LG OLED C9 VS OLED C8 Review (OLED55C9PUA vs OLED55C8PUA, OLED65C9PUA vs OLED65C8PUA, OLED77C9PUA vs OLED77C8PUA)
LG OLED C9 is mid-range model of LG’s 2019 OLED 4K HDR C Series while LG OLED C8 is the predecessor, the mid-range model of LG’s 2018 4K HDR OLED TV. In the market, both of them come in 3 screen sizes option, those are 55 inches (OLED55C9PUA vs OLED55C8PUA), 65 Inches (OLED65C9PUA vs OLED65C8PUA) and the largest is 77 inch (OLED77C9PUA vs OLED77C8PUA). As a newer model, OLED C9 certainly offers some new features and improvements that expected can overcome the issue that might be found on the C8. Meanwhile, with the same screen sizes, when I was writing this comparison, the LG OLED C9 is priced hundreds dollar more expensive than the OLED C8. Nevertheless, this is more caused the LG OLED C9 still has a full price while the price of OLED C8 has dropped a lot due it is a last year model. So, what improvements and new features are offered by the LG OLED C9 over OLED C8 and which is a better choice between them?
LG OLED C9 vs OLED C8 Key Specs
|Specs and Features||LG OLED C9||LG OLED C8|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Screen Sizes Available||55 Inches (OLED55C9PUA), 65 Inches (OLED65C9PUA), 77 Inches (OLED77C9PUA)||55 Inches (OLED55C8PUA), 65 Inches (OLED65C8PUA), 77 Inches (OLED77C8PUA)|
|Dimming||Pixel Level Dimming||Pixel Level Dimming|
|Picture Engine||Alpha 9 Gen 2||Alpha 9 Processor|
|HDR Format Supports||Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR, HDR10, HLG||Dolby Vision, Advanced HDR, HDR10, HLG|
|HDR Enhancement||4K Cinema HDR, HDR Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro||4K Cinema HDR|
|Contrast Enhancement||Object Depth Enhancer, Ultra Luminance Pro||Ultra Luminance Pro|
|Color Enhancement||Intense Color, Billion Rich Colors, Advanced Color Enhancer, True Color Accuracy Pro, 4 Colors Sub Pixel||Intense Color, Billion Rich Colors, True Color Accuracy Pro, 4 Colors Sub Pixel|
|Clarity Enhancement||Quad Step Noise Reduction, Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer||N/a|
|4K Up-scaling||4K Up-Scaler||4K Up-Scaler|
|Refresh Rate Panel||Native 120 Hz||Native 120 Hz|
|Platform||WebOS 4.5||WebOS 4.0|
|Features||LG ThinQ AI, Google Assistant, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Intelligence Voice Recognition||LG ThinQ AI, Google Assistant, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Intelligence Voice Recognition|
|LG Magic Remote||Included (Premium)||Included (Premium )|
|HDMI Supports||HDMI 2.1 Full bandwidth (All), HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth (All), HDCP 2.2 (All), ARC (HDMI 2)||HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth (All), HDCP 2.2 (All), ARC (HDMI 2)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1||1|
|Composite In (AV)||1||1|
|Wi-Fi Built In||802.11ac||802.11ac|
|Total Audio Output||40 Watt(WF : 20 Watts)||40 Watt|
|Dolby Atmos Support||Yes||Yes|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the Price on Amazon|
Features and Technology of LG OLED C8 and OLED C9
As we see on comparison table above, there are some improvements offered by the OLED C9 over the OLED C8 predecessor. But basically, there are not many of them which have significant impact on their performance. Coming with OLED panel, infinite contrast ratio and perfect black becomes their mainstay in competing in the market. Nevertheless, not only perfect black and infinite contrast ratio which become the excellence of OLED TVs including LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 over LED TV, but they also have far better pixel response time and side viewing angle coverage than LED TVs. Meanwhile, for delivering color, their OLED panel uses 4 colors sub-pixel technology. This allows them can produce wide color gamut.
