If you’ve ever been shopping for the best TV you could reasonably afford, perusing spec sheets and making comparisons and (in earlier times) going from store to store to see them in person, you’ve probably noticed that the most advanced TVs are usually the largest televisions. Which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to bring high-end home theater into a less-than-cavernous space.
OLED TVs are hard to come by at less than 55 inches (137.5 cm) for starters, and OLED really makes a difference in color, contrast, and clarity. And regardless of the type of panel, manufacturers tend to remove or dilute the features of their various models as they get smaller. This means that the reasonably sized version may have lower uniformity, worse viewing angles, fewer inputs, or less sophisticated software, even if it has the same name as its bigger siblings.
This is why it has been such an unexpected pleasure for me to test the 48-inch version of LG’s flagship C1 OLED. Not only is it one of the smallest OLED TVs you can get today (albeit barely insubstantial at just over a meter wide), it also has the same features as the larger C1 models, meaning you get all the technology from one of the most advanced televisions on the market in a compact apartment or bedroom package. And while the crazy 83-inch C1 costs more than $ 10,000, the 48-inch one costs around $ 2,400.
Like the larger C1, the 48-inch model is a slim, slim-looking unit, although a greater proportion of its total mass is made up of the stand and the processing area at the bottom, so it is not so visually stunning. However, under the hood, it is equally a powerhouse.
The image is impressive and does not degrade when viewed from an angle, while its ability to process and enhance lower resolution images at 4K is the most effective I have seen on any television. HD Blu-rays from over 10 years ago look very sharp, and the C1 does what it can with standard definition broadcasts too.
Even sources that challenge many televisions, such as 24-frame-per-second motion picture movies or fast-moving sports broadcasts, are taken in stride, as jitter and blur are cleverly countered by inserting or interpolating frames. However, you will have to spend some time figuring out what the various image settings do to make them right.
Of course, things look better with a 4K HDR source, and the C1 supports Dolby Vision for more immersive-looking modern film and television. The four HDMI inputs here are the latest version 2.1, which is extremely rare even among high-end TVs. It may not mean much to you now, but the improved specification allows a lot more data to flow over the cable, making it easier to get higher resolutions, higher frame rates, and more complex sound from devices connected to your. TV, all at the same time.
The C1 is also eARC compliant, which means it can stream full Dolby Atmos audio signals to your soundbar or receiver, making it easy to get the best video and audio from all applications and devices.