LG OLED48CX
What Hi-Fi|January 2021
It’s been a long time coming but the first 4K OLED TV under 50in is finally with us. Was it worth the wait? Most definitely

We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. The first OLED TV arrived on the scene in 2007 and was tiny, at only 11 inches, not to mention ludicrously expensive. In 2012, the first full-size OLED TV arrived in shops, and that had a 55in screen. It has taken until now for a model between the two sizes to appear.

That model is the OLED48CX, a 48in OLED from LG. The Korean company was an early investor in OLED tech and is now reaping the rewards: to the best of our knowledge, every OLED TV you can currently buy – whether it’s branded Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Hisense or anything else – features an LG panel. Predictably, more 48in OLEDs are now on the way, but the 48CX is blazing the trail. And it’s doing so in some style.

For some, the bit of saving over the 55in model will seem a bit lousy, but this is the first TV of its type at this size, so perhaps we should be grateful it’s only a little more expensive than the premium QLEDs and LCDs already on the market.

Internationally, the OLED48CX is available either as the OLED48CX6LA or OLED48CX5LB. The only difference is the finish: the 6LA comes in dark silver, while the 5LB is light silver.

In the US, this model is known as the OLED48CXPUB. It is not currently planned for launch in Australia and might come to India soon but there’s no definite word on it yet.

If it ain’t broke…

As you might expect, the OLED48CX looks like a mini OLED55CX. Perhaps disappointingly, that means it also looks like last year’s C9: LG has chosen not to alter the appearance of its C-series between the 2019 and 2020 generations.

That’s far from a disaster, though. The C9 was a smart-looking TV and the CX is equally so – the smooth, sculpted pedestal is more elegant than the simple feet of most rivals and gives the set a marginally narrower footprint than some. While OLED panels themselves are extremely thin, a TV is more than just a panel. The speakers, connections and processing bits and pieces still need to go somewhere, and on an OLED they tend to go in a plastic enclosure attached to the back of the panel. That means that even though the CX is just 6mm at its edges, much of its chassis is 4.7cm deep. That’s still thin by modern TV standards.

As is the norm for LG’s OLEDs, the 2020 range consists of a number of models with all except the B-series (this year, that’s the BX) having the same panel and processing tech. The only differences are the styling and the sound system. That means this 48in TV gives you the full 4K flagship experience at a smaller size.

The flagship processor is the third-generation version of the Alpha 9. The main upgrades are to artificial intelligence, with features such as AI Picture Pro, which LG says enhances resolution and sharpness, and AI Sound Pro, which “provides the optimal sound or Virtual 5.1 surround, depending on the watching genre”. Throughout testing, we find both features to be worth using.

On the HDR front, LG continues to support HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. HDR10+ continues to struggle to make headway, so the fact that it’s missing is no big deal, but it is worth pointing out that OLEDs from Panasonic and Philips do support both Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

LG’s 2020 OLEDs support the new Dolby Vision IQ format, though, which tailors the Dolby Vision performance to the ambient light in the room.

Automatic selection

Somewhat confusingly, there isn’t a Dolby Vision IQ setting in the TV’s menus, but if you’re watching Dolby Vision content and the AI Brightness Control feature is enabled, you’re using IQ.

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