Coming with HDR technology, both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 support most of HDR formats including HDR10, HLG, Advanced HDR, and Dolby Vision. Not only that, for offering to enjoy HDR experience with impressive sound quality, they both already support Dolby Atmos. Additionally, the both also have 2.2 channel speaker systems that allows you to enjoy Dolby Atmos experience without additional external speaker. And for providing attractive and intuitive smart TV experience, they both run WebOS as their smart TV platform.
As we see on comparison table above, as their brain, LG OLED C8 is powered by Alpha 9 Intelligent Processor while the OLED C9 is powered by Alpha 9 Gen 2, the latest generation of the alpha 9 processor that first introduced in last year. Expected, with deeper learning algorithm, the Alpha 9 Gen 2 Processor can deliver higher level of AI picture and sound experience quality. This means, the Alpha 9 Gen doesn’t only apply the AI (Artificial Intelligence) for smart TV system like on the first generation, but also for enhancing picture and sound quality. On LG OLED C9, you will find some automatic adjustment like AI picture, AI Brightness, and AI sound that will adjust automatically the picture and sound parameter based on the content source and the ambient condition around the TV. You will not find these automatic adjustments on LGOLED C8. As we know, in last year model like OLED C8, the AI is only applied on Smart TV system.
HDMI Port Ability
LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 may have the same number of HDMI ports, but there is an improvement offered by the HDMI ports of OLED C9 over the OLED C8. The HDMI ports of OLED C9 support both HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 full bandwidth while HDMI ports of OLED C8 support HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth only. This will have an effect on their performance in handling HFR (High Frame Rate) content. With HDMI 2.1, LG OLED TV is able to accept 4K HFR signal via HDMI while the OLED C8 doesn’t have this ability due the limited bandwidth of HDMI 2.0. This means, the OLED C8 can only accept HFR signal via USB and streaming only.
Additionally, with HDMI 2.1 full bandwidth, the Dolby Atmos Signal can be encoded better on the OLED C9 than on the OLED C8. If on OLED C8, although it already supports Dolby Atmos Pass-through via HDMI ARC, but the limitation bandwidth of the HDMI 2.0 only accept Dolby Atmos Signal that encoded in Dolby Digital Plus. Meanwhile, with HDMI 2.1, the OLED C9 also accepts Dolby Atmos signal that is encoded in Dolby TrueHD. This means, the one of the HDMU ports of OLED C9 also supports eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel). Additionally, thanks to the HDMI 2.1, the LG OLED C9 also already supports VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). This featuring is very useful to prevent the screen tearing when playing game. But unfortunately, it only supports HDMI-VRR format where this format is not compatible with FreeSync or G-SYNC. For this now, there are not many devices that support HDMI-VRR. At this time, the only devices that supports HDMI-VRR is only X Box One
The other improvement in HDMI ability offered by OLED C9 over OLED C8 is Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). For this case, the LG OLED C9 already supports ALLM while the OLED C8 doesn’t yet support. This feature allows the OLED C9 automatically switches into a game mode once the signal from compatible devices like PS4 or Xbox One is detected.
Compared to the LG OLED C8 predecessor, LG OLED C9 comes with some additional new features for maximizing its performance. There are Quad Step Noise Reduction and Frequency Based Sharpness Enhancer for enhancing the clarity, Advanced Color Enhance for maximizing its color reproduction, Object Depth Enhancer, and others. Additionally the OLED C9 also has a feature that allows you to control the peak brightness via the user menu. There are some settings from ‘Off’, ‘Low’, ‘Med’, and ‘High’. Increasing this setting will increase the peak brightness of small highlight. Actually, the OLED C8 also allows you to control its peak brightness, but you must go through the service menu.
LG OLED C9 vs OLED C8 Performance
Contrast and Black Level
Undeniable, Contrast and Black level becomes the main advantage of OLED TV including the LG OLED C8 and OLED C9. As we know, unlike on LED panel where for producing light, they need illumination from the backlight, on the OLED panel, each of its pixels can emit their own light. This means, each of pixels can switch on/off/dim individually without being influenced by the condition of the other pixels surrounding. If we analogize it to LED TV, this is like a TV with Full Array Local Dimming with the number dimming zones is same to the number of pixels. Since each of its pixels can performs individually, when showing black, there is no light at all emitted from the screen. Otherwise, when showing white, the condition of the pixel surrounding is not impacted.
