By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.

Imperiously positioned on my test bench is the LG OLED77Z3: a 77-inch TV that combines LG’s new brightness-boosting micro lens array technology with an 8K, rather than 4K, resolution. And if that isn’t enough to convince you of its flagship status, the OLED77Z3 comes with a £14,999 price tag.

This time, my job is simple: I just need to figure out whether the OLED77Z3’s 8K resolution brings enough to the party to justify its hefty price (despite useful amounts of native 8K content being rare outside Japan).

Picture quality

There are two main points to consider with the OLED77Z3: does true 8K really look better than 4K, and does 4K (and HD) look better when upscaled to 8K than it does on a 4K TV? 

With native 8K video essentially non-existent in the UK (and pretty much everywhere else), I used an 8K demo reel of scenic views and cool animal close-ups put together by US company Spears & Munsil. And having watched the same footage on countless 4K TVs, I have no hesitation in saying that it looks better on the OLED77Z3 than it does on even the best 4K equipment.

There’s more detail, of course, but it also delivers more depth, more three-dimensionality and a more natural, real-world feel. Be it in the slightly jagged look to diagonal and curved lines you still get with 4K, or the subtlety of colour blends in object surfaces, background walls, blue skies and so on, 8K is a definite step up.

For regular TV viewers, how the OLED77Z3 handles 4K and HD content is also hugely important. Happily, this is one of the main areas of improvement over previous LG 8K OLED TVs, thanks to its Alpha 9 8K AI processor Gen 6 chipset. 

The new processor has more power and more AI deep learning engaged in upscaling sub-8K content to the screen’s native 7680x4320 pixel count. This is handy because, if you’re upgrading 4K images to 8K, you need to add nearly 25 million pixels to every frame of the picture in real time. And around 31 million pixels if your source is HD.

The OLED77Z3’s AI-boosted upscaling works fantastically well. With a good 4K source, it delivers all the 8K benefits described earlier. Even with relatively low-quality 4K, the results look better than on a native 4K screen, although you may need to tinker with the noise-reduction and motion-smoothing to get the cleanest results.

The upgrade the OLED77Z3 brings to HD content compared with LG’s previous models is even more pronounced. I’m not saying HD sources miraculously turn into 8K - but they look far more detailed than in their native form. I’d still recommend feeding the OLED77Z3 as much 4K as you can, but HD still looks okay – and it often makes this source look better.

Of course, you can have all the pixels in the world, but they won’t save the day if other aspects of the image aren’t up to scratch. Happily, the OLED77Z3’s wider picture performance is more than acceptable.

For instance, the contrast is immense. Dark scenes benefit from black colours that look just that: black. Not slightly grey, or blue, or green, as they tend to appear on many LCD TVs. And since every pixel in the OLED77Z3’s screen can make its own light, those immaculate blacks sit alongside the brightest colours without compromise.

So many tiny pixels also mean there’s a level of subtlety that goes beyond 4K, adding to the sense of realism and immersion. Dark scenes enjoy more nuanced shadow-detailing and a better sense of space. Colours are mesmerising, too - especially with high dynamic range sources, where there’s a level of finesse that pretty much eradicates blocking and banding noise from the most complicated or coarsely encoded HDR images. 

There are, however, a few limitations to report. Firstly, the addition of MLA technology (part of what LG calls its ‘Brightness Booster Max’ system) doesn’t add as much brightness as expected. Measurements suggest the OLED77Z3 hits around 1000 nits of brightness on a 10% white HDR test window - up between 20 and 30 percent on its Z2 8K predecessor. This is a welcome jump, but peak brightness remains 400 nits or so behind that of the company’s G3 4K OLED TVs.

The OLED77Z3’s generally impressive upscaling processing, meanwhile, struggles with the huge job of improving standard dynamic range sources - the results look a bit soft and ‘processed’. And while the upscaling of HD video is remarkably good, it can leave skin-tones looking a bit plasticky.

Sound quality

After its spectacular pictures, the OLED77Z3’s sound is a bit lacking in power and impact. 

The sleek ‘Gallery’ design doesn’t allow space for any forward-firing drivers, and LG doesn’t use the so-called ‘Acoustic Surface’ technology Sony does on its OLED TVs. So, it’s not surprising that the sound lacks impact - most of the effects seem to come from behind the screen - and the bass sounds muffled under pressure.

