Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2017
Last year, I gave all 2016 Oleds five star reviews because each model provided the same fast operating system and excellent Oled display, the differences mostly depending on appearances and pricing. The same concept applies in 2017, where another year has arrived bringing with it a new series of HDR 4K capable LG OLEDs, all sharing the same updated Operating system and providing the latest updated Oled display. Pending some sort of recall or manufacturing error, every 2017 out of the box improves on last years models in different and subtle ways. So the question isn't whether or not 2017 Oleds are five star TV's (which they are), the main questions really are what's new, and is it worth your money? First and foremost, let me say that unlike my review on 2016 models last year (of which I am a current 65 in E6 owner) where I stressed to wait for a 2016 model, the same recommendation doesn't apply with the 2017 Oled Models. The reason being that 2016 improved greatly on 2015 models all across the board, while 2017 Oleds may have improved in most aspects but not enough to outdate or make last year's models irrelevant.
Having followed Oleds for years now and watching pricing trends and sales over time, it is clear that the last 1-2 years have been the best times to buy an Oled. One of the first 65 in Oleds ranged between $9,000-$11,000, where as now you can get a 2016 65in B6 for less than $3,000 if its on sale. So when making an OLED purchase, it is important to know the type of media you plan to play on the TV, the price range you are willing to spend, and know whether or not you are willing to wait until the end of the year sales. These questions will determine whether or not a 2016 model will work for you, and if you do choose to purchase a 2017 Oled, which model to purchase between the B7, C7, E7, G7, or W7. Just a note, all 2017 models share the same display and processor, so pricing differences really have to do with differences in sound and overall outer aesthetics. Also, the B7, C7, and E7 will come in 55 and 65 inch models, G7 and W7 will come in 65 and 77 inch. All models no longer have 3D integration and the C7 is no longer Curved, just an improvement on materials compared to the B7. Also it is important to note that Sony's and Panasonic's Oled models being released this year were provided their Oled display panel by LG since not many are aware.
Changes and improvements
Picture- 2017 models have been reported to reach 99 percent of the DCI color space. I am not sure what improvement or difference this has over the 2016 Oled lineup which featured ColorPrime Pro technology. This allowed 2016 Oleds to display 99% of the DCI-P3 expanded range of colors for better true to cinema visuals. I've yet to find information on what difference there is, but if I find more information I will update this review. For comparision the older 2015 models only covered less than 90% of DCI-P3 which really affected their abilities to play HDR content in the first place. In person, I see no discernable difference on a 65 inch W7 model compared to my E6, but again, this was TV displayed loop media, and it would help if a 2016 Oled was playing side by side for comparison.
Brightness- A big reason 2015 TV's had a hard time playing HDR content (beside the color spectrum) was the sustained and peak brightness levels. 2015 models could only reach 370 nits when pushed. 2016 models met the criteria for “Ultra HD Premium” which required at least a 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level. RTings website has a great breakdown on a variety of TV's sustained and peak brightness levels. According to them 2016 models can reach levels as high as 652 nits. For 2017, released specs state that this year's Oleds can reach peak levels of 1000 nits in brightness which really helps with HDR content. Although other TV models and technologies are able to produce brightness levels easily above 1000 nits, LG Oled's ability to decrease black levels in individual pixels to virtually off levels, while displaying rich and vibrant color images, creates enough contrast to generate superb HDR images and video. For reference on my 2016 Oled, I find myself turning down Oled brightness when watching TV at night, and find the brightness level perfect for days. The increased peak brghtness in 2017 should really improve HDR visual effects rather than make overall TV viewing brighter which I find is bright enough on 2016 models.