Essentially, the light precision of OLED TVs is much more accurate than LED TVs, even for LED TVs which have FALD with hundreds dimming zones. Black looks perfect on their screen while when showing small highlight, there is almost no visible blooming around the bright object in a dark scene. We can see how subtitles can be displayed perfectly without adjacent unwanted lights around it. Additionally, both of them also have near-perfect black uniformity. Combination of all certainly makes dark scene looks excellent on their screen, even when they are set in pitch dark room where the impact of contrast ratio is very sensitive.
With SDR content, both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 have good peak brightness with SDR content. Their peak brightness is brighter than 300 nits that means this is bright enough to overcome the glare in a bright room. The result, performance of LG OLED C8 and C9 in most bright room is excellent. Meanwhile compare among them, even though with real scene the LG OLED C9 is only a bit brighter than OLED C8, but when showing small highlights, it can show far brighter than the OLED C8, even brighter than 400 nits. This might become the excellence of OLED C0 to OLED C8. But just like other OLED TV, the larger areas of the screen get bright, their peak brightness is dimmer. Even when all areas of the screen is bright, the screen is dimmed significantly to around 150 nits by their ABL (Automatic Bright Limiter). For this case, the ABL of OLED C9 is more aggressive than OLED C8 in dimming the screen. The result, when showing large areas of the screen is bright, LG OLED C8 is a bit brighter than OLED C9.
With HDR content, their peak brightness increases significantly where peak brightness reached by them is around 700 nits. For this case, the LG OLED C9 can get a bit brighter than OLED C8. OLED C9 can reach peak brightness brighter than 700 nits while the LG OLED C8 is less than 700 nits. But even so, ignoring their differences, their peak brightness with HDR is excellent, particularly for OLED TVs. But a bit unfortunate, since their peak brightness is still less than 1000 nits, the both cannot show HDR images at 1000-4000 nits of brightness range intended by the content creator. Additionally, they both also cannot perform as well in all scenes. This due they both have ABL that limit their peak brightness in different bright areas. And just like with SDR content, their peak brightness will drop as the bright area is increasing. And when they are showing all areas are bright, their ABL dims significantly their screen to around 150 nits. But overall, although not as great as what offered by the high-end model of LED TVs like Samsung Q90R or Sony X950G, peak brightness of both OLED C9 and C8 is great for OLED TV. And as a newer model, the LG OLED C9 can get brighter than the OLED C8.
Winner: OLED C9
Actually, LG OLED C9 can deliver a bit wider color gamut than the LG OLED C8 predecessor. But their difference is not too significant so this doesn’t have significant impact on normal content. And ignoring their difference, both color gamut produced by both LG OLED C8 and C9 is great. Color gamut produced by them can cover more than 98% of DCI P3 color space that means their color coverage in DCI P3 is almost perfect. Additionally, their color coverage in Rec.2020 is also more than 70%. This means colors of a content that mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision contents can still be shown fairly accurate. Color gamut delivered by both OLED C9 and OLED C8 is only a bit worse than the Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV like Q7FN or Q8FN. Their color gamut is even better than some models of Samsung’s 2019 QLED TV like Q90R or Q70R.
Meanwhile, LG OLED C9 also has a bit better color volume than OLED C8. But their difference is not also too significant and doesn’t have a significant impact on normal content, so we can ignore their difference. Although both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 has excellent color gamut, even better than Samsun QLED TVs, but color volume of OLED C8 and C9 is not as good as them. This is due their panel uses WRGB pixel structure. Their pixel structure allows them to produce well bright whites, but bright colors cannot be produced well that makes they lose volume at the brighter colors. Nevertheless, although they cannot produce bright colors as good as Samsung QLED TV, in producing dark saturated colors, they are the masters. Dark saturated colors can show near-perfectly without any issue. This is due both LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 has perfect black level and near-perfect black uniformity.
