OLED panels provide deeper blacks, eliminate color bleeding, offer outstanding viewing angles, and manage to save power in the process. While Samsung dominates the QLED space, OLED is predominantly driven by two brands: Sony and LG. Both of these manufacturers ship great OLED TVs that compete in all market segments.
As it turns out, it’s hard to find a clear winner when it comes to high-end OLED TVs, and your decision will likely depend on the exact models you’re comparing. Overall, LG has the edge in gaming, while Sony dominates the home theatre category.
Read our Sony OLED vs LG OLED comparison to learn more about the specific differences between these two brands!
Sony OLED vs LG OLED – an introduction
Sony is the pioneer of OLED technology: the first-ever OLED TV was the Sony XEL-1, designed in 2007. Since then, Sony has established a solid portfolio of OLED TVs in various sizes, but they all feature the patented OLED panel bought from LG Display. Sony excels in audio performance and offers high peak brightness levels.
- Better motion technology and upscaling
- Higher peak brightness and color vibrancy
- Packs Android’s Google TV operating system that’s more native to most people
- Great sound, speakers built into the screen
- Generally, fewer HDMI 2.1 ports compared to competing models from LG
- Higher response times
LG is currently the single manufacturer of OLED panel technology. The company LG Display has the OLED patent and supplies its panels to many familiar brands like Hisense, Panasonic, Philips, and Sony. LG’s OLED TVs are known for impressive dimming and incredible viewing angles.
- Great dimming and black levels
- Offers more HDMI 2.1 ports
- A lot of the low-to-mid-range models are more competitively priced than Sony
- Lower input delay
- Some models struggle with providing enough brightness, especially in daylight conditions
- Inferior audio that doesn’t provide a theatre-like experience compared to Sony
Below is a table of each manufacturer’s key features and how they fare in the most important categories.
|X1™ Extreme processor that provides high contrast and deeper color variation
|α9 Gen4 AI that automatically optimizes screen settings based on your ambient
|Best-in-class, smooth and sharp movement processing
|Excellent, but jiggly at times. Cinematic Movement mode improves the motion of 24fps content
|Better contrast, crisper and purer whites
|Excellent contrast but not as vibrant
|Excellent but not as nuanced
|Best-in-class, nuanced, and deep black levels
|Later models are pretty impressive and work great in daylight conditions
|Improved in the past year, but some models still struggle in bright conditions
|Best-in-class, Acoustic Surface Audio emits sound from the screen
|Solid, AI Acoustic Tuning adjusts the audio experience to the room you’re in
|Smart TV platform
|Fewer HDMI 2.1 ports, standard remote with some build-in options
|More HDMI 2.1 ports, more advanced remote
|Solid response time, not as impressive as LG
|Very low lag, further enhanced with Gaming mode
|Usually more expensive, offers fewer options
|More competitively priced, wider range of sizes and options to choose from
Now, let’s get deeper into all these features and see what these brands have to offer.
Since Sony actually buys their OLED panels from LG Display, there should be virtually no difference in their panels’ operation.
OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, which means that each pixel emits its own light. This results in deeper blacks, higher contrast ratios, and better power saving. However, since OLED TVs don’t have an LED backlight, it is harder for them to match the brightness levels of LED or QLED TVs, especially in well-lit rooms.
Both Sony and LG have addressed these issues with their latest models that feature the same OLED Evo panel made by LG.
Sony highlights its X1™ Extreme processor in a lot of their marketing communication, and for a good reason. It’s an innovative technology that uses algorithms to cut noise and provide more detail, higher contrast, and deeper color variation.
LG, on the other hand, packs α9 Gen4 AI processors in their latest OLED TVs. This processor can automatically recognize the genre of the content you’re consuming and your ambient lighting to automatically optimize screen settings.
Both companies offer incredible color accuracy and image processing, but this is an area where Sony shines, offering pixel-level brightness boosting, a better color quality, and object-based image processing. HDR performance in Sony OLED TVs is also often better than in competing LG OLED models.
LG has introduced a new mode to its motion processing technology this year, called Cinematic Movement. This mode specifically smooths the motion of 24fps content – in other words, it improves the cinematic experience since most movies are 24 fps.
This improvement could be, at least in part, a response to Sony’s convincing performance in the home theater space.
Sony’s latest TVs, like the A90J, offer smooth and sharp movement processing, along with a sharp and detailed image.
Sony’s motion processing is best-in-class, and most Sony OLED models outperform LG’s competing models in this category.
There’s a lot to unpack regarding picture quality, so let’s split this up into several categories.
The difference in contrast ratios between Sony and LG OLED TVs will often be hard to notice with the naked eye. The OLED technology is the very peak of TV performance, so pretty much all models from both manufacturers offer incredible contrast and black levels.
You’ll find more variety when you look at specific models across different sizes and price categories.
That said, it’s generally accepted that Sony offers better contrast and purer and crisper whites.
When it comes to local dimming, things swing in LG’s favor. Comparing two TVs in a competing market segment, you’ll usually notice that LG provides more nuance in the black range due to its advanced dimming technology.
Again, when compared to a regular LED TV, dark scenes in games and movies will look infinitely better on both Sony and LG OLED TVs.
LG edges out Sony in this category and provides more impressive local dimming and more nuanced black levels.
Brightness has already been an issue for OLED panels. The lack of an LED backlight significantly impacts brightness levels – this is most evident in bright viewing rooms that get a lot of daylight.
