The LG B1 OLED is coming for 2021, but has its thunder been stolen? That’s the question on our lips right now, with a BX OLED successor confirmed by LG even as an even cheaper A Series model is set to undercut it on price.
The B Series has, for the past few years, been the cheapest OLED TV in LG’s television range. Making do with a lower-spec a7 processor, rather than the a9 models used in higher-up models (C Series, G Series, E Series, and W Series), it’s been the closest the TV market has got to an affordable OLED that’s actually worth buying.
Change is afoot, though. A new A1 OLED is launching this year, with a few more compromises to specification to drop that starting price even further.
It means the B1 won’t be the go-to value buy that the B9 or BX was, possibly seeing the model discontinued in the long run if shoppers largely opt for A1 instead – something we saw in 2020, when the gorgeous E9 OLED wasn’t renewed with a new iteration.
So, what can you expect from the LG B1 OLED? Here’s everything we know so far.
LG B1 OLED release date
There’s no confirmed release date for the LG BX. The B Series does usually launch a few months later than higher-spec models, closer to September rather than the mid-year launches of the C Series or G Series. (New TV ranges tend to kick into gear April/May.)
Things could be different this year, especially with another A Series model joining the fray – and it’s telling that the B1 is already confirmed, so we might be getting it alongside the C1 and G1 iterations a bit earlier than usual.
LG B1 OLED price expectations
We do have pricing for the LG B1 OLED – in Germany at least, where the B1 retails for 1,800 euros for a 55-inch size.
That’s the same German pricing as the BX launched with in 2020, meaning it’s likely we’ll see the same $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,995 price tag in other territories. (Only the 55-inch model was available in Australia.)
The 65-inch BX, meanwhile, cost $1,999 / £1,799 at launch.
For those hoping the B Series would be a little cheaper this year, it looks unlikely – though the entry-level A1 OLED will be sure to cost a little less.
LG B1 OLED sizes
The LG B1 is confirmed for three different screen sizes: 55-inch, 65-inch, and 77-inch.
It won’t be getting the 48-inch OLED size that launched last year then, unlike the C1 and A1 models above and below the B1 – or the new 83-inch screen size that looks to be exclusive to the C1 for the time being.
However, given last year’s BX didn’t come in a 77-inch size, there is still more flexibility in sizing than before, and we could always see additional models announced down the line (a new 42-inch OLED panel size is on its way, after all).
LG B1 OLED specs and features
The LG B1 OLED won’t be the cheapest OLED TV put out by LG this year, but it sounds like not too much is changing over last year’s BX.
You’re getting a step-down a7 Gen 4 AI 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.
It will still benefit from some of the AI advances of LG’s chipsets this year too, using deep learning to better analyze discrete objects onscreen, meaning people, backgrounds, and sections of text are all properly distinguished from each other. “Every adjustment to picture and sound is automatic, so everything you watch is spectacular,” says LG’s website.
It’s a 4K OLED, so you’ll get a crisp 3840 x 2160 resolution, along with a 120Hz panel and LG’s webOS smart platform – which has been overhauled with a sixth iteration for this year, ditching the half-screen overlay for a full-screen home page, and somewhat tidier tile icons.
In terms of sound, the B1 OLED does get 40W of audio output with its downward-firing drivers, rather than the meagre 20W found on the A1 OLED. The B1 will also include two HDMI 2.1 ports, unlike the A1, which won’t have any.
HDMI 2.1 is needed for a host of gamer-centric features like 4K/120Hz gameplay, as well as VRR (variable refresh rate). The B Series and above will also get G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing on PC-linked gaming TVs.
What does ‘B1’ really mean?
For those not au fait with LG lingo, the ‘B1’ is the specific product number applied to this year’s B Series OLED.
The letter ‘B’ denotes the television series (alongside ‘A’, ‘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’.