In addition to excellent color gamut, both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 also have excellent color gradient, particularly when displaying 10 bit content like HDR10 images. Color of HDR images displayed on their screen looks very smooth without any significant banding. There might some very slight imperfections in some certain colors, but this should not be noticeable for most people.
Winner: OLED C9
Side Viewing Angle
As is typical of OLED TVs, both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 also have excellent side viewing angle coverage. Even though the viewers watch TV from the side, but the picture displayed on their screen still looks accurate. Their ability in maintaining black and color when viewed from the side is far better than LED TVs, even with IPS technology. As the comparison, on the screen of VA TV, black will start to raise at around 15 degrees off center and front, meanwhile, on the screen of OLED C8 and C9, on their screen, the black level can be maintained even up to around 70 degrees. Additionally, if on the VA TV screen, colors will start look washed started at around 25 degrees, on their screen, the color will look washed at around 50 degrees. For you who have a large room with wide seating, both of them are suitable for you.
The other excellence offered by OLED TVs including the LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 is about their pixel response time. As we have known, the pixel response time is main determinant of the TV’s performance in handling motion. And for this case, the pixel response time of OLED TVs including both LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 are nearly perfect. Their pixel response time is even far lower than the lowest pixel response time LED TV can reach. The result, when they are playing fast paced contents like sports or fast movies, the picture produced looks very smooth and clear without motion trail. The short ghosting trail following fast moving object that usually noticeable on the screen of LED TV is even no visible on their screen. In some certain scene, some duplication may still be visible, but this is caused by persistence.
Since OLED TVs including LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 don’t have backlight, they certainly don’t use PWM system like LED TVs. This certainly makes their screen is flicker-free that means it is great. But even so, sometimes, this does result in some persistence blur, particularly when they are playing 60fps content like sports or video games. But even so, for overcoming the blur that caused by persistence, they both have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion) that can make their screen flickers at 60 Hz. This feature can help to make motion looks clearer. To enable this feature, on OLED C8, you must set ‘Motion Pro’ to ‘Ono’, while on OLED C9, you must set ‘TruMotion’ to ‘User’ and toggling the ‘OLED Motion’ setting.
Meanwhile, when playing 24p movies, they both can do an excellent job. No matter the frame rate of the source, whether it is native 24p movies like Blu-Ray or DVD movies, 24p movies via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices or PC, or movies from native apps like Netflix, Amazon Videos, and others, both LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 can show all of these movies types clearly with judder-free. To make them judder-free, on OLED C8, you must turn on ‘Real Cinema’, set ‘TrueMotion’ to ‘User’ and set both the ‘Judder’ and ‘De-Blur sliders to zero. While on C9, as long as the BFI mode is not activated, you don’t need to do anything.
As we have discussed above, by default, both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 have native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. But the advantage of OLED C9, it now already supports Variable refresh rate while the OLED C8 doesn’t yet. But unfortunately, it doesn’t supports FreeSync and G-Sync and only supports HDMI-VRR format where there are not many compatible devices available.
Winner: OLED C9
As we have discussed above, LG OLED C8 and OLED C9 might be equipped with the same number of inputs and outputs, but their ability is different. The HDMI ports of OLED C9 can do more than OLED C8. In addition to what that supported by HDMI ports of OLED C8 like HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, CEC, the HDMI ports of OLED C9 also supports HDMI 2.1, eARC, and others. This certainly makes OLED C9 can do more than OLED C8 like we have discussed above.
Meanwhile, in term of input lags in PC and Game mode, LG OLED C9 also offers improvements over the LG OLED C8 predecessor. At 60 Hz, the LG OLED C8 supports 1080p, 4K, 4K with HDR, and 4K @ 4:4:4. No matter the resolution, at 60 Hz, the input lags of LG OLED C8 are almost similar that is around 21 ms. Meanwhile, at 120 Hz, the OLED C8 is only supports 1080p resolution where its input lag is also not far different to at 60 Hz, that is about 21 ms. The LG OLED C8 don’t support 4K at 120 Hz and 1440p at both 60 and 120 Hz.
