What is the LG CX?
The 48-inch screen size is sure to please those who don’t have the room for a 55-inch screen size, or gamers looking for a well-specified gaming monitor. The CX includes all the features from last year, (but it drops Freeview Play, more on that later), plus there are some new image features that make the CX a strong model for 2020. We are reviewing the 65-inch version of the TV here, but you can expect a similar performance from the other screen sizes to what we find here.
The current pricing for the LG CX makes it even more competitive this year with the 48-inch listed at £1,499.99, the 55-inch is £1,799.99, the 65-inch we are reviewing is £2,799.99, and the 77-inch is £4999.99 at the time of this review in June 2020.
We guess the big question to answer here is whether the 2020 CX model is any better than the previously reviewed 2019 C9 OLED, which does at this time offer more in the way of catch-up services and a lower price point.
Related: Read our LG C9 Review
LG CX Video Review
Design, Connections and Control
The 65-inch has a very heavy stand which helps with keeping the whole panel sturdy and secure on your mounting surface. You can of course wall mount the CX using the industry-standard VESA mounting points. You would be hard-pressed to tell the 2020 C series from the 2018 and 2019 models in terms of design.
The connections are the same as last year, with LG still highlighting HDMI 2.1 connections, but you should be aware that these are 40Gbps and not 48Gbps. As a result, the CX can support eARC (enhanced audio return channel), VRR (variable refresh rate), ALLM (auto low latency mode), and 4K/120Hz.
We can see why LG has taken this approach as a 4K TV doesn't need any more features than those delivered by the HDMI connections fitted, but it would have been nice if they had made this clear in their marketing of the 2020 TVs.
The layout of the connections is sideways and rearward with a hardwired power chord. To the side are a CI slot and three HDMI 2.1 (40Gbps) inputs and a USB 3.0 port. Rearwards we have two USB 2.0 and one HDMI 2.1 (40Gbps) slots along with antenna and satellite ports, a LAN port, optical digital output and audio/headphone output.
Related: What is HDMI 2.1?
The CX continues to use the excellent Magic Remote, which remains an effective and intuitive controller for navigation of the webOS smart platform. The wand also allows for voice control via the built-in smart assistants, and there’s an excellent remote app. We really can't fault the remote control and it fits nicely with the price point and level of TV.
Features and Specs
There’s also support for 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) with wide colour gamut (DCI-P3/Rec.2020) and high dynamic range (HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma and Dolby Vision). LG still doesn’t support the HDR10+ dynamic metadata format but has added Dolby Vision IQ. This uses a light sensor built into the TV to measure the ambient light in the room and adjust the Dolby Vision dynamic tone mapping accordingly. This does have some processing switched on as default, that you may want to switch off. You will also need to access the AI Service menu situated in the general menu, to switch off the Auto Genre switch that will allow access to TruMotion. This is because TruMotion is greyed out in the default Dolby Vision IQ setting. Once you disable Auto Genre in the AI Service menu you can then switch off TruMotion for 'as intended' viewing.
LG has also added Filmmaker Mode this year, which provides users with an easy to select mode designed to ensure the content creator's vision is delivered exactly as they intended. The mode can be engaged automatically or manually selected, depending on your preference. It is listed in the picture settings for both SDR and HDR content (but not Dolby Vision).
The CX supports ThinQ AI smart features and includes built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The webOS smart platform does have Disney+ and Apple TV+ added this year, making it even more comprehensive in terms of video streaming services. However, one major issue this year is the lack of any UK catch-up TV services as LG has dropped the Freeview Play system for 2020. At the time of our review in June 2020, that includes all stand-alone catch-up apps, so no BBC iPlayer or other terrestrial apps.
LG continues to support CalMAN auto-calibration software and is the only manufacturer that applies the calibration settings at a hardware level. The CX can generate its own internal test patterns, but now the software can check the results of the calibration and produce graphs. We tested the LG CX with the latest CalMAN 2020 software and it worked well.
