The LG B9 OLED is a remarkable TV with excellent picture quality that displays perfect blacks. It has excellent wide viewing angles, good SDR peak brightness, and handles reflections well. This TV has a wide color gamut and decent HDR brightness, but the aggressive ABL can become bothersome. Motion looks crisp thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time, and the TV has a motion interpolation feature that can help minimize stutter in movies. Gamers will enjoy a responsive gaming experience thanks to the very low input lag, but unfortunately, just like all OLED TVs, it has the possibility of developing permanent burn-in.
The LG OLED B9 is a high-end 2019 TV. It replaces the 2018 LG B8 OLED. Since picture quality is very similar among all OLED TVs, the additional features and the design is what differentiates them. The main competitors are the LG C9 OLED, LG E9 OLED, Sony A9G OLED, and Sony A8G OLED. For LED competitors, the Samsung Q80R and the Sony Z9F can be considered the main ones.
The design of the LG B9 is outstanding. Overall, it resembles the design of the 2018 LG B8, although this year's model feels a bit less premium. This TV has a plastic stand, whereas the previous model has a metal one. The stand supports the TV well, but can't prevent all wobble. The back is plain and the TV is thin, just like most LG OLEDs. The build quality is excellent, and you shouldn't have any issues with the TV.
The stand of the B9 OLED is plastic and looks very similar to last year's B8 which, however, was made of metal. The B9's stand allows more wobble than last year's model.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 21.9" x 9.3".
The back of the B9 is plain. The upper part is made of metal, and the bottom is plastic and houses the electronics. Some of the inputs are facing sideways and some are facing outwards, which can get in the way if you wall-mount the TV. Cable management is serviced with the aid of a little clip on the back, very similar to the B8.
Just like most OLED TVs, the B9 has very thin borders that aren't distracting. There is a very small gap between the edge of the bezel and the start of the pixels.
The LG B9 is a very thin TV. It's thicker at the bottom where the electronics are housed, but even then it's still thin and won't stick out much if you wall-mount it.
The B9 has an excellent picture quality. It has perfect blacks and perfect black uniformity thanks to its OLED technology. It has excellent wide viewing angles, good SDR brightness, and handles reflections well, which is great if you have a fairly bright room with a wide seating arrangement. It gets decently bright in HDR and its wide color gamut displays vivid colors for an excellent HDR experience. The gray uniformity is excellent with almost no dirty screen effect, which is great if you enjoy watching sports. Unfortunately, its ABL function dims some very bright scenes which might bother some people, and just like all OLED TVs, it has the risk of permanent burn-in.
The B9 delivers perfect blacks, just like all OLEDs. It can switch off individual pixels, which creates an effectively infinite contrast ratio.
The LG OLED B9 doesn't need a local dimming feature since there is no backlight. Each pixel is self-emitting and can turn off or dim itself. In a dark room, this looks great, with no visible blooming around bright objects. Subtitles are also displayed perfectly.
The LG B9 has good peak brightness with SDR content and is suitable for a fairly bright room. Its brightness is in the same ballpark as the LG E9 and is a little brighter than last year's LG B8. Its Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL) is aggressive, similar to the E9, and it dims the screen significantly when larger areas of the screen get bright.
This TV, just like the C9 and the E9, has a new Peak Brightness setting that adjusts how the ABL performs. If you set it to 'Off', most scenes are displayed at around 266 cd/m² and there is no real variation in brightness according to the scene content, which is great. Increasing this setting to 'Low', 'Med', or 'High' increases the peak brightness of small highlights.
We took our measurements after calibration in the 'Expert (Dark Room)' Picture Mode, with Gamma set to '2.2', Color Temperature set to 'Warm2', Peak Brightness set to 'High', and OLED Light set to '100'. These were also the settings that gave us the brightest image.
The HDR peak brightness of the OLED B9 is decent. It's in the same ballpark as last year's LG B8, but can't reach the brightness levels of the C9. The ABL is a little less aggressive than the ABL found on the E9 and the C9, but you'll still notice the change in brightness with different content.
The HDR brightness measurements were taken in 'Cinema' mode, with OLED Light set to '100,' Peak Brightness set to 'High', and Color Temperature set to 'Warm2'.
Different picture modes and color temperatures will produce different results. We measured the 2% window at 767 cd/m² in the default 'Vivid' (HDR) Picture Mode.
