A new budget OLED is coming.
What is the LG A1 OLED? The announcement of a new budget OLED TV model came as a surprise over the CES 2021 expo, seemingly replacing the B Series televisions we’ve seen in previous years (LG BX, LG B9, etc). But what exactly does LG Electronics have planned for its new entry-level OLED, and why should you care?
LG makes some of the best and most popular OLED televisions made today. Its CX OLED from 2020 comfortably topped our best OLED TV guide, and the step-down B Series has long been a smart choice for those wanting a premium picture at a more accessible price point.
Culling the B Series for a new A-Series model is curious, then, and suggests we’ll be seeing some key differences in pricing and specification.
There’s little firm information to go on so far, but we’ve rounded up what we do know in this concise guide – and we’ll be sure to update and expand it as LG reveals more about its new A1 OLED TV.
Note that we don’t have any confirmed imagery of the LG A1 yet, so any pictures featured in this article will be for older, existing LG TVs.
LG A1 OLED specs and features
The most important thing to know is that the LG A1 OLED will be the lowest-spec (and therefore cheapest) OLED TV put out by LG this year.
Much sounds similar to last year’s B Series, with a step-down a7 processor rather than the a9 Gen 4 AI chip used in the C1 and G1 OLEDs. The a7 isn’t quite as advanced (hence the price drop), and tends to lead to more banding and video noise in dark scenes, but it still makes for a generally favorable picture.
We also know that the A1 will support Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio, and come with 20W of built-in audio.
The two key differences between the A-Series and B Series seems to be that the former is a bit quieter (20W rather than the latter’s 40W), and doesn’t support HDMI 2.1 (a feature you will find in the LG BX, and this year’s new C1 / G1 models).
HDMI 2.1 is needed for a host of gamer-centric features like 4K/120Hz gameplay, as well as VRR (variable refresh rate), so the A1 probably won’t be a TV of choice for those hoping to get max performance out of their PS5 or Xbox Series X.
LG A1 OLED price expectations
There’s no confirmed pricing thus far, but we can glean some helpful info by comparing it with the price tag of last year’s BX OLED, which was the cheapest 2020 LG OLED, costing $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,995 for the 55-inch model and $1,999 / £1,799 for the 65-inch at launch. (Only the 55-inch model was available in Australia.)
If we assume the A-Series is going to be even more competitively priced, along with the option of a 48-inch model, we could be looking at a launch price of around $1,000 / £1,000 in the US and UK for its smallest size, with that price likely to drop a few months after launch.
This is speculation, of course, and LG was a bit funny about pricing for its 48-inch size last year (the LG CX was somehow cheaper at a 55-inch size). We’re expecting to see some real value here for an OLED TV, though.
LG A1 OLED release date
There’s no confirmed release date, either, though last year’s CX and GX models launched around mid-2020, and new TV ranges tend to kick into gear April/May.
LG does tend to wait until around August/September to release its budget B Series, but the fact that we’ve heard about the A1 already suggests we’ll be getting it sooner rather than later.
LG A1 OLED sizes
LG tells us that the A1 OLED will be releasing in four different screen sizes: 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch.
The company is going all-in on this set, then, given last year’s BX wasn’t available in a 77-inch model or the recently-introduced 48-inch OLED size.
There are more screen sizes for OLED releasing this year, of course, with a new 83-inch size that will come to the LG C1. We’ve heard from LG Display – the panel supplier for LG Electronics’ OLED televisions – that a new 42-inch OLED is on its way too, though it’s yet to be confirmed for any specific 2021 TVs.
What does ‘A1’ really mean?
For those not au fait with LG lingo, the ‘A1’ is the specific product number applied to this year’s A Series OLED.
The letter ‘A’ denotes the television series (alongside ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘G’, and the now-discontinued ‘E’ Series), while the number corresponds to the year of release. In 2019, these numbers were all ‘9’, as in ‘C9’ or ‘B9’; in 2020, the number became ‘X’ (‘ten’), while 2021 is resetting to ‘1’.
Will we see a B Series OLED?
It’s worth noting that LG hasn’t ruled out a B1 OLED model entirely. We usually see a B Series set to launch much later in the year, around September, so there’s plenty of time for the company to decide it wants to release yet another OLED model for more cash-strapped shoppers. We expect, however, that it would cost slightly more than the A-Series, and likely ship with HDMI 2.1 ports and all their associated advantages (VRR, eARC, 4K/120Hz, etc).
- Every 48-inch OLED TV you can buy