Hey LG, why is the picture quality on your OLEDs so green?
Opinion: In the past few years, the trend in the premium segment of the TV market has been resolution. Does this image accurately reflect the intention of the creator?
But at the same time, there is also the belief of TV manufacturers in how the pictures look. Then there is a consideration of image processing technology, and how different panel technologies affect performance: OLED, Mini LED, QLED, QD-OLED, LCD and so on? There are many ways to skin a cat, although the point of all of them is to get to the same destination.
When new TVs are in the near future, I head to shows organized by TV brands. It’s always the new TV versus the competing TV from the previous year, and it shows all the improvements found. There’s often a Sony mastering screen in between—it’s 30 inches in size and costs $30,000—to reflect how close the TV’s picture is to the main screen.
Back in February, I was invited to see what Samsung had to offer with its 2023 TVs, and I mentioned that in my previous Sound and Vision column, but I’ll bring it up again here. HDR mastering expert Florian Friedrich was giving a technical comparison between the new QD-OLED and the LG G2 and pointed a greenish tint to the lampshade where it shouldn’t be.
It was weird because the light was yellow, but whatever was going on with the TV’s WRGB panel or TV processing, it was coming out a little green. I told someone else that maybe it has something to do with HDR10 tone mapping and that will definitely be different with Dolby Vision content. It turns out that this assumption is incorrect, but more on that later.
After I received the C3 for testing, I went about my usual business, looking at some patterns from a standard Spears & Munsil dial, measuring peak brightness and so on. But the bulk of testers is always watching real-world content — test patterns are useful, but when you unbox a TV at home, you don’t watch the color wheel spin forever. You’ll see the things you love.
And so, with the C3 I played Interstellar (4K Blu-ray) and that’s where I first noticed things were off. There was more greenery in this movie than I can remember. When the ship lands on the watery planet, there is a green tone to their spacesuits and even the water looked green. On top of that, this was in Filmmaker mode, which is supposed to be the most accurate picture preset.
I made note of it until then I didn’t really notice it, and wondered if it could be an HDMI issue or a color issue between it and the Panasonic UB820, even though it was connected to a Sony A95K the green color didn’t show up…
Then the OLED65G3 came out for testing. This TV is a beast. It’s comfortably one of the brightest OLED screens on the market (1,400 nits!) and the Vivid mode is so bright I could hardly believe the numbers I was regurgitating. All of the competitors’ complaints that the OLED isn’t bright enough — the G3 rolls its eyes and waves them away.
But over the C3, I’m starting to notice green tints everywhere. Comparing the G3 side by side with the A95K (yes, Sony, I know I’m taking a little too long, I apologize) and the LG G3 produces weird green tones in unexpected places that not even Dolby Vision can correct.
The pastoral country setting of The Dig (Dolby Vision) takes on a greenish tint; While streaming Men on Prime Video in Filmmaker mode (and to be fair, it’s a very green movie anyway) some strange shades of green popped up everywhere.
The white stripes on the couch behind Knives Chau at the start of Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Dolby Vision) looked green; Skin tones and shadows in Captain Marvel (Dolby Vision) looked a bit green, and the bright light on the jacket Carol Danvers is wearing had a greenish tint to it. It’s like I’m in The Matrix.
And speaking of The Matrix, spinning a 4K tweak from The Matrix Resurrections, and switching to an HDR10 layer made this really interesting.
I know the sun can produce a spectrum of colors, but I say this is it A little green. This is almost exactly what Florian Friedrich discovered at a Samsung symposium.
He put it on the white of the WRGB boards introducing tones that shouldn’t be there. In all of the OLED TVs I’ve seen, I’ve never noticed the problem, but now, at least with the G3, I can’t stop seeing it. It’s been a long time since my last eye test but when I look at the Sony QD-OLED I don’t see those green tones.
The C3 and G3 are both impressive, but there’s just something weird with that green. I’d come back to this, perhaps because of an issue with HDMI, but it shows up in streaming content too, which puts a dent in those picture resolution ambitions. It seems that it is not easy to be green in relation to LG.