On the other hand, the inputs of LG OLED C9 support more resolution. Whether at 60 Hz or 120 Hz, it already supports almost all resolution including 1080p, 1440p, 4K, 4K with HDR, and 4K @ 4:4:4 and its input lags is varying depending on the input type. At 60 Hz, with 1080p, 4K, and 4K @ 4:44, its input lags are excellent, that is around 13 ms. This certainly is better than the OLED C8. But still at 60 Hz, in 1440p its input lags is a bit higher than 20 ms and in 4K with HDR, its input lags is even higher, that is around 40 ms. This means, without HDR, the LG OLED C9 is more responsive while with HDR, the OLED C8 is more responsive. Meanwhile, at 120 Hz, the input lags of OLED C9 is even far lower than the OLED C8 where its input lags is around 7 ms in both 1080p and 1440p resolution. Overall, LG OLED C9 is more responsive than OLED C8, but when used for playing HDR games, the OLED B8 is more response. Ignoring their differences, they both are very responsive for any games, even for fast paced games that require fast reflexes.
Winner: OLED C9
As their smart TV platforms, LG OLED C8 Runs Tizen OS 4.0 version while the OLED C9 runs Tizen OS 4.5 version. On the interface, there is not many changes brought the newer version. As we have known, the interface of Tizen 4.0 is actually already attractive and easy to use. Additionally, their interface is also equally very responsive and smooth and there is almost no bugs found. Apps which provided are also very complete. As their preloaded apps, there are a lot of the most popular apps like Netflix, Amazon Videos, YouTube, and more. Additionally, it also has an apps store called LG apps store. Although not as many as what provided by Google Play Store or Samsung Apps Store, apps, contents, games and others provided by its apps store is also very complete. Just like other smart TV platforms, Tizen OS also works with Amazon Alexa and Netflix. Additionally, this platform has been integrated with LG ThinQ AI, allow you to control your other compatible devices like Washing Machine, Air Conditioner, Refrigerator, and others with your voice command via your LG TV. As a newer version, there are only few smart features offered by the 4.5 version over 4.0 version. One of them is a ‘Home Dashboard’ where it is almost similar to SmartThing System by Samsung.
As their controller, both LG OLED C9 and OLED C8 are equipped with LG Magic Remote. OLED C9 comes with 2019 model while the OLED C8 comes with 2019 model. At a glance, their remote looks similar. As we have known, one of the advantages of LG Magic Remote is it can be used as the mouse pointer, which makes navigating is much easier and faster. Additionally, they both are also equipped with built-in microphone for voice navigation. Since its voice navigation is integrated with ThinQ AI, its voice navigation can work far better than before. Although their remote looks extremely similar, the remote of OLED C9 have few additional features. Now it has a feature like OneRemote on Samsung TV that works over IR. This means, not only HDMI CEC compatible devices that can be controlled by this remote, but also which don’t support HDMI CEC.
|Performance||LG OLED C9||LG OLED C8|
As we have discussed a lot above, as a newer model, LG OLED C9 brings improvement in almost all aspects over the OLED C8 predecessor. It has brighter peak brightness and wider color gamut than the predecessor, makes overall picture quality produced looks a bit better than the predecessor. Even though in showing small highlights, the OLED C8 can get brighter, but overall, win real content, the OLED C9 can get brighter. LG OLED C9 also offers some an improvement in input lags. With HDR, the input lags of OLED C9 may be not as low as the OLED C8 predecessor or even sis too high, without HDR, input lags of the OLED C9 are better than OLED C8. Not only that, the inputs of OLED C9 also support more resolution and frame rate than OLED C8. In addition to some an improvement in performance, it also offers some new features like HDMI 2.1, eARC, Variable Refresh Rate, the use of AI for picture and sound enhancement, and others. All of them makes the OLED C9 is better than the LG OLED C8 predecessor.
Which is a better choice between them? As a newer model that brings some improvement in picture quality and performance and also some new features, LG OLED C9 certainly is better choice than OLED C8. But keep in mind, since it is recently launched, it certainly still has a full price. On the other hand, the price of OLED C8 has dropped a lot. Now the decision comes back to you. If you have extra budget, OLED C9 may be better for you. Otherwise, if you want a cheaper, performance and picture quality OLED C8 is also not far different.