LG SK9000 vs SK8000 Review (55SK9000PUA vs 55SK8000PUA, 65SK9000PUA vs 65SK8000PUA)
LG SK9000 and SK8000 are the second and third top model of LG’s 2018 4K HDR SUHD TV lineup under SK9500. Like most models of LG’s LED TV lineup, both LG SK8000 and SK9000 also comes with IPS panel that certainly make them have good side viewing angle coverage. But otherwise, as we have known, TVs with IPS panel typically have weak native contrast ratio and cannot produce deep black, make them are not suitable when used in a dark room. In the market, SK9000 comes in 3 screen sizes options including 49 Inch (49SK8000PUA), 55 Inch (55SK8000PUA), and 65 Inch (65SK9000PUA) while SK9000 only comes in 2 screen sizes including 55 inch (55SK9000PUA) and 65 Inch (65SK9000PUA). With the same screen size (55SK8000 vs 55SK9000, 65SK8000 vs 65SK9000), SK8000 is sold hundreds dollar cheaper than SK9000. So, what the advantages are offered by SK9000 so it is sold far more expensive and which is a better between them refer to the price/value?
LG SK9000 vs SK8000 Key Specs
|Specs and Features||LG SK8000||LG SK9000|
|Size||49 Inch (49SK8000PUA), 55 Inch (55SK8000PUA), and 65 Inch (65SK8000PUA)||55 Inch (55SK9000PUA), 65 Inch (65SK9000PUA)|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Panel Type||IPS Panel||IPS Panel|
|Backlighting||Edge-Lit LED||Full Array Direct LED|
|Local Dimming||Yes||Yes (Full Array Local Dimming)|
|Picture Engine||Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor||Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Advanced HDR by Technicolor||HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Advanced HDR by Technicolor|
|Nano Cell Color||Yes||Yes (Pro)|
|Tru Color Accuracy||Yes||Yes|
|Support wide color gamut||Yes||Yes|
|Support 10 Bit depth of color||Yes||Yes|
|Ultra Luminance||Yes||Yes (Pro)|
|Nano Cell Black||Yes||Yes|
|UHD Up-scaling||Yes (Tru 4k Up-Scaler)||Yes (Tru 4k Up-Scaler)|
|Motion Clarity||Tru Motion 240 Hz, 49SK8000 = TruMotion 120 Hz||Tru Motion 240 Hz|
|Native Refresh rate||120 Hz, 49SK8000 = 60 Hz||120 Hz|
|Smart TV||WebOS 4.0 with LG’s AI ThinQ||WebOS 4.0 with LG’s AI ThinQ|
|LG Magic Remote||Yes||Yes|
|Output Power||20 watts||40W (Woofer: 20W)|
|Support Dolby Atmos||Yes||Yes|
|Composite In (AV In)||1||1|
|Prices||See the price on Amazon||See the Price on Amazon|
Features and Technologies of LG SK8000 and SK9000
As we see on comparison table above, although both of them equally use IPS panel and also equally have local dimming technology, but they have a difference in the backlight technology. And we have also known, direct-LED backlight with local dimming (Full Array Local Dimming) can do better job than edge-lit LED backlight with local dimming technology. This becomes the one of the major factor why SK9000 is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than SK8000. But unfortunately, LG doesn’t reveal clearly how many dimming zones of each of them?
The level of Nano Cell Display Technology
For this case, LG SK9000 comes with pro version of Nano Cell Display technology while SK8000 comes with basic version of Nano Cell Display. We don’t clearly know, what the difference between pro and standard version, but essentially, with higher level of Nano Cell technology, SK9000 should be able to deliver wider color gamut that certainly makes its colors renditions is better than SK8000.
The level of Ultra Luminance
The other difference between them is about the level of their Ultra Luminance technology, a LG;’s proprietary technology that designed for improving peak brightness produced by its TV lineup. For this case, SK9000 comes with pro version of Ultra Luminance technology while SK8000 comes with basic version. The result, with pro version, SK9000 should have brighter peak brightness than SK8000 that comes with basic version of Ultra Luminance Technology.
The other difference between LG SK8000 and SK9000 is about their sound system. As we see on comparison table above, LG SK9000 is equipped with 2.2 channel speaker system with built-in woofer and 40 watts of total sound output. On the other hand, LG SK8000 is only equipped with standard sound system that is 2.0 channel with 20 watts of total sound output. This certainly makes SK9000 can produce more powerful and impressive sound quality than SK8000, particularly in producing low frequency or bass. But even so, since both of them already support Dolby Atmos, this also has an impact on their performance in producing Dolby Atmos Sound. With SK9000, you can enjoy Dolby Atmos Experience without additional external sound bar. Otherwise, since is not equipped with built-in woofer, to enjoy Dolby Atmos Sound experience with SK8000, you need an additional external sound-bar.