On the plus side, vocals are clear and typically seem to come from the screen rather than from below or to the side of the image. Busy movie mixes sound detailed, and those details are positioned accurately within the wall of sound. And while that wall doesn’t push forwards much, it does project a reasonable distance beyond the TV’s four sides - not least because LG’s latest processor does a good job of up-converting even basic stereo into virtual 9.1.2 channel mixes.

Living with

The bezel around the screen is quite slim, but the OLED77Z3 is deeper than is ideal for a TV that otherwise lends itself so well to hanging on a wall. You may decide to stand the 44kg set on a piece of furniture, in which case the two supplied feet look somewhat basic to be supporting such a spectacular screen.

Day-to-day use of the OLED77Z3 is enhanced by a glamorous metal-finished remote control, and an improved version of LG’s webOS platform that incorporates more tiers of content options on its home page and introduces multiple user ‘profiles’. These allow different members of the household to set up their own home screens, and the TV will track their individual viewing habits for a more personalised experience.

I’d recommend you factor in a good external sound system, or at least plan to add one later, since the audio isn’t as grand or cinematic as the picture. But I’ll wrap up on a positive note: the OLED77Z3 is approaching a peerless option for gamers, thanks to its four fully featured HDMI 2.1 ports and excellent ‘Game Bar’ menu screen.


Is the 8K LG OLED77Z3 worth £11,000 more than the similarly-sized but much brighter 4K G3? The answer is a qualified yes. There’s no doubt the 4K OLED77G3 crushes its 8K sibling on a value-for-money basis. But the sensational results the OLED77Z3 gets from its 8K resolution (even from sub-8K sources) mean that if you’ll be using your TV in a fairly dark room, and money’s more-or-less no object, the LG OLED77Z3 is in a league of its own.

Viewing notes

8K Demo Reel Spears & Munsil

I’ve managed to get my hands on some genuine 8K footage courtesy of the video-testing gurus at Spears & Munsil. And it looks jaw-droppingly good on the OLED77Z3, revealing detail, depth and a sense of immediacy that feels less like watching TV and more like looking through a window.

 4K Blu-ray Blade Runner 2049

The 4K Blu-ray of Blade Runner 2049 carries one of the cleanest, most detailed and most subtly graded 4K images around - perfect for revealing the full ability of the LG OLED77Z3’s 8K upscaling engine. Every shot looks more life-like and immediate than on even the finest 4K TV.

 Xbox Series X game Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Even on 4K screens, the gorgeous open-world graphics of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are some of the most immersive and detailed around. The OLED77Z3’s 8K upscaling system, though, makes every landscape look even denser, more textured, and just more beautiful.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

While native 8K content is mostly a distant dream in the TV and movie world, and as rare as hen’s teeth in the gaming world, the OLED77Z3’s processing is so good that it manages to make 4K look better than on a 4K set, and good quality HD look more natural and immersive, too. Its self-emissive OLED screen, meanwhile, means it’s able to match its resolution with an equal degree of light control, fully unlocking 8K’s potential for finer colour blends and shading in a way no other technology currently can. 

Video review

Pair it with

If you partner the OLED77Z3 with an external audio solution, you could do worse than LG’s own S95QR soundbar. As well as being a 9.1.5-channel full surround sound system, complete with multi-channel rear speakers and up-firing drivers to deliver overhead effects, this soundbar offers value-added features when used with LG TVs. These include wireless Dolby Atmos transmission from the TV to the soundbar using LG’s WowCast system, and the Wow Orchestra feature that allows the soundbar’s drivers to work in tandem with the speakers and processing in LG TVs.

In the spirit of feeding this 8K TV as many high quality sources as possible, you should hook up the best 4K Blu-ray player you can - either the Panasonic UB900 or Magnetar UDP800. Sky Stream or a 4K Sky satellite box would also boost the quality of content you can feed LG’s 8K TV, and you should sign up to the premium performance tier of as many streaming services as you can afford.

Finally, if you’re a gamer it is worth feeding the OLED77Z3 the best-quality sources you can - which means an Xbox Series X, Sony PlayStation 5 or PC with a high-level graphics card. In fact, the highest-grade graphics cards look more likely to provide native 8K content than any currently obvious video sources over the coming years…

Alternatives to consider

No items found.