Calibrating for the Next Generation – LG C9 4K OLED TV Thoughts

Right before Super Bowl LIV, our living room TV died. Just bit the dust out of nowhere. Abby and I were rocking a 2007 JVC LT-46AM73 that we were graciously given for free. The only investment was a $50 stand to put it on our entertainment center. It served us well, but I always had nitpicks with it. It cropped off the image on all sides with no scaling options, had no modern audio out options, and only two HDMI ports that were accessible. It was chunkier than most HD TVs I’ve used before, but at 46” it was a significant upgrade over the 32” we owned before.

While I always wanted to upgrade the TV, we couldn’t argue with the low, low price of free. The TV worked well enough to serve both our watching and playing purposes. I was in no rush to upgrade.

One night, as I turned it on for some regular TV watching, the thing just went kaput. I asked Abby to turn on the Apple TV and the JVC TV just died. I tried unplugging it and plugging it back in: No dice. I turned to Google and found out it was not uncommon for this model. One fix I found involved taking off the back of the TV and heating up a specific capacitor with a hair dryer until the unit powered on. That sealed the deal for me. It was time for a new TV.

I could not hide my excitement at the idea of buying a new TV. I have wanted to make the 4K leap for years. Encouraged by mid-generation console upgrades, a steadily growing 4K movie collection, and seeing my friends make the upgrade, I talked a lot about investing in my own 4K future. We own both a PS4 Pro and an Apple TV 4K, but were never getting the full power out of either of them.

I immediately began researching options. Assisted by my 4K brethren, Logan Moore and Mike Ruiz, I dove into a sea of specs, pixels, sizes, prices, and more.

After sifting through the options and ultra convenient Super Bowl deals, I landed on two options:

The key trade offs were the price difference/deals, the 10” size difference, LED or OLED, and future proofing features (like HDMI 2.1).To spare you all the details of the of my comparison and discussions Abby and I had, we ended up going with the LG C9 55” OLED, which is the one I really wanted.

We picked it up on a Friday night, so I spent most of that evening just rewiring our entertainment center and putting everything in its place. The first thing we watched was Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse in 4K HDR before I calibrated the TV. My eyeballs couldn’t handle all the colors.

I spent a decent chunk of time Saturday calibrating the TV itself; and I learned a lot. My buddy Logan told me that there was a bunch of settings to tweak when he bought his 4K a couple years ago. I had a hard time picturing that much tedium. Boy, was I wrong.

Breaking news: TVs are like full blown computers nowadays! The LG C9 can remember the settings you select for each HDMI port, which was a totally foreign concept to me. I started with RTINGS calibration guide and began applying their recommended settings to each port. By HDMI 3, I realized that RTINGS suggested settings were more optimized for movies and TV shows than they were for video game play.

I turned to My Life In Gaming and their 4K setup episode. I fused the two sources of information to make each port exactly what I want. I’ve got three game consoles hooked up (for the first time ever!) and our Apple TV 4K. If I watch a Blu Ray disc (or a 4K Blu Ray when I upgrade to the PS5 and Xbox Series X), I will have to adjust the settings to get the video quality I’d prefer for video. That is not something I’m super looking forward too. It would be nice if there were profiles or toggles to switch between custom preset settings made by the user.

Once it was all calibrated, I finally booted up my PS4 Pro. I booted up God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Tetris Effect.

I never knew how much visual information I was missing. More so than raw graphical detail, the colors and lighting that are capable with HDR is astounding. It reminds me of when I put on glasses for the first time; I was miss out on a whole world of detail.

Beyond the present with only my PS4 Pro, the next generation of consoles is looming on the horizon. The known specs at the time of this writing claim the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be capable of 8K at the max, including 4K 120Hz. While my TV can’t handle 8K, it can handle 4K 120Hz thanks to having the HDMI 2.1 standard. If both the input and output devices are HDMI 2.1 and you use a cable that can handle the bandwidth, you are golden. Being able to handle the upcoming generation was imperative in my research for the TV.

I remember offhandedly saying to one of my friends “I will have a 4K TV by the time The Last Of Us Part II release.” As that time came closer, I knew that was not an active goal I was pursuing. There were simply more important things to save up for that impact far more than my entertainment system. Despite the TV not being a planned purchase this soon, it has amped my hype for the PS5 and Xbox Series X much higher than it was with my standard HD TV. Having this new 4K HDR TV has kicked me back to my PS4 library to check out what the Pro has to offer. Even impending titles like The Last Of Us Part II have had their hype levels dramatically increased.

My new TV is probably the raddest purchase I’ve ever made. It is such a multipurpose device; from the people that use it to the content it can present. I am extremely happy with it and cannot wait to see what the next generation of video games will bring to the screen.