The excepting of what mentioned above, technology and features offered by LG SK8000 and SK9000 are almost identical. As we have mentioned above, both LG SK9000 and SK8000 equally come with IPS panel that makes them have good side viewing angle coverage. But on the other hand, a TV with IPS panel typically has low native contrast ratio and cannot produce deep black. As their picture engine, both of them are equally powered by Alpha 7 Intelligence processor that doesn’t act as its picture engine only, but also act as the main brain of the whole system including Smart TV. One of the advantage offered by this picture engine, it can reduce picture noise better than older processor, makes the picture produced looks clearer and more details with less picture noise. This processor also makes its performance in handling motion is better than their predecessor. Additionally, the support of Nano Cell Color technology may make them have excellent wide color gamut, but there is still Tru Color Accuracy that improves the accuracy of color produced by them. There is also Nano Cell Black technology behind them that improve black level produced.
Equally maximized for HDR experience, both of them already support most of HDR formats available including HDR10 by UHD Alliance, HLG by BBC and NHK, Dolby Vision by Dolby Laboratories, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. The only HDR format both of them don’t support is HDR10+, a new HDR format developed by Samsung and its alliance as the enhancement of standard HDR10. Meanwhile, for maximizing its performance in handling motion blur, both of them are also equally powered by Tru Motion 240 Hz technology based on native 120 HZ refresh rate panel. The exceptions for 49 model of SK8000 (49SK8000PUA), it comes with TruMotion 120 Hz based on native 50 Hz refresh rate panel. Still about motion clarity, both of them also equally have a 60 Hz BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode. This mode is very useful to reduce motion blur particularly that caused by 60 fps persistence. Meanwhile, for connecting with other devices, both SK9000 and SK8000 are also equipped with the same inputs/outputs including 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, and others. And as their smart TV platform, both SK8000 and SK9000 are equally featuring WebOS 4.0 that has been integrated with LG AI ThinQ.
LG SK9000 and SK8000 Performance
Black Level and Contrast
LG SK9000 may have a bit stronger native contrast ratio than SK8000, but essentially, their native contrast ratio is equally weak. Meanwhile, equally coming with local dimming technology, their local dimming is not effective to improve their native contrast ratio. The impact, both of them cannot produce deep black and the inability of them in producing deep black will be more noticeable when they are set in a dark room. In a dark room, blacks of images displayed on their screen will look tend to grey than really black. Since they cannot produce deep black, this certainly also makes darker colors look less accurate. The result, dark scene of images doesn’t look so good. Additionally, with HDR content, black level produced by them is not also dark enough to reveal details of images in dark scene like the intended. As we know, one of the main purposes of HDR technology is for showing details of image in dark scene so look clearer. Meanwhile, with limited performance in producing black, of course, they cannot show details of HDR images like what intended by the content creator. Fortunately, in a bright room, blacks produced by them will look darker and of course will make dark scene look far better due the impact of high native contrast ratio is not as sensitive as in a dark room.
Winner: SK9000 but essentially, their contrast ratio is equally low
With SDR content, LG SK9000 has brighter peak brightness than SK8000. With brighter than 400 nits, peak brightness of SK9000 is bright enough to fight the glare, makes the picture displayed on its screen looks bright enough in most room. But typical of low local dimming performance, very small highlight precisely appears dimmer than the rest. On the other hand, peak brightness of LG SK8000 is not so bright and only bright enough for dimly-lit room or a room with normal light, while in a very bright room, the picture displayed on its screen will looks too dim. Like SK9000, very small light also appears dimmer than the rest due the performance of its local dimming is not so good. Meanwhile, with HDR contents, both of them can deliver a bit brighter peak brightness than when playing SDR content. With more than 500 nits, its peak brightness is bright enough to show HDR images looks fairly bright in most room. But again, since performance of its local dimming is not so good, very small highlight appears dimmer than the larger bright object. Additionally, since its peak brightness is still less than 1000 nits, this certainly makes it cannot fully appreciate HDR content at 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range. On the other hand, peak brightness of LG SK8000 is even worse than SK9000 that is only a bit brighter than 300 nits. Like SK9000, it also cannot show very small highlight of HDR image brighter than the rest. Otherwise, very small highlight will look dimmer than the rest, but not as dim as SK9000. With its peak brightness that is only around 300 nits, you cannot take benefits offered by HDR content itself, particularly in revealing more details picture in a bright scene. Meanwhile, since the number of dimming zones of their local dimming is lacking, there are still visible blooming around small bright object, particularly when they are showing small bright object in a dark background.
