that offers varying degrees of zoom up to 500%. It helps when reading small text on the screen and when viewing pictures. Menu Transparency provides the ability to change the opacity of pop-up menus, which I know will be helpful to those who need high-contrast settings to navigate visuals.

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If we’ve met, you know how much my hands shake. I was worried about using the remote’s on-screen pointer and wheel button function. However, variety in options for alternative buttons and pointer speeds used for controlling the aforementioned remote features removed any worries I had. Both my girlfriend and I loved using the on-screen pointer to browse through Netflix with ease.

Features of TVs offered with accessibility in mind have certainly come a long way from the era of my Bravia. Companies are now thinking about inclusive design features that come ready to use regardless of your ability level or accessible need. LG has shown clear leadership in this regard with options on the C9 like Clear Talk, Menu Transparency and Speed Control of Pointer. This unit is a perfect out-of-the-box solution for accessible entertainment.

A mode for everything:

One of my favourite parts about using the LG C9 is the way that the AI learns about you and adapts. And how even if it doesn’t tailor settings to your liking, switching things up is as simple as a few button pushes.  The result is a user interface and experience that is sure to make your life enjoyable — or at least more comfortable!

I found that the C9 was quickly able to detect which HDMI input I was using for my Xbox One. After asking me if I wanted to let it automatically assist in controlling settings, it applied a Game Mode.  The result of allowing the C9 to take control was an upscaled 120Hz, smooth 4K, and an Input lag that my eyes could not detect.

An example of how OLED Black works
How OLED Black works Courtesy: LG Electronics

My eyes delighted in one of the warmest colour gamuts I’ve ever seen come from a TV. I was also drawn into the dark by the OLED Black picture contrast.  The C9 removes some of the components present in modern LCD TVs and refines colours instead of filtering them. What you get out of this process is a more authentic black. It’s one that is intensely dark but also allows for colours to show their pure form in more ominous landscapes.

 

For example, while playing games set during shadowy nights like Batman: Arkham Knight and Middle Earth: Shadow of War, I had no trouble seeing a breadth of my surroundings. The reason for this is that warmer reds and yellows stand out against the black, while cooler blues and purples stand visible. On my Sony, these games appear hard to see even with the brightness maxed because there is no contrast to the black.

Gamers are usually willing to invest in the best equipment to help them get the most out of their gaming, and the C9 is among the best visual options for gamers. Its performance and ease of use are sure to impress even the pickiest of players.

Dolby does Hawkins right

Those looking for a better TV for streaming are also sure to enjoy the LG C9. I say this in large part thanks to Dolby Digital access and the AI’s ability to alter and upscale. I found that despite the size of the tv and the quality of the Netflix stream, the LG 55C9’s a9 Gen2 processor was able to keep the images from season three of Stranger Things looking clear and free from visual noise.

Sound quality is another thing the C9 does so very well. The a9 Gen 2 processor also handles audio output with the help of Dolby Atmos. The sound we got while watching the happenings of Hawkins was rich, room-filling, and only on about volume 12. LG claims that the AI takes note of what audio genre is playing and mixes it in 5.1 for the best sound outcome. They also claim that the TV is spatially aware of its surroundings — thus creating enhanced acoustics. I’m not going to pretend to know how this works — even though I work in radio — but it works!

How LG AI Sound works
How LG AI Sound works Courtesy: LG Electronics

 

The C9 features help from Google Assistant, ThinkQ AI, Alexa, and now Apple HomeKit, so there’s plenty of automated ways to access the content you want. This openness to AI assistants is sure to be a key feature for many smart home enthusiasts.

Everything built in

While the performance aspects of the C9 have vastly improved over its many iterations, it’s build quality is something that hasn’t. Much like last year’s AI model, the C9 is all about that base. The internals live in a compartment at the back that is a whopping 40 pounds. However, this awkward weight dispersion is forgivable because there’s no fat excess fat on this TV at all.

Heed my words. It’s going to take two people to set this TV up — especially if you are setting it up on a table. The instructions out of the box mostly pertain to safe lifting and don’t at all help you set up the base plate. It’s going to take one person to hold it all together, and another one to put in the screws. Once you have yourself a baseplate though, you will no doubt find comfort in the added cable management system the unit has built-in. The polished steel front foot stands elegantly alongside a thin bezel and even thinner overall profile. The C9 is one eloquently built beast.

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Too much of a good thing

Using the LG C9 has spoiled my girlfriend and I. The moment we plugged the old Sony back in, we both agreed our entertainment would never be the same without a TV like the C9. We were  both seeing red at the lack of performance the Bravia puts out — rater we were seeing reddish oranges because of the colour gamut. I guess it’s time to get saving for something new. I can’t stress enough that the performance and ease of use presented by the LG C9 entertainment system are sure to be life-changing.

Editor’s note: LG Electronics provided the loan of an LG 55C9 for this review. It has since been returned.