HDMI ports- Another reason that 2017-2016 are superior to older OLED models have to do with the introduction of HDMI 2.0a. HDMI 2.0a allows 4K content at 50-60fps and ability to play HDR content by HDMI. Both 2017 and 2016 have only 2.0a HDMI ports. Older HDMI ports (ver.1.4) on previous 4K TV's were able to play 4k, but only at half the frames and without the ability to play HDR content. If you follow technology trends, there has been a new announcement on a new HDMI cable and version 2.1. This HDMI version allows for 4K media to play at 120fps (which only PC's can really pull off), ability to transmit 8K and 10K media (depending where you read 60-120fps), VRR Game mode providing better refresh rates, less lag/stutter using a 3d Graphics processor to display images in real time, eARC, an upgrade to current ARC (Audio Return Channel) with ability to play Dolby True HD, DTS HD, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X, and the ability to play Dynamic HDR through HDMI. Where as current HDR TV's are only able to play HDR10 through HDMI (I'll talk on LG in a bit), this HDMI 2.1 allows for Dynamic HDR to be played by HDMI sources. HDR10 works by applying one set of HDR rules across the entire movie or episode, where as Dynamic HDR can change settings and HDR rule sets from scene to scene, thus the word Dynamic. Though many TV aficionados have stated that it would be better to wait until 2018 or as soon as mid 2017 when HDMI 2.1 is incorporated into TV's, in reality the changes allowed by HDMI version 2.1 should not have any impact for more than 90% of people for many years. However, you must decide if it is better to wait until mid 2017 to 2018 to upgrade.
HDR- Although the 2015 introduced HDR to LG Oleds, 2016 was really the year that you could take HDR on an Oled seriously. Between the increased color spectrum and improved brightness, 2016 was really when LG Oleds shined and showed off their true potential with HDR10 and Dolby Vision Sources. In 2017, HDR in Oleds has changed in that it is now able to play two new HDR technologies which are HLG and Tecnicolor. Neither have any content currently available, and LG has already stated that they will bring HLG to 2016 models through firmware update, though no word on Technicolor. Another change is the introduction of "Active HDR", which is supposed to improve HDR10 sources and mimic the dynamic properties of how dynamic HDR works. As stated above, HDMI 2.1 introduces dynamic HDR by HDMI to TV's, however, LG is the only major TV company (not sure on Vizio) that has a leg up on the competition by having the Dolby Vision HDR chip embedded on 2016 and 2017 models, which is and will continue to be for the time being the most widely recognized and used Dynamic HDR available. As of March 2017, there has been an announcement that Dolby Vision will become available through software to a number of devices through software update, where previously the only way to get DV HDR was through an embedded chip. According to the announcement, a number of non 4k devices will be able to get the HDR upgrade, including the non 4k PS4 through an HDMI 1.4 cable. Some games and apps have already received the HDR treatment on such devices just not in 4k, however, it has yet to be seen if there is a difference in image processing between the chip vs. software. Nonetheless,I have seen some shows on both my Xbox S and directly from the TV app menu to compare shows in HDR10 and Dolby Vision (Marco Polo, Daredevil), and I can clearly see the advantage of Dolby Vision where HDR properties change from scene to scene, rather than have one set of rules which excel only in certain scenes or with certain visual effects. Although other TV companies may be able to get the DV software through an update as previously announced, LG's for the time being have a leg up on the competition with DV support on its integrated TV apps such as Netflix and Vudu when the content is available. At CES this year, Lionsgate, Universal, and other studio companies announced that they will be releasing movies in Dolby Vision HDR Combined with LG's new UHD bluray player which will have DV playback abilities, 2017 Oleds will have a lot more content to showcase their capabilities by the end of this year.
Operating System- I can't honestly say that I've had a chance to experiment with the new WebOS 3.5 as the in store model did not have a TV remote, but if it improves even slightly to 2016's WebOS 3.0, it can only be a great thing. WebOS 3.0 was amazing to me in terms of speed and response time. Coming from an older 2012 LG LED and as a current Roku 3, PS4, and XBOX S owner, I was very impressed with the TV's OS speed and ability to handle native entertainment apps. I have not configured All Channel (which is supposed to keep things organized for OTA channels or cable/Satellite), but similar to my XBOX S, the TV's is able to open multiple entertainment apps very quickly, all while saving your "place" which makes switching back and forth through different apps quick and seamless. The fact that the TV's remote has an integrated Magic Mouse which appears onscreen by moving your remote is an added bonus. I am sure that 2017 models will also have the same feature as 2016 remotes which included a microphone to be able to search for shows and channels just like a Roku.