The different level of Nano Cell Colors technology behind them makes the width of color gamut produced by them is also different. LG SK9000 with Nano Cell Colors pro version can provide wider color gamut than SK8000 with standard version of Nano Cell Colors. Color gamut of SK9000 can cover more than 94% of DCI P3 color space. Although not as wide as color gamut of OLED TV or Samsung QLED TV, but at least, it is still great for HDR content that mastered in DCI P3 like HDR10 content. Its color coverage in Rec.2020 is also more than 70% and this is also still fairly good for HDR content particularly that mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision. Although some certain colors like deep green or others cannot be shown as saturated as other colors, but overall, most colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate. On the other hand, the color coverage of SK8000 is still less than 90% in DCI P3 and less than 70% in Rec.2020. Color gamut produced by SK8000 is still far better than what produced by SDR TVs, but not as good as most models of HDR TVs, particularly for HDR TV in higher class. Nevertheless, overall, colors of HDR images can be still shown fairly accurate on its screen. Additionally, LG KS9000 also has better color volume than SK8000, but this is more caused SK9000 has wider color gamut and brighter peak brightness than SK8000. Since both of them cannot produce deep black, their color gamut narrows significantly in darker colors, make darker colors cannot be shown fairly accurate. On the other hand, when showing very bright, SK9000 can show these colors more accurate than SK8000. Nevertheless, except dark colors, both of them can show their color gamut at entire their brightness range. While color gamut and color volume of SK9000 is better than SK8000, when playing 10 bit contents, both of them equally have excellent color gradient. Both of them can show most colors with smooth color gradient and without any major color bandings. In certain colors, particularly in darker colors, some little imperfections may still be visible, but overall this should not be a problem for normal content and is still far better than when they are playing 8 bit content.
Side Viewing Angle
The use of IPS panel may make them cannot produce deep black, but on the other hand, it makes both LG SK8000 and SK9000 have good side viewing angle coverage, far better than a TV with VA panel. IFfon VA TV, color usually shift started at less than 20 degrees off center and front, on their screen, they are able to make colors looks more consistent at wider angle. But even so, this is not about their ability in maintaining color accuracy that makes they are better than VA TV, but the excellence is about their ability in maintain blacks. When on VA panel, blacks usually will look degraded started at less than 15 degrees off center and front, on their screen, black produced will look consistent, even when viewed from extremely side viewing angle. The result, although not as excellent as what offered by OLED TYV, when viewed from the side, the picture displayed on their screen will look consistent than what displayed on the VA TVs.
Motion handling and 24p Playback
As we know, one of the major aspects that have a impact on the ability of a TV in handling motion blur is pixel response time. For this case, pixel response time of SK8000 is a bit lower than SK9000. But even so, their difference is not striking and overall, both of them have excellent pixel response time. The result, when playing fast moving images like sports, fast games, or fast movies, the picture displayed on their screen looks very clear and smooth with almost no motion blur visible. Following fast moving object, there is only a short faint trail where most people may not notice this, while blur that may be still visible is more caused by 60fps persistence. Meanwhile, by default, to dim their backlight, both of them equally use PWM Dimming System with 120 Hz of Dimming Frequency. This actually makes blur that caused by persistence is less visible than a TV with higher dimming frequency, but on the other hand, this will makes backlight flicker is more visible than a TV with higher dimming frequency. Still about their ability in handling motion blur, both of them also has an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that flicker the backlight at 60 Hz. To enable this mode, you just need enable the “Motion Pro” on their picture setting. By enabling this mode, this will make the backlight flickers at 60 Hz. The result, motion that caused by persistence games can be minimized, particularly when playing 60 fps content like sports or video, but on the other hand, this will make flicker is more visible. Nevertheless, when playing native 120 fps contents or you don’t feel comfortable with flicker, this will be better if this mode is disabled.
Meanwhile, when playing 24p movies, both LG SK8000 and SK9000 can do excellent job in reducing judder. No matter the frame rate of the content, whether it is native 24p content like DVS or Blu-Ray movies, 24p videos from streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon, and others, 24p videos via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, or even via 60i signals like movies from satellite TV, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly on their screen with judder-free. With excellence performance in handling judder, this certainly makes them as good TVs for watching movies.
