LG SK9500 and LG SK9000 are the top and second tier model of LG’s Super UHD 4K HDR LED TV lineup. Like most models of LG’s LED TV lineup, both come with an IPS panel offering good viewing angle coverage that makes both of them good as a TV for a wide room where there could be viewers watching the TV from multiple angles. On the market, the LG SK9000 comes in two screen size options being the 55 Inch (55SK900PUA) and the 65 inch (65SK9000PUA), while the SK9500 comes in 1screen size only being th 65 Inch (65SK9500PUA). Within the same size screen (65SK9000PUA vs 65SK9500PUA), the SK9000 is typically lower in price than the SK9500. But of course, prices certainly are not fixed and can change at any time. So what are the advantages offered by the higher priced SK9500 compared to the SK9000 — and which is a better choice for you?
LG SK9500 vs LG SK9000 Key Specs
|Specs and Features||LG SK9000||LG SK9500|
|Size Available||55 Inch (55SK9000PUA), 65 Inch (65SK9000PUA)||65 Inch (65SK9500)|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Panel Type||IPS Panel||IPS Panel|
|Backlighting||Full Array||Full Array|
|Local Dimming||Yes (Full Array Local Dimming)||Yes (Full Array Local Dimming)|
|Picture Engine||Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor||Alpha 7 Intelligent Processor|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Advanced HDR by Technicolor||HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG, Advanced HDR by Technicolor|
|Nano Cell Display||Yes (Pro)||Yes (Pro)|
|Tru Color Accuracy||Yes||Yes|
|Support wide color gamut||Yes||Yes|
|Support 10 Bit depth of color||Yes||Yes|
|Ultra Luminance||Yes (Pro)||Yes (Pro)|
|Nano Cell Black||Yes||Yes|
|UHD Up-scaling||Yes (Tru 4k Up-Scaler)||Yes (Tru 4k Up-Scaler)|
|Motion Clarity||Tru Motion 240 Hz||Tru Motion 240 Hz|
|Refresh rate||Native 120 Hz||Native 120 Hz|
|Smart TV||WebOS 4.0 with LG’s ThinQ AI||WebOS 4.0 with LG’s ThinQ AI|
|LG Magic Remote||Yes||Yes|
|Output Power||40W (Woofer: 20W)||40W (Woofer: 20W)|
|Support Dolby Atmos||Yes||Yes|
|Composite In (AV In)||1||1|
|Prices||See today’s Price||See today’s price|
Features and Technology of the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9500
As seen on the comparison table above, there is almost no difference between the LG SK9000 and the LGSK9500. Both use an IPS panel with a direct LED backlight and Full Array Local Dimming. As we know, the major advantage offered by the IPS panel is the ability to maintain picture quality when viewed from the side. For maximizing performance in producing contrast, color, and peak brightness, both series are also powered similar technologies. Like other models of LG’s Super UHD TV lineup, both the LG SK9500 and the SK9000 come with Nano Cell Display pro version that can deliver a wider color gamut than the standard Nano Cell Display technology as featured on the LG SK8000. AEssentially, Nano cell display technology is based on quantum dot panel technology but in this case, it has smaller particles. For their color technology, there is also the Tru Color Accuracy that maximizes the accuracy of color produced by each. For maximizing the contrast ratio and black level produced, both are powered by Nano Cell Black technology. Otherwise for maximizing peak luminance produced by them, both the SK9000 and the SK9500 are powered by Ultra Luminance technology pro version.
For their main engine, both the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9500 are equally powered by an Alpha 7 Intelligence processor. Not just image processing is controlled by this processor, but also other features for the smart TV such as motion handling. Like most models of 4K TV, the LG SK9500 and the SK9000 are maximized for the HDR experience. Not just one, but two HDR formats are supported by both and they support most popular HDR formats including HDR 10 by the UHD Alliance, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) by NHK and BBC, Dolby Vision by Dolby Laboratories, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. For maximizing its performance when playing fast moving images, both are powered by a Tru Motion 240 Hz based 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Not just that to make motion look clearer, both of them also have an optional 60 Hz BFI (Black Frame Insertion mode).