The gray uniformity on the B9 is excellent. There's hardly any dirty screen effect, which is great for sports fans. The uniformity is just as good in near-dark scenes. Just like the E9 and other OLED TVs, you might notice some very faint horizontal and vertical lines when you're displaying almost black scenes in a pitch-black room. It's unlikely that you'll notice this under other conditions.
The LG B9 has outstanding viewing angles. The brightness and black levels are good even at very large angles off-center. Just like the E9 and the C9, colors shift and lose accuracy at smaller angles. They're still better than most LED TVs, but not as good as VA panel TVs that use a special filter like the Samsung Q80R of the Sony Z9F.
Perfect black uniformity on the B9, as expected from an OLED TV.
The B9's reflection handling is outstanding. Just like on the C9 and the E9, the glossy filter diminishes reflections by preventing them from scattering across the screen. You should have no issue placing this TV in a room with many light sources.
The purple tint you see on the image is the result of the anti-reflective coating and is also found on other TVs like the E9 or the Q8FN.
The accuracy of the B9 with its pre-calibration settings is poor. Most people will notice the inaccuracies in the pure whites, as the color temperature is warm with a yellowish tint. Enthusiasts, however, will also notice some inaccuracies in the colors. The gamma follows the target well, but some brighter scenes don't have the proper brightness.
Great upscaling of 480p content, like from DVDs, without obvious upscaling artifacts.
The B9 has a wide color gamut and can deliver vivid colors with HDR content. The TV follows the target PQ curve closely (although some very dark scenes are crushed) until it rolls off relatively sharp near the TVs peak brightness. In 'Game' mode, the EOTF is nearly identical.
If you find HDR too dim, the TV has two options to help you make it brighter. Check out what to do on the TV settings page here.
The color volume of the B9 is good. It's significantly better than last year's LG B8 and better than this year's E9 and C9, although this could be due to panel variance. Due to its WRGB pixel structure, the TV can produce bright whites but can't deliver bright saturated colors. The perfect contrast ratio, on the other hand, allows the TV to produce dark saturated colors with no issues, unlike many LED TVs.
The LG B9 has good gradient handling, but not on par with the rest of the LG TVs. Some banding is evident not only in our test pattern but also with normal content. This was not expected from the B9 and we had to confirm the results three times.
Just like the C9, this TV has a Smooth Gradation feature, which, however, can't remove banding in our test photo. With normal content, when Smooth Gradation is set to 'Low', it doesn't do much, so you should set it to 'High' to see significant improvement. However, then you risk losing some fine detail.
Although there are no signs of temporary image retention on the panel of our B9, some panel variation is to be expected. On the E9 we tested this year, we observed some faint temporary image retention.
This test is only indicative of short term image retention, and not the permanent burn-in that may occur with cummulative longer exposure to static images. We're currently running a long-term test to help us better understand permanent burn-in. You can see our results and read more about our investigation here.
Update 11/01/2019: Updated text to include our stance on burn-in.
Although we don't expect most people who watch varied content to have any issues, OLED TVs, such as the LG OLED B9 do have the possibility of experiencing burn in.
This TV has three features to help mitigate burn-in. We recommend enabling the Screen Shift option, and setting Logo Luminance Adjustment to 'Low.' There is also an automatic pixel refresher that can be run manually if needed.
You can read about our investigation into this here.
Like all other OLEDs, the B9 uses 4 sub-pixels, but all 4 are never used at the same time. This image shows the white, blue, and red sub-pixels. You can see the green sub-pixel in our alternative pixel photo.
The LG B9 has excellent motion handling. The response time is nearly instantaneous, and fast-moving content has almost no blur trail. As a side-effect, lower frame rate content, like movies, have stutter, which can be minimized with the aid of the TV's motion interpolation feature. Motion interpolation can interpolate content up to 120fps and introduces the soap opera effect. Just like the E9 and the C9, the LG OLED B9 has support for the new HDMI Forum variable refresh rate technology, which is currently only available on Xbox One. On our unit, the Black Frame Insertion feature did not work, although the menu option was available.
The response time is nearly instantaneous and this is excellent. Motion looks crisp and there is almost no blur trail behind fast-moving content. This, however, causes stutter on movies and some people might be bothered.
The LG B9 doesn't flicker as it doesn't use PWM to dim the screen. This helps motion appear smoother, but results in some persistence blur. The slight dip in brightness that you see in the graphs appears every 8ms and coincides with the TV's refresh rate. This should not be noticeable.