For gamers, there is already plenty of support including VRR, ALLM, 4K/120Hz and an extremely low input lag. New this year is NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility for a PC gaming experience free from screen tearing or other distracting visual artefacts.
The CX also features the HDR Gaming Interest Group’s HGiG Mode so gamers can enjoy high-quality visuals as game creators and developers intended when playing HDR games via consoles on their LG TV.
Related: What is Dolby Atmos?
In terms of the audio side of things, there's still support for Dolby Atmos, and the built-in sound system is decent quality.
We made two videos all about the LG CX and other models at CES 2020 which you can view here:
Out of the boxAs we always do within our reviews, we measured the out of the box picture presets to find those that get as close as possible to the industry standards. The idea is that a TV must get close to these standards in at least one of its picture modes so end users can see content as it was mastered and intended to be seen.
With the 2020 LG OLED TVs, we get Filmmaker mode which is a new picture preset that replaces the Technicolor option from the 2019 line-up. Filmmaker mode is designed to put the TV in the most accurate picture setting of Rec.709 colour, BT1886 gamma and D65 white for SDR content and BT.2020 colour, D65 white and ST2084 PQ for HDR content. It also switches off all unnecessary image manipulation settings such as TruMotion, noise reduction and so on, so you get the image as intended without any manufacturer processing.
We recommend the Filmmaker mode for all your out of the box viewing with the OLED light adjusted for your viewing environment. Out of the box it is set to 100nits which will be too dark for anyone not watching in a pitch-black room. You should adjust the OLED light adjustment to best suit your room and conditions.
We use Calman colour calibration software, a Murideo Seven Generator and Klein K-10A meter for measurement and calibration.
The greyscale tracking for an out of the box preset was good with just a few small errors at the brighter end of the scale. Red tracks a smidge too high with green tracking a little low, but no more than 5% at worst. This keeps the DeltaE errors for most of the track under the visible threshold of three, with a slight rise to around 3.5 from 80% stimulus. This doesn’t actually translate into any visible error or tint when watching TV or film content. So, Filmmaker mode would appear to be pretty accurate for an out of the box present.
Moving to the Rec.709 HD colour gamut results and we can see that once again Filmmaker mode is pretty accurate with only slight issues seen within the gamut results. Magenta has a hue error towards red and red is slightly oversaturated within the saturation tracking chart. However, the deltaE errors are under the visible threshold of three meaning that none of these issues is seen within TV and film content on screen.
We managed to get very similar results with the ISF Expert modes but these do have some picture enhancement and manipulation features like TruMotion switched on at default. If you use these modes you will need to remember to switch these off if you want to see content as intended.
CalibratedThere are two ways to calibrate the SDR picture modes on the LG CX, with CalMAN Autocal or using the manual controls. We performed a calibration with both techniques and managed to achieve the same results with no real differences in the end result graphs. As you can imagine we managed to get very accurate indeed with no visible issues seen at all.
Looking at the greyscale results we can see absolute accuracy is achieved with a maximum DeltaE error of 0.5 which is well below the visible threshold of three. Plus, gamma tracks perfectly for BT.1886 with no visible issues at all with TV and film viewing on the LG CX.
The Rec.709 colour gamut results are also excellent with an average DeltaE error of 0.91 and a maximum of 2 which once again is well below the threshold for errors to be visible at all. Not all the points within the saturation graph are absolutely bang on target, but the errors are so small as to be invisible. Onscreen colours look perfect with excellent skin tones adding to superb accuracy for SDR content.
The LG CX has HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR capabilities. We measured peak brightness at 659 nits at 1, 2, 5 and 10% windows in the most accurate image preset to the standards and D65 white. Full screen peak brightness was 140 nits and the CX has a strong Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) circuit when 100% white is displayed on screen.
The CX also follows the HDR standards for EOTF PQ tracking to the ST.2084 standard and tone maps for 1000 and 4000 nit content slightly differently (with Dynamic Tone Mapping switched off).
For 1000 nit content (above) it follows the standard closely before hard clipping at the peak brightness point of 659 nits.
