Hello There! Don‘t Buy an LG C1 OLED TV Until You Read This Guide

You may have heard rave reviews of LG’s 2022 C2 OLED TV release. But as you comparison shop for your next television upgrade, last year’s LG C1 likely shows up on your radar boasting similar performance at more budget-friendly pricing.

Should you save a few hundred dollars and spring for the now "outdated" C1 model? Or is the latest and greatest LG C2 the smarter buy? This definitive guide examines whether the LG C1 remains a smart purchase in 2023.

OLED Market Domination Enabled by LG Innovation

With self-emitting pixels capable of perfect black levels and impressively wide viewing angles, OLED TVs represent the pinnacle of display technology today. They offer staggering dynamic range that enables intense bright highlights against unrivaled inky blacks. This leads to picture detail and depth that standard LED/LCD televisions simply fail to match.

And within the growing OLED television market, one brand reigns supreme above all others: LG Electronics. Accounting for over 95% of global OLED TV shipments, LG has leveraged key innovations in production capacity, panel development and image processing to cement leadership in the premium segment:

  • 2009 – Acquired Kodak‘s OLED business to fast-track large format panel development
  • 2013 – Launched the first flexible OLED panel for curvature form factors
  • 2018 – Introduced α9, the world’s first 8K AI picture processor
  • 2022 – Only brand shipping OLED EX panels with boosted brightness and color processing

Rival manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic have been playing catch-up ever since. So for discerning home theater buyers prioritizing best-in-class quality, LG OLED TVs remain the unanimous choice according to critics and enthusiasts alike.

And within their vast OLED lineup spanning six distinct model families, the 2021 LG C1 stands out by bringing flagship-level performance down to more accessible pricing.

Positioning the Mid-Range Marvel LG C1 Within the Lineup

The LG C1 Series represented the 2021 iteration of the company‘s mainstream 4K OLED TV offering. Available in 48, 55, 65, 77 and 83-inch screen sizes, it delivered much of the same underlying technology as pricier models in a cost-reduced package. Consider its positioning:

  • More affordable alternative to high-end LG G1 “Gallery Series”
  • Configurable 83” screen to match largest/newest LG TV options
  • Upgraded visuals and audio over entry-level LG A1
  • Predecessor to 2022’s LG C2 with OLED Evo panel

And with sizable price cuts through LG C1 deals in 2023, this model now significantly undercuts even direct follow-on releases. The C1 tempts buyers weighing OLED picture splendor against their budget limitations.

But does it still make sense buying this TV with newer display advancements now available? Let’s explore what exactly LG packs into the C1 to deliver stunning OLED visuals.

LG C1 Key Specs & Hardware Capabilities

Picture processing plays a crucial role translating raw OLED potential into a next-generation viewing experience. This renders and enhances source content to take full advantage of the self-emitting pixels.

Key C1 display capabilities include:

  • Self-lit OLED pixels with per-pixel lighting
  • α9 Gen 4 AI Processor 4K providing processing power
  • AI 4K Upscaling to enhance HD/FHD signals
  • Support for leading HDR formats (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG)
  • Native 120Hz 4K display with 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs
  • Variable refresh rate (VRR) up to 120Hz

This high-performance hardware combination enables silky smooth clarity and responsiveness well-suited to gaming. It also unlocks the C1‘s ability to make lower resolution or standard dynamic range programming shine via excellent internal video processing.

But panel technology remains paramount – especially contrast and color reproduction. Here too the C1 mostly measures up to today‘s OLED leaders.

LG C1 Design & Build Quality

Glancing at the C1’s minimally bezeled display and fractionally thin profile, premium aspirations shine through this TV’s design ethos. Slimmed down to just 4mm thick across much of the chassis, LG notably improved upon the build of prior C-Series models.

A metal stand tastefully runs along the full width of the TV’s base rather than using splayed feet. This stand effortlessly bears considerable heft across all model sizes while preventing unwanted swiveling or sagging. With OLED’s resilience against issues like burn-in, the LG C1 achieves both gorgeous styling and enduring reliability.

Stunning OLED Picture Performance with Some Caveats

Thanks to precision per-pixel dimming control unmatched by any backlit solution, OLED TVs deliver astounding color and contrast capabilities. This starts with perfect black levels made possible when OLED pixels shut completely off. Against that inky background, even streaming or cable content exhibits newfound detail and depth.

Plus with LG’s custom processing powering the C1’s panel output, colors impress with accuracy and vibrancy. You can expect lush, accurate tones spanning 98.5% of the P3 color space. Complexion tones and natural landscapes feel realistic with 1.07 billion distinct RGB shades portrayed.

High dynamic range content expands that gamut further – up to 80% of professional cinema color spaces. This allows the C1 to heighten peak brightness across starlit skies, glinting metals and other extreme highlights even as shadows remain satisfyingly dark.

So what tradeoffs lurk behind the C1’s stunning OLED capabilities?

Two primary limitations arise for buyers moving the C1 into bright viewing environments or placing it across wider spaces.

Peak brightness falls shy of newer releases, topping out around 750 nits when leveraging tone mapping technologies. Contrast suffers somewhat when battling sunlit rooms.