Advantages- Besides the changes and improvements mentioned above, the integration of Atmos Dolby sound integration is an important improvement from an Audio perspective using the TV's soundbar, however any TV owner can just buy a dedicated AV receiver and sound system of their choice if playing the newest audio codecs are important to you. The other major improvement has to be the new W7 model which looks incredible. It is literally a wallpaper Oled which hugs to wall and barely sticks out! The W7 is truly a marvel to stare at, especially when mounted to a clear glass display instores which really lets you appreciate how amazingly thin this TV is. The other advantage for 2017 Oleds is the pricing for B7 or C7 Models, which are very competitively priced. Remember, all models have the same visuals, so the increase in price from is really about how much nicer your TV looks on the outside.
Disadvantages to 2017- I waited until 2017 Oleds were announced at CES prior to pulling the trigger on a 2016 Oled, and for me, the biggest factor for choosing a 2016 was the lack of 3D across all models in 2017 models. For many, lack of 3D does not really affect your decision making in a TV and is considered a gimmick by many, but as a 3D fan for years and owner of various 3D Blurays, watching 3D Blurays on my 2016 Oled is an amazing experience that I would not want to give up. First off, LG uses Passive 3D technology which enables each eye to handle a different 3D image, both combining together to create the 3D effect. I have always enjoyed passive over active 3D (which gives me a headache), and it is a simpler (and cheaper) technology to use. Needless to say, I was excited to try 3D on my 2016 Oled, and was blown away at how amazing 3D movies look on it. The 3D from 2016 Oleds change 3D Blurays from an eye-straining and forced gimmick to a visually gratifying and fluent alternative to watching your favorite Blurays at home. My 2016 Oled has an "auto" setting under 3D which I feel has greatly improved the 3D effect in all movies I've watched, especially when compared to my 2012 LED LG TV which had ghosting depending on what scene you played. The other more important disadvantage to 2017 models is pricing on the higher end models. As of right now, MSRP prices for a 55in 2017 E7 Oleds starts at $4,500, while the 65 inch version starts at $6,000. I found a great deal this year after the CES announcements and purchased a new 65in E6 for exactly $2950 (note: I only purchased an E6 instead of a B6 since 3D was lacking in B6 models last year). For me, it made complete sense paying less for a TV that can do 90% of a 2017 Oled and still be able to play 3D. Lastly for W7 owners, the inability to mount the TV on an actual moveable mount can be a bit of an issue. With my current 2016 Oled which I have on wall mounted on a Sanus VLF525 (using an adapter kit from Sanus), I really appreciate the ability to move my TV and adjust viewing angles side to side, and also up and down tilt depending on where I watch TV. I think that wall mounting any Oled is a great idea, however mounting it flush and flat to a wall without tilt or turning ability needs to be thought out carefully.
Why Choose an E7: There was a clear reason last year for many to make the upgrade and pay the difference to go from the lower end B6 to an E6, which was the integration of 3D. Last years Curved C7 featured 3D, but for some peculiar reason the Budget friendly B6 did not, leaving people with a desire for a 2016 Flat screened Oled with 3D capabilities with no other option than to make the upgrade to an E6. This year, all 2017 Oleds only differ on outer aesthetics and sound/speaker integration, but the brains and video capability are the same between all models. Basically, there really is no major compelling reason to upgrade to an E7, G7, or W7 other than a personal desire to have a TV which looks great. The E7 does continue the trend of last year with an integrated soundbar and the visually appealing "screen on glass" look. As an E6 owner, I really do love the Screen on glass look, but if the looks alone would have cost me an extra $1000 when I bought it, I personally wouldn't have made that purchase. Still, this is why LG has 5 models to choose from, and I can understand why some people would decide to make that decision.