Both LG SK9000 and SK8000 have the same inputs/outputs. As their major connectivity, they are equipped with 4 HDMI ports where all of them their HDMI ports already support HDCP 2.0, CEC, and HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth. Additionally, there is also 1 port that support ARC (Audio Return Channel) that can let-through Dolby Atmos Signal. A bit unfortunately, their HDMI ports have not supported HDMI 2.1, so although thee already support HFR (High Frame Rate) Content, but they cannot play HFR content via HDMI ports. Additionally, both of them are also equally equipped with 3 USB ports. Nevertheless, all of them are USB 2.0 and none of them are USB3 3.0. In addition to USB and HDMI ports, both LG SK8000 and SK9000 also equally have 1 RF In, 1 Composite In, 1 Digital Audio Out, and 1 Ethernet Port. They don’t have Component In. And as their wireless connectivity, they have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Discussing about their input lags, both of them equally have excellent input lags in PC and Game Mode. No matter the resolution of the source, whether it is 1080p or 4K, with HDR or not, their input lags are about 15 ms that means it is great for any games, even for fast paced games that require fast reflexes. Combined to its excellent motion handling and wide viewing angle coverage, this makes them as a good TV for playing games.
As their smart TV platform, both LG SK8000 and SK9000 are equally featuring WebOS 4.0 that powered by Alpha 7 Intelligence processor. Compared to last year version, their “Home Menu” doesn’t change much. The menu is still easy to navigate. A bit change is on the top right the screen where in this version, there is an addition quick access shortcut for search functions. At the bottom across the screen, there is still a group of “tiles” which well-organized in a strip bar format as the shortcuts of apps, inputs, menus, and smart features. This allows you to launch them easily and quickly. The preinstalled apps and smart features provided are also very a lot and complete. There are VoD Service like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, And others, Live TVs, Web browser, Games, Cast apps, and many more. It also has an apps store called “LG apps store” that provides a lot of downloadable apps, games, contents, and others. Additionally, the use of Alpha 7 processor makes its performance is fast and responsive. Although not as fast and responsive as high-end model like OLED C8 or higher series that powered by Alpha 9 processor, but its performance is still faster and more responsive than Samsung TVs with Tizen OS or Sony TVs with Google Android TVs, even for their high-end models. The interesting thing, now WebOS 4.0 has been integrated with LG AI ThinQ, an artificially intelligence system by LG. With AI ThinQ, you can control and monitor your ThinQ AI compatible devices through your LG TV. Not even just that, it is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home. This means, not only ThinQ compatible devices that can be monitored and controlled through your LG TV, but also Amazon Alexa and Google Home Compatible devices. Additionally, ThinQ AI also makes their voice navigation is far better.
As their controller, both LG SK8000 and SK9000 equally come with LG Magic Remote. This remote is identical to that found on LG’s 2018 OLED TV Lineup. It is large and has a lot of buttons. In addition to standard buttons like “number buttons”, “Power button”, “Volume Buttons” and others, it also has some quick access buttons to most common functions. Additionally, it also has two dedicated buttons to Netflix and Amazon Videos. Like other smart remotes, this remote is also equipped with built-in microphone and a quick access button to the ThinQ voice assistant. With ThinQ Ai, its voice commands can do more jobs that the previous version. This remote is not only can be used for basic commands, but also can be used for more advanced search and also a rather complicated command. Additionally, its voice command also can be used to control your other ThinQ compatible devices via your TV, even also Amazon Alexa and Google Home compatible devices. Meanwhile at the center of the remote, there is a combination of direction pads and clickable scroll wheel, allow you to move the highlighted menu or launch app easily. Not only that, when you point the remote to the screen, it can act as a pointer, makes navigation the menus or entering text is far easy. Additionally, since their HDMI ports support CEC, this remote also can be used to control some functions of other devices connected on your LG TV via HDMI ports.
|Performance||LG SK8000||LG SK9000|
As we have discussed a lot above, as long as they are not used in a dark room, overall, the picture displayed on their screen looks fairly good. The good performance offered by them in some other aspects like motion handling, 24p movies handling, low input lags and others make them are as good TV for mixed usage, whether for watching movies, TV Shows, Sports, or playing games. The advantage, they have good viewing angle coverage, make them are very suitable when used in a wide room with many viewers where they usually watch TV from multiple angles. Additionally, combination of WebOS 4.0, LG Magic Remote, and LG ThinQ AI offer attractive smart TV experience.
So, which is a better choice between them? As we have discussed a lot above, with the same screen size, LG SK9000 is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than SK8000 while the advantage offered, it has better color reproduction due its color gamut and color volume is better. The other advantage offered, it also has brighter peak brightness than LG SK8000, allow you to enjoy HDR images with brighter picture quality. On the other hand, peak brightness of SK8000 is actually too dim for HDR content, make you don’t get the benefits offered by HDR technology itself. Now the decision comes back to you according to your preference and budgets. If you have extra budget and HDR performance is your main consideration, LG SK9000 may be a better choice for you considering it can produce good HDR picture. Nevertheless, SK8000 is not also a bad choice considering for its price level, picture quality and performance offered can be said good. But keep in mind, if you come to SK8000 for HDR performance, you might be disappointed due some major aspects of picture quality produced like black level, color gamut, and peak brightness are limited for HDR content.