It seems that the 4K OLED & UHD TVs from LG’s 2020 lineup do not support the full HDMI 2.1 specification. The chips are said to “only” deliver a maximum data rate of 40 Gbit / s.
The confusion surrounding the HDMI 2.1 standard is endless. For example, Sony is said to have already installed HDMI 2.1-capable chipsets in its TV sets from 2018 and 2019, but does not activate these functions. Samsung’s 2020 QLED TVs also support 4K / HDR / 120fps video signals at 4: 4: 4 chroma, but are not officially advertised with HDMI 2.1. As a customer, it is currently not so easy when you are looking for a future-proof TV set. Now interface pioneer LG Electronics even seems to have “cheated” on TV sets.
LG TV from 2019 support full HDMI 2.1
LG has been advertising its OLED and Premium UHD (NanoCell) TVs with the HDMI 2.1 interface since the 2019 lineup. The previous year’s devices should also be able to take full advantage of the interface. However, LG has now admitted to Forbes magazine that most of the new 2020 TVs (4K & UHD) are not able to use the full bandwidth of the HDMI 2.1 connections with 48 Gbit / s. The 48 Gbit / s are required to process uncompressed 4K image signals with 120fps, 12-bit color depth and 4: 4: 4 chroma.
OLED & Nanocell from 2020 were “slimmed down”
All HDMI 2.1 inputs of the WX, GX and CX models support “only” 10-bit color depth, 4: 4: 4 chroma at 4K / 120fps. This corresponds more to a data rate of around 40 Gbit / s. Only the 8K models ZX (OLED) NANO99, NANO97 and NANO95 are each equipped with two HDMI 2.1 connections, which can process the full 48 Gbit / s. The TV sets that are equipped with an Alpha 7 (Gen2) image processor, i.e. BX (OLED), NANO91, NANO90 and NANO86, are each with two “trimmed” 40 Gbit / s HDMI 2.1 connections and two HDMI 2.0b connections (4K / 60fps with 10bit and 4: 4: 4).
HDMI 2.1 overview – LG TV:
|model||HDMI 2.1 |
(48 Gbit / s)
|HDMI 2.1 |
(40Gbit / s)
|HDMI 2.0b |
(18 Gbit / s)
|2020 ZX 8K OLED||2x||2x||–|
|2020 Nano99 8K LCD||2x||2x||–|
|2020 Nano97 8K LCD||2x||2x||–|
|2020 Nano95 8K LCD||2x||2x||–|
|2020 WX 4K OLED||–||4x||–|
|2020 CX 4K OLED||–||4x||–|
|2020 GX 4K OLED||–||4x||–|
|2020 BX 4K OLED||2x||2x|
|2020 NANO91 4K LCD||–||2x||2x|
|2020 NANO90 4K LCD||–||2x||2x|
|2020 NANO86 4K LCD||–||2x||2x|
|2019 Z9 8K OLED||4x||–||–|
|2019 SM99 8K LCD||4x||–||–|
|2019 W9 4K OLED||4x||–||–|
|2019 C9 4K OLED||4x||–||–|
|2019 E9 4K OLED||4x||–||–|
|2019 B9 4K OLED||4x||–||–|
From the customer’s point of view, it is absolutely incomprehensible why LG “watered down” the HDMI 2.1 feature in the 2020 lineup. LG Electronics is said to have opted for the lower HDMI specifications because there is no content on the market that could use the 48 Gbit / s each. We even agree with LG on this point. LG also addressed its customers in an official statement in Forbes magazine:
“Based on the market situation, LG decided to reallocate the hardware resources of 2020 chipsets to optimize the AI functions including the CPU and GPU, which means that the full bandwidth is only available via two HDMI connections of the 2020 8K TV series (ZX series, NANO99, NANO97, NANO95) can be accessed in full. The rest of the ports on 8K TVs and all HDMI 2.1 ports on 4K TVs have less bandwidth than 48 Gbps, but support up to 4K / 120fps, 4: 4: 4 chroma with 10-bit color depth. We apologize for not sharing this information with you earlier. ”
Sensible reallocation of resources
In the end, it should bring the customer much more if the resources of the CPU and GPU for functionalities, such as the improvement of image and audio quality using AI (Artificial Intelligence). At this point in time, we cannot imagine that signal sources will be made available for private households that support uncompressed 4K / 120fps material with 12-bit and full 4: 4: 4 color subsampling. Active communication from LG Electronics to its customers would have been desirable, but the company has certainly made a conscious decision to make the changes without informing the press and potential buyers about it.
2019 models are still a good choice
In the end it stays that way. In our opinion, the OLED and NanoCell TVs with 4K and 8K resolution remain a top choice, especially because of the HDMI 2.1 interface and the good image performance. If the fact of the “slimmed down” HDMI 2.1 connection causes stomach stinging, you can also confidently bring a model from the previous year (Z9, B9, C9, E9, W9 etc.) into the house. In our eyes, the differences to the 2020 lineup are only marginal.