To conclude, I'd like to say that I feel that 2016 was a great year in terms of improvement, value, features, and aesthethic appeal. Even calling it the signature line made you feel that the 2016 Oleds were and continue to be a premium product. For 2017, LG has continued the trend of improving on a winning formula with a newer and better lineup, but by a smaller margin compared to other years. Even the OS upgrade to 3.5 instead of 4.0 shows that LG was aiming to improve but not innovate this year's OLEDS. If 2016 Oleds are all five star products, 2017 leaves the same impression with added bells and whistles. Either way, you can't wrong with either a 2016 or 2017 Oled, but it really depends on your TV needs, requirements, and budget. I hope this breakdown is able to help those with questions on which LG Oled is right for them, and below I've put together some more information on similarities and differences between all 2017 models in terms of specs, features, pricing, and more.
2017 Specifications and information:
For 2017, different styles are similar to 2016 models with the exception of the W7 which is the new "Paper on Wall" Oled that HAS to be mounted on the wall using a thin magnet. The rest of the differences relate to styling. Here's a rundown.
* B7: crescent stand, "blade slim" look
* C7: premium aluminum stand and bezel (note, no longer Curved)
* E7: picture-on-glass design with integrated sound bar (similar to 2016 E6), soundbar not removeable
* G7: picture-on-glass design with foldable integrated sound bar stand that doubles as a wall mount (Similar to 2016 G6)
* W7: ultra-thin picture-on-wall design with separate sound bar, has to be wall-mounted using a thin magnetic sheet
Inputs - HDMI x 4 (HDCP 2.2, Version 2.0a, 3 USB, 1 RF In (Antenna/Cable), 1 Composite In, 1 Component In, 1 Ethernet, 1 Optical, 1 RS232C (Mini Jack),
Operating System - WebOS 3.5,
Power (voltage, Hz) - 120Vac 50-60Hz, on Standby less than 0.5W
Sound (E7, G7 (65in), W7) - 4.2 Channels, Output Power 60W, Subwoofer 20W
B7 55 in- MSRP TBA, 1.9 in thick (8.9in w/stand), 35.7 lbs (43 w/stand), Vesa 300x200
B7 65 in- MSRP $4950 (at Costco.com as of 04/17), 1.9 in thick (8.9 w/stand), 49.8 lbs (57.1 lbs w/stand), Vesa 300x200
C7 55 in- MSRP $3500, 1.8in thick (8.5in w/stand), 38.1 lbs (42.3 w/stand), Vesa 300x200
C7 65 in- MSRP $5000, 1.8in thick (8.5in w/stand), 50.3 lbs (54.5 w/stand), Vesa 300x200
E7 55in- MSRP $4500, 2.2in thick (6.9in w/stand), 37.7 lbs (40.8lbs w/stand), VESA 400x200
E7 65in- MSRP $6000, 2.4in thick (7.7in w/ stand), 46.79lbs (50.9 w/stand), VESA 300x300,
G7 65in- MSRP $7000, 2.7in thick mounted (9.6 w/stand down), 69.9lbs, VESA 600x300
G7 77in- MSRP TBA, 3.3in thick (12.5 w/ stand down), 119.3lbs, VESA 600x300, Sound is 80W (40W woofer)
W7: 65in- MSRP $8000, Wall Mount Only, 0.2in thick, 16.8 lbs, AV Audio box dimension 49.6" x 3.1" x 7.8" (22.7lb)
W7: 77in- MSRP TBA, Wall Mount Only, 0.2in thick, 27.1 lbs, AV Audio box dimensions 57.5" x 3.3" x 8.2" (28lbs)