With 4000 nit content (above), it again follows closely, but it does start to roll off earlier and more gently to allow more specular highlight details to remain visible before clipping at 659 nits peak. Using the Dynamic Tone Mapping setting with all HDR10 content follows the same rough results as 4000 nit content, but it can look brighter or darker depending on image attributes and the tone mapping algorithm.
The colour gamut tracking for saturation points to DCI-P3 within BT.2020 is also very good for an OLED TV. Obviously, the colour volume is a weak point for OLED, but colour accuracy is still good with nice saturation tracking that gets fairly close to where it should be at various points. This means that skin tones remain natural and life-like, with nicely saturated primaries.
We measured BT.2020 coverage at 73% XY and 79% UV with P3 measuring in at 96% XY and 99% UV.
Related: What is 4K HDR Tone Mapping?
LG CX Picture Performance
Our assessment here is for the 65-inch version of the LG CX but performance attributes should be very similar across the range of CX TVs and they all have the same features available.
The CX naturally replaces the outgoing C9 in the LG OLED line-up for 2020 and as such it adds a few new features, but overall there isn’t a massive leap ahead in the actual OLED picture quality stakes. As you can see from our measurements the CX is accurate in terms of SDR and HDR content, with good greyscale and colour performance, along with a decent, if not brilliant peak brightness for HDR and very good tone mapping solutions for varied content.
Filmmaker mode is a welcome addition in place of Technicolor and it does exactly what it should do. This means that the TV is in the correct Rec.709 colour, D65 white and BT1886 gamma modes for SDR with all unnecessary processing, motion smoothing and noise reduction settings switched off and the correct aspect ratio is also applied. It also does the same for HDR putting the TV in D65 white, BT.2020 colour and ST.2084 PQ for HDR10. This is a one-button press solution for consumers to set the TV in the best possible picture mode, with the option to add brightness to suit their environment with the OLED light adjustment.
Filmmaker is a mode we have been pushing the industry to add for years, so it is nice to see that the UHDA has managed to get all the major and important TV brands on board with this initiative. With all the various content we tested in the out of the box Filmmaker preset we were extremely happy with the accuracy and performance of such a mode.
Also new for 2020 in terms of HDR viewing is Dolby Vision IQ which is available in the Dolby Vision Cinema Home mode and uses a light sensor built into the TV to adjust the light output, but also retain the metadata of the scene to make sure that it still represents the creator's intent as much as possible. If, like me, you do not like any motion interpolation with your content you may be disappointed to initially find that TruMotion is greyed out in Cinema Clear mode, which is applying motion smoothing and sharpening.
To get around this you need to go into the main menu system and in the General menu go to AI Service and switch off the Auto Genre setting. Once you do this you should now be able to switch off TruMotion in the Dolby Vision IQ Cinema Home preset. As image purists, you might expect us to dislike any such approach, but we do acknowledge that most users don’t live in a grading suite with black walls and very little ambient lighting.
So this is a solution for a very real problem of end-users watching a TV during the day and we think it achieves its goals without changing the creator's intent in any drastic way. We would certainly support end-users using Dolby Vision IQ over the Vivid setting. Our feedback to LG though is to allow direct access to TruMotion without greying it out and forcing users to switch off what could be seen as an unrelated menu to gain back control.
Panel uniformity was decent at most brightness points with no obvious signs of colour shift, dirty screen effect or banding. However, on this review sample at 5% stimulus, we did see a dark patch on the left side of the screen and some banding in a pitch-black room. We didn’t, however, notice this during our testing with normal TV and film content in SDR and HDR.
We found just above black performance to be excellent with SDR content and, with new calibration controls for 2.5, 5 and 7.5% white adjustment, it is easy to dial in image accuracy. The same wasn’t quite true for HDR and Dolby Vision content where the brightness control is left at the default setting of 50. Here we did notice some floating blacks in certain test content and also near black flashing with some tricky scenes. We tested a scene from Stranger Things which is usually a favourite on self-emissive displays like OLED as it has a pitch-black environment. In this case, in episode six from season three, Eleven crosses to the Upside-Down to try and find someone and this transitions to her being in a pitch-black environment and walking in water. Usually, this looks incredible on an OLED TV, but we found there to be flashing artefacts, and some posterisation covering the entire screen at points. This was consistent and could be repeated within this scene.