Our unit did not have a working Black Frame Insertion feature. Although there is an 'OLED Motion' setting (the typical BFI setting for LGs) in the menu, it didn't do anything as you can see in the chart above which is practically identical with the flicker-free chart. We don't know if this is a software/firmware issue or if our unit has a hardware problem. If it starts working after a firmware update, we'll update the review.
The LG B9 has a motion interpolation feature and can interpolate content up to 120fps, which is excellent. However, just like the E9, the TV continues to interpolate even when it displays very busy scenes and this creates many artifacts that can become bothersome.
See here for the settings that control the motion interpolation feature.
The LG B9 has stutter due to the nearly instantaneous response time that holds each frame on the screen for longer. This is especially noticeable in movies' slow panning shots. You can use motion interpolation to minimize it.
The LG B9 can display 24p content without judder no matter the source.
See our recommended settings to remove judder here.
The LG B9, just like the C9, has a native 120Hz refresh rate. It only supports HDMI Forum's new HDMI-VRR format. Currently, the only device that supports this VRR format is the Xbox One, but we can't use it to determine the VRR range. We were only able to confirm that it does work.
It's unlikely that HDMI-VRR will remain an Xbox exclusive format. If updated drivers or new graphics cards are released that support it, we will re-test the TV to determine the VRR range.
The LG OLED B9 has a remarkably low input lag and delivers a very responsive gaming experience. There is an Auto Low Latency Modem, which is great if you play games often. It supports the most common resolutions and can display proper chroma 4:4:4 in most of them. It also supports eARC for enhanced sound system connectivity.
The LG B9 now supports an Auto Low Latency Mode to save you the hassle of having to switch to 'Game' mode each time you want to play a game. See our recommended settings for Gaming.
The LG B9 supports most of the common resolutions we test for. Just like the other LG OLEDs we tested this year, the B9 supports 1440p resolutions. It can display proper chroma 4:4:4 in all of the supported resolutions except 1080p @ 120Hz. To display proper chroma 4:4:4, the input icon must be changed to 'PC' from the Home Dashboard, and the HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color setting must be enabled for the port in use. Some of the supported formats require that the HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color is enabled to display properly.
The B9 is advertised to support HDMI 2.1, but with no HDMI 2.1 sources currently available, we can't test it. We will retest and update the review once an HDMI 2.1 source becomes commercially available.
This TV supports eARC when connected to a compatible AV Receiver, which allows it to send higher quality DTS:X and Dolby Atmos via TrueHD sound from an external device to your receiver. Like the 2018 LG OLEDs, it also supports DTS and Dolby Digital passthrough to a standard ARC receiver.
The LG OLED B9 has decent overall sound quality. It can get fairly loud in noisy areas and can produce clear dialog. The TV has a decent amount of punch and body to its bass, but it can't produce much thump or rumble. For a better sound, it's recommended to use a dedicated speaker system or soundbar.
This TV has a decent frequency response. The low-frequency extension is decent, similar to the C9, but slightly worse than last year's B8. This results in a bass without much thump or rumble, but with a decent amount of punch and body. The frequency response above the TV's LFE allows the TV to deliver clear dialog. Finally, this TV gets fairly loud without too much pumping and compression artifacts under maximum load, which is especially good for noisy areas.
The LG OLED55B9PUA has decent distortion performance. The overall amount of THD produced at 80dB SPL is good and remains decent at maximum volume. However, it could sound a little harsh and impure when pushed to the limit.
The LG OLED B9 has impressive smart features. It runs the latest version of LG's WebOS, which has no significant changes from last year. It's very easy to use and will not trouble you. This LG B9 has the same nice remote found on the C9 and the E9 that can be used as a virtual pointer. Just like on the E9, there are a few new smart features, including a Home Dashboard feature that allows the TV to interact with IoT devices.
The interface is smooth and easy to use once you get used to it. We did not encounter any bugs in the interface, other than the fact that the 'OLED motion' setting which controls the Black Frame Insertion feature did not work.
The LG B9 contains ads and suggested content just like all other LG TVs we've tested this year. Unfortunately, there is no way to opt-out of either.
The LG B9 gives you access to LG's store, which is has a very large number of available apps. The most common apps are pre-installed, but you can always download more from the store. Just like the C9, the B9 supports casting from your smartphone or tablet.