LG and Sony have both come a long way in this area and managed to ship impressive models in 2023 that offer excellent brightness levels. Sony’s A90J model also packs an aluminum panel that allows for even greater brightness, currently the best on the OLED market.
At the moment, Sony offers higher peak brightness levels. Although both companies have solved the brightness issue to a large extent, you’ll find some older LG models that still struggle in broad daylight.
In terms of color accuracy and performance, you’ll hardly notice a significant difference between the two brands.
However, since Sony offers higher peak brightness and better contrast across the board, it will often appear more colorful and vibrant. Scenic shots in wildlife documentaries and sci-fi movies with breathtaking landscapes will usually look better on Sony’s OLED TVs than their LG counterparts.
Comparing Sony vs LG in the color department, we can see that Sony has a slight edge, but it mostly depends on the models you’re looking at.
Since OLED TVs are usually quite slim and flexible, there isn’t too much space for large speakers and breathtaking sound. If you’re not adding external speakers, you’ll have to settle for whatever your TV is packing.
In LG’s case, this will depend on the model and the series. Like the new G1, many models offer the Dolby Atmos surround sound technology that’s quite balanced and handles the low-end well, even without a soundbar. The whole experience is enhanced with AI Acoustic Tuning, which adjusts your audio experience to the room you’re in.
Sony takes its audio a step further and offers the signature Acoustic Surface Audio that generates sound through the entire surface of the screen itself. Furthermore, Sony also includes audio tracking, where the sound appears to come literally from the section of the screen where the action is happening.
The effect is truly stunning and it works great without a surround system or a soundbar.
Sony is the clear winner in the audio category – we could even call it the market leader.
Smart TV Platform
Sony uses Android’s Google TV platform, which most Android users will find pretty intuitive. All OLED TVs come with the most popular apps pre-installed, while you can download most other apps from the PlayStore.
LG’s TVs use webOS, a proprietary platform. The interface is relatively easy to navigate and offers lots of smart features and apps. It also packs interesting advanced features like deep smart home integration and sports alerts.
One thing that webOS can’t match is the fact that Sony OLED TVs come with Chromecast built-in. Although LG offers screen sharing capabilities, casting from your phone or tablet is simpler and more intuitive for people familiar with Chromecast.
Both operating systems are intuitive and equipped with the most popular apps. We’d maybe give a slight edge to Sony here because of the Chromecast inclusion, but it’s really down to preference more than anything.
The first thing to note here is that LG offers more HDMI 2.1 ports across all sizes and market segments. For example, the mentioned G1 from LG offers four 40gbps HDMI 2.1 sockets, while Sony’s A90J has only two.
LG also has the edge in the remote control category. Most LG OLED TVs have a magic remote that works as a point-and-click, much like a Wii controller. This makes menu navigation a lot easier compared to Sony’s more traditional remote. LG also has features like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and accessible directly from the remote.
LG offers better connectivity options, especially for gamers on next-gen consoles. More HDMI 2.1 ports mean LG is more versatile and future-proof.
Now that we’ve gone through all the standard specs, let’s take a minute to talk about some critical differences that give a significant advantage to either brand.
LG offers better gaming performance
LG OLED TVs are the better choice for gaming, for several reasons.
First, and most importantly, LG offers a better response rate when comparing almost any two models from each brand’s product offering. In a market where reducing lag is one of the top priorities, it’s hard to make a case for Sony.
Going even further, LG offers excellent modes that enhance performance for any particular activity. The Gaming mode works great and offers a noticeable boost in refresh rates and blur reduction.
More HDMI 2.1 ports also mean you can connect your console, sound system, and other devices at the same time without losing a step.
Sony might be a better home theatre solution
Sony’s audio performance can’t be overstated, and neither can its improved brightness in daylight conditions.
In other words, for movies and other content that doesn’t require great response times or more than 24fps, you might be better off looking into Sony’s product offering. If you don’t want to invest in a speaker system but love watching movies and keeping your TV on throughout the day, Sony is the way to go.
Needless to say, the prices will vary from model to model and will mostly be impacted by screen size.
That said, LG is more competitively priced, especially in the mid-range. For example, if we compare LG’s CX OLED and Sony’s A8H OLED, we can see that the CX starts at around $1,499 while the A8H starts at $1,899.
This brings us to another, perhaps more important point: not only does LG offer more competitive prices, but it also offers more sizes and a wider range of products. The same CX model can go up to $4,999 if you go for the 77’’ option. Sony’s A8H only comes in two sizes and maxes out at 65’’ ($2,499).
(Prices accurate at the time of publication.)
Although it largely depends on the model and size, LG offers more competitive prices and a wider range of options to choose from.
Sony OLED vs LG OLED: the conclusion
Before we wrap up our Sony OLED vs LG OLED comparison, let’s get one thing out of the way: you’ll hardly go wrong with any OLED TV from either of these two brands.
OLED is the pinnacle of TV technology and, if you’re switching from an LCD TV or even an older OLED, you’ll be more than happy with either Sony or LG. The differences between the two come down to preference and intended use.
Sony makes better OLED TVs if you’re a cinephile and you want to get the best viewing experience for movies or TV shows. Newer models come with impressive audio, great color vibrancy and contrast ratios, and even impressive brightness levels that are uncharacteristic for OLED.
With better response rates, connectivity, and a dedicated gaming mode, LG makes more sense for gamers. Still, LG’s OLED TVs are far from underwhelming if you’re a movie buff, and it might make even more sense to go for LG if budget is an issue.