However, it is also possible to mitigate this with some calibration adjustment, or just turning down the brightness a few notches to crush the blacks slightly. We will make sure this is fed back to LG. We must stress that these artefacts were only seen within some content in pitch black viewing, so while this is a problem that needs a firmware fix, it is far from being a deal-breaker or a major issue that affects all viewable HDR content. Plus, it can be mitigated while we wait for a fix.
Moving to the video processing provided by the α9 Gen3 AI-enhanced processor and we found the motion to be a big improvement on this year's LG CX. There are a few new features introduced with TruMotion, but even with that switched to off, the CX manages to correctly playback 24fps content without any induced judder and with the correct pulldown. Plus image blur only consists of that in the actual viewing material and is not introduced by the TV.
TruMotion has had a few tweaks for 2020 and the biggest plus point for OLED fans is that Black Frame Insertion (BFI) is now usable in various settings without introducing obvious flickering.
Accessed through the TruMotion menu you can find the various settings in the User options under the OLED Motion Pro option. There are four settings: Low which applies a 70% duty cycle; Medium which applies 50%; High which applies 50% plus black frame insertion; and Auto which automatically applies an optimised duty cycle based on real-time content analysis. We found Low and Medium worked well without any noticeable flicker, but we also noted that there was also no apparent improvement in motion resolution.
We also noticed there to be some interpolation added to the Low and Medium settings even with De-Blur and De-Judder at zero. High and Auto still have too much flicker to watch for any length of time, but it is nice to see progress with BFI. Of course, it should be pointed out that by using Motion Pro you reduce the light output so it is not recommended for use with HDR content.
Another feature within TruMotion is Cinema Clear which is designed to improve motion and resolution but without the side effects of motion interpolation and Soap Opera Effect (SOE). It would be fantastic if I could report that the final result does just that, but sadly to someone with eyes like mine that spot interpolation straight away on any 24fps material, it doesn’t quite work. So in my case, I would still have TruMotion switched off with film content, but it’s nice to see LG trying to push the technology to reduce the soap opera effect downsides. With normal TV and sports, it will work better for most viewers, but not with film content.
The HDMI inputs this year are HDMI 2.1 but at 40Gbps instead of 48Gbps as seen within tests using our new Murideo Seven Generator. We also noted that within the EDID information extracted from the CX that there is no support for DTS audio decoding onboard.
We are also moving over to the Murideo Seven Generator for input lag testing as it is far more accurate and flexible than the Leo Bodnar meter, which requires messy workarounds to measure 4K signals. So from this review onwards, we will be using the Seven Generator exclusively for input lag measurements, which we can do at any resolution and refresh rate.
We managed a result in 1080p and 2160p at 60 of 13ms (inc HDR) and at 1080/120 (inc HDR) at 6ms.
Of course, the LG CX is set up for modern gaming with features that will be useful to many end-users including VRR (variable refresh rate), ALLM (auto low latency mode) and an HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) setting under the Dynamic Tone Mapping sub-menu in the Game mode. Plus, LG 2020 TVs are the first to be G-Sync validated by NVIDIA and on top of that LG are planning to add support for AMD’s FreeSync VRR via a firmware update sometime later in the year (but don’t buy this TV expecting that to happen, you should only ever buy a product on what it can do now).
Gaming on the CX is a great experience, even if you get killed as much as I do and HDR looks stunning at times. However, as this is an OLED you should also be aware of the possibility of image retention and use the mitigation built-in to the TV to avoid this ending up as screen burn, especially when using it with HDR games. But with that in mind, the gaming performance on OLED is great!
