Are you looking for a new television? We don't blame you: every year a new round of TVs comes on the market, with larger panels, better images and refurbished processors that simply demand a place in your home. But when it comes to LG versus Samsung TV ' s, which should you choose?
Let's face it, most TVs look largely the same at first glance. Certainly, some will be larger or thinner than others, and will have both LG and Samsung experimented with new form factors for their high end sets – you have seen Rollable OLED from LG yet? But at the end of the day you buy a rectangle and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what makes one really the other.
That is why we have compiled this guide for comparing Samsung versus LG TV ' s so that you know with certainty which brand makes the right TV for you.
- Dear Samsung TV: your guide to buying Samsung in 2019
Samsung vs LG TV: overview
Samsung and LG are two large-scale manufacturers that sell TVs for both high and low prices, but with slightly different panel technologies for their high-end sets.
Both are South Korean manufacturers selling televisions worldwide, with a large presence in both the UK and the US – unlike Panasonic or Philips, who do not have licenses in North America – with a large installation base and a wide range of televisions each years.
It is difficult to compare prices, given the number of sets that Samsung and LG launch each year, ranging from 32-inch LEDs and budget 4K TVs to super-large 8K sets that will save you thousands of dollars / pounds. Regardless of the size, shape, resolution or budget you are looking for, you will be involved.
Samsung and LG are also fighting over territory in the highly competitive smartphone market: both produce Android phones, although we will not compare their handsets in this specific manual.
Smart TV: Tizen vs webOS
Both Samsung and LG use their own patented Smart TV platform and each has its own personal taste.
LG has been leading with webOS – a minimal, stripped back TV for smart TV – since 2014. It uses a horizontal menu bar for frequently used apps, streaming services and inputs, with customizable placement, so you can choose where your favorite apps are on the dashboard. The latest webOS 4.5 software also offers secondary menus that appear when you place the mouse pointer over an app icon.
The Tizen platform from Samsung does not differ enormously in terms of layout (you could say it was influenced by the first), although it is not as impressive as a search algorithm like the ThinQ AI software from LG.
But what about voice assistants? LG ' s OLED and Super UHD sets come with a built-in Google Assistant and limited compatibility with Alexa-managed devices. Samsung uses its own (slightly worse) first-party Bixby Assistant, although again only for mid-range or premium sets – and with the option to use Google Assistant or Alexa through third-party devices.
Dolby Vision vs HDR 10+
Both have a slightly different format for a high dynamic range (HDR), with LG Dolby Vision packed in its premium range of OLED ' s and Super UHD ' s, while Samsung prefers HDR10 + for its premium TV ' s.
Both formats use dynamic metadata to match the output of the television to the content being displayed, so scenes of dark underground caves or well-lit drawing spaces vary according to the levels of brightness, contrast and image processing.
Dolby Vision is really the more advanced format, with 12-bit color range instead of the 10-bit HDR10 +, and is also found more often. (Although there are a number of HDR10 + shows on Amazon Prime, you cannot find them on Netflix, Chromecast Ultra or Apple TV 4K.)
Admittedly, the preferred HDR format is really a concern at the higher end of the price range, but those who spend large must think carefully about which services they are likely to want HDR content.
QLED or OLED?
Today's premium television market is divided into two panel technologies: OLED and QLED (in fact an LED LCD screen with quantum dots).
OLED, which stands for ' organic light emitting diode & # 39 ;, is a type of TV screen that can emit its own light, rather than light shining through it. This made brilliantly thin TV screens possible and the ability to individually adjust the brightness of individual pixels. OLED ' s are known for their vibrant colors, deep black levels and overall low brightness. People often talk about ' burn-in ' on OLED screens, but much of this is anecdotal and you would probably have to work very hard to become a problem.
All OLED panels are manufactured by LG Display, so even if you have a Sony OLED with you, you have to thank LG.
QLED, on the other hand, is a proprietary technology developed by Samsung. QLED uses a quantum dot filter to improve color and contrast, and it's a matter of dimming rather than individual pixel control. QLED TVs are a lot brighter than OLEDs (thousands of nits against hundreds) although they have difficulty displaying both light and dark images at the same time. There are OLED-die-hards who hate the faded colors of overly bright TV's, while many with Samsung sets would find the much weaker OLED screens much less impressive.
We have covered this debate in more detail in our QLED vs OLED guide, although for the time being it is sufficient to say that OLED is generally suitable for high-quality video formats in dark viewing environments, while Samsung ' s sets are less faithful to make color but good with a clear and clear screen.
Samsung vs LG TV: which should you choose?
It has been a difficult period for both LG and Samsung. LG Display had to spend a lot on research and development for its OLED panels, and this year reported an operating loss of the first quarter (via Reuters) – although with the bet that growth in OLED ultimately balances this.
In the meantime, Samsung expects a large profit decline in 2019 after a lower-than-expected sale of smartphones and TV demand. Samsung has plans to compete with LG ' s OLED technology, with its own QD-OLED hybrid (quantum dot OLED), but due to unstable finances, those plans were pushed back a few years ago.
The pick-up option here is that, regardless of the financial health of both companies, both focus on their current display technologies and do not suddenly stop supporting one of the new TVs they currently market. So which set you choose should just lie on what you want in your living room.
If you want a bright, dazzling QLED screen to illuminate your home – or a decent budget option such as the NU7100 – then Samsung is the best choice. If you really want the most impressive image quality, regardless of price, nothing beats LG ' s OLED panels for color and contrast right now (see: LG ' s C9 OLED).
If you're happy with your current television, but want to upgrade for a few more years – well, it can be a completely different story.
- View the full range of Samsung 2019 TV ' s and LG 2019 TV ' s