Off-axis color shifting also creeps in at wider horizontal seating angles. White tones can take on a blueish tint when viewing from seating positions 45+ degrees from dead center.

Consider these constraints against your own living room setup. Those prizing broad seating arrangements or regularly holding movie marathons mid-day might prefer upgrading to LG’s latest OLED panels utilizing added heat sinks and processing that fight these issues.

But don’t mistake these as deal-breaking deficiencies for most buyers. The C1 still efforts advanced TV releases in nearly all key areas, as we’ll explore next.

Snappy Gaming Performance with Next-Gen Connectivity

With gaming pushing the industry ever forward, LG packs some seriously snappy specifications into the C1 catering to console and PC players.

All four HDMI inputs support 4K resolution at 120Hz along with Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Nvidia G-Sync. This means flawlessly smooth frame delivery free from screen tearing whether you game on Xbox Series X or a tricked-out RTX build.

Input lag measures between 5ms and 8ms based on settings according to independent reviewers like RTINGS – imperceptibly responsive by human standards. HDR color settings do disable the lowest latency modes, but still register under 10ms.

For those craving best-in-class competitive play or just gloriously immersive single player visuals, the C1 keeps up with today’s exacting needs. This isn’t a set you’ll be itching to upgrade once the next wave of GPUs or consoles hits.

Balanced Sound Signature with Plenty of Power

The pursuit of such slim industrial design does require acoustic compromise. With just 40 watts of integrated stereo output, the C1 is best paired with a supporting sound system to match its stunning visuals.

That said, LG wisely tunes those downward-firing speakers for balanced sound instead of unnaturally boosted bass. And a full suite of Dolby technologies lend some immersive expansion.

Key audio features include:

  • 40W 2.2 channel speakers
  • AI Sound Pro for 5.1 channel upmixing
  • Dolby Atmos support via HDMI eARC
  • Bluetooth 5.0 audio connectivity
  • Optical digital and 3.5mm headphone connectivity

For streaming shows or YouTube binging, the built-ins perform admirably. But blockbuster movies will benefit greatly by wiring up compact soundbars or full surround systems via HDMI or optical. Fortunately the C1 gives you every option to scale audio to cinema-worthy levels down the road.

LG’s Refined webOS Smart Platform

All LG smart TVs released across the past five years run some form of the company’s webOS platform. This Linux-based OS revolves around an intuitive strip interface accessed via the included Magic Remote.

Recently updated to webOS 6.0, the C1 benefits from the same smart TV environment found on 2022 B2 and C2 models. This brings improved menu responsiveness, visual tweaks to the home screen and additional voice command support.

Apps and services accessible through webOS includes all major streaming platforms like:

  • Netflix
  • Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Apple TV
  • LG Channels
  • Twitch
  • Hulu
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube

Gaming services like Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now also feature dedicated apps to serve as lightweight gaming substitutes for those without consoles.

And hands-free voice control remains supported through both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration. The minimalist Magic Remote even features a built-in microphone to simplify video playback controls and content searching.

LG C1 Pricing Breakdown and Comparison

The C1 delivered premium-tier performance at more affordable costs than other 2021 LG OLED releases:

ModelLaunch MSRPTypical Price Nov. 2022Savings
48-inch$1,499$1,299$200 (13%)
55-inch$1,799$1,399$400 (22%)
65-inch$2,499$1,699$800 (32%)
75-inch$3,799$2,299$1500 (40%)
83-inch$5,999$3,999$2000 (33%)

In contrast, comparable 2022 successors like the LG C2 OLED are now releasing at higher MSRPs reflecting various technology improvements:

ModelLaunch MSRPTypical Price Nov. 2022Price Difference

Similar $200 to $1000 discounts apply when comparing the C1 against LG‘s 2022 B2 Series. As you can see, opting for last year‘s model nets significant savings – especially on larger screen sizes.

The Verdict? Still a Marvelous OLED TV Value

If superb picture quality and future-proofed specifications rank highly in your television needs, the LG C1 OLED remains heavily recommended even now. This 2021 model still outclasses LED/LCD televisions costing hundreds more in nearly all aspects.

Newer OLED generations like the LG C2 introduce some real improvements, especially for well-lit rooms. Brighter panels and boosted color processing better hold off glare and washout.

But within existing home theater setups focused on nighttime movie watching, the differences feel mostly marginal. Inky blacks, vibrant colors, silky motion clarity – the LG C1 already delivered close to the pinnacle of OLED imaging.

Plus with steep discounts from original pricing, this TV slides into price brackets once exclusive to smaller premium sets. The specs and connectivity similarly outpace mid-range offerings from Sony, Vizio and Samsung.

If upgrading from an aging 4K LED set or making your first OLED plunge, the C1 makes a tremendous case on both quality and value. Discerning videophiles can consider the marginally better LG G2 at nearly 2X the price.

Otherwise for most buyers, don‘t hesitate adding LG’s “outdated” C1 OLED to your shortlist – or securing one at its best pricing yet ahead of Black Friday.

Hopefully this helps assess whether the LG C‌1 remains a smart pickup! Let me know if any other questions come to mind. Enjoy your upcoming TV upgrade!

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