The LG CX is a superb OLED TV with accurate image quality in SDR and HDR. I watched a number of 4K UHD Blu-rays while I had the TV here for review and it never missed a beat with the majority of content. Jaws has recently been released on the format with a new HDR grade in Dolby Vision with a Dolby Atmos remix and it looks and sounds sublime on the CX. Colours are saturated but natural with superb skin tones adding believability to proceedings. Blacks are deep with good shadow detailing to add depth to the image and there are copious amounts of detail on view. Close-ups on faces reveal every pore and line, with superb definition and grain visible, as it should be.
Being an OLED with pixel-level control the stops of dynamic range available are excellent and make films like John Wick pop with sumptuous deep blacks, excellent shadow details and specular highlights with superb detail on offer in Dolby Vision. Motion is also excellent with no issues with induced judder seen with 24fps material. The tone mapping of HDR10 content is also very good and we didn’t mind using the Dynamic Tone Mapping as it doesn’t really differ any more from the intent of the content, given all TVs tone map differently to the standard. With 4000 nit content, there was also excellent highlight retrieval with no unnecessary dimming of the image overall to achieve this.
Our only slight issue with some HDR content was the default brightness setting of 50 introducing some floating blacks and flashing with certain content. This can be mitigated with some adjustments and has also been reported back to LG, so hopefully, it will be resolved with a firmware fix. As it can be mitigated easily we will allow LG some slack to fix this issue.
Overall, the CX is yet another superb OLED TV for gaming, sports and movie fans with excellent accurate images in SDR and HDR.
- Very good image accuracy out of the box
- Excellent Filmmaker mode
- Dolby Vision IQ
- Superb calibrated accuracy
- CalMAN AutoCal
- Excellent HDR images
- Dolby Atmos
- HDMI 2.1 inputs (40Gbps)
- 4K/120 support
- The gaming performance and input lag
- Excellent build quality
- No Freeview Play and Catch-up Apps inc. BBC iPlayer
- No DTS audio decoding or HDR10+ compatibility
- Some small issues with floating blacks and flashing with some content
LG CX (OLED65CX) 4K OLED TV Review
The LG CX is an impressive OLED TV that doesn’t make massive strides ahead of the C9, but does add some good new features. This includes the new α9 Gen 3 AI processor, Filmmaker Mode and Dolby Vision IQ. There’s also a host of new gaming features, HDMI 2.1 inputs (40Gbps), and improved CalMAN auto-calibration. The webOS smart platform now includes Disney+ and Apple TV+ and for non-UK territories, it offers excellent app support.
In the UK, however, there is no Freeview Play for catch-up services on terrestrial channels and as of June 2020 LG states, “LG and Digital UK were unable to reach an agreement for a Freeview Play device in time for the roll out of LG’s 2020 TV range. However, we are currently in positive discussions with the Freeview Play team and both parties are hopeful that we will be able to come to an agreement for our 2021 models.” When pushed to state when BBC iPlayer and other terrestrial apps would be added they continued, “Unfortunately at this current moment we’re unable to confirm if and when terrestrial apps will be coming to the 2020 models, however, we hope to have an update on this soon.” These issues can be mitigated by using an offboard streaming device, but it would be nice if LG could confirm soon which apps will be turning up on the 2020 sets.
Gaming wise it is also hard to beat what the CX offers this year for connectivity, support and input lag results at 1080, 4K and 120fps settings. While an OLED TV is more susceptible to image retention if used in bright image modes and with static images left on-screen for hours at a time, the new panels are more resistant to burn and there are also better mitigation technologies and wash cycles to help with this. So if you follow the advice and use the correct image brightness settings with HDR gaming, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. It’s about using common sense and being aware of the possibilities.
Overall, while we did find a few small issues with the CX we feel these should be rectified by LG following feedback and they can also be mitigated in the meantime, which means they shouldn’t impact too much on the use of the CX. The main issue the TV does have is that the outgoing C9, which does have Freeview Play for UK users, is currently available at a reduced price point compared to the CX. Which you decide to go for will be a personal choice for you, but the CX is a strong OLED for 2020 and still manages to snag a Highly Recommended badge for its accurate image quality, gaming features and improved motion.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease of Use
Value for Money
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