For connecting with other devices, both the LG SK9500 and the SK9000 are equipped with the same inputs/outputs like 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, and others, allowing you to connect a lot of your other devices to the SK9000 and the SK9500 at once. To enjoy the HDR experience with impressive sound quality, each is equally equipped with a 2.2 channel speaker system with 40 watts of total sound output. Both also support Dolby Atmos, allowing you to enjoy the Dolby Atmos Sound Experience without adding anexternal sound system. And their smart TV platform now features WebOS 4.0 which has been integrated with LG ThinQ AI. With LG ThinQ AI, you can do a lot of things with your voice commands and also control your other compatible devices like a Dish Washer, Laundry Machines, a smart cooker and many more through your TV. And it doesn’t only support ThinQ AI compatible devices, but it’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Although on the comparison table above, there is no difference between each, but actually they have a main difference that makes the SK9500 sold for much more than the SK9000 and it is the number of zones of local dimming. Both equally come with a Direct LED backlight with Full Array Local Dimming, but they have a difference in the number of dimming zones. The LG SK9500 as a higher level series has more dimming zones and it can provide better backlighting control than the SK9000. This has an impact on the picture quality produced, particularly for contrast ratio and peak brightness. The result is the SK9500 with more dimming zones can provide a deeper black level and brighter peak brightness than the SK9000.
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LG SK9500 vs LG SK9000 Performance
Overall both the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9500 have very good picture quality. However, since they use an IPA panel, their native contrast ratio is not strong and they can not produce a deep black level. In a bright room where the impact of a high contrast ratio is not significant to picture quality, the impact of a weak contrast produced by them might not be noticeable. But in a dark room the impact is noticeable. Instead of looking black, the black on images produced by the LG SK9500 and the LG SK9000 will tend to look gray. Indirectly this also makes deep colo produced by them not as accurate. The result for when showing a dark scene in a dark room is that the picture displayed on screen will look unnatural. On the other hand, since both can not provide deep black level, they also can not show shadow details of HDR images as the creators had intended. In addition to providing more information in a bright scene, the other main purpose of HDR technology is to provide more information in a dark scene. And for this case, the TV must be able to provide a deep black level of at least 0.05 nits or darker for the HDR 10 format. With these TVs, their contrast ratio is not strong enough to produce a black level darker than the 0.05 nits standardization set by the UHD alliance, particularly for the SK9000.
Comparing between them without local dimming enabled, the native contrast ratio is similar, and is still less than 1500:1. Once the local dimming is activated, the contrast ratio of the SK9500 increases significantly to more than 2000:1 while on the SK9000, its contrast ratio doesn’t increase significantly, even tending to be similar to when its local dimming is disabled. This means the SK9500 can produce a deeper black level to make dark scenes displayed on its screen look better than the SK9000. The black level reached by the SK9500 might be darker than the 0.05 nits to meet the minimum recommendation set by the UHD alliance for showing shadow details fully as intended, but with the caveat it is used in a bright room and not used in a dark room. When set in a dark room, its contrast ratio is not enough to show the black of images to look black.
While performance in a dark room is not so good especially when showing dark scenes because they cannot produce a deep black level, once they’re set in bright room the picture displayed on screen looks far better. This is because in a bright room, the black will look darker. On the other hand, both have a peak brightness that’s bright enough to fight glare. And combined with their great reflection handling, a good quality of picture can be maintained fairly well. When playing SDR images, the peak brightness of the SK9500 is brighter than the SK9500.
When playing HDR content, both the LG SK9000 and th SK9500 can deliver brighter peak brightness than when playing SDR images, making HDR images looks excellent on screen. The peak brightness vary depend on the window size. On the SK9500, a very small highlight can be shown fairly bright, even for a short time, and it can show a bright small object brighter than 1000 nits. When it is stable, their peak brightness may be dimmed, although it is still quite bright enough to make the highlight of HDR images look excellent. When showing almost all bright objects, the SK9500 can show it better. On other hand, although not as bright as what’s offered by the SK9500, the SK9000 can still provide good peak brightness for HDR content. Like on the SK9500, for a larger window size, it can provide brighter peak brightness than with smaller windows. Since its local dimming doesn’t work perfectly, unlike the SK9500 that can show a very small highlight excellently, on the screen of the SK9000, a very small highlight of HDR images shown dimmer than the rest. Overall peak brightness is bright enough to produce good HDR images. But since peak brightness of the SK9500 is better, this means it can show HDR images better than the SK9000. Additionally since the SK9500 has more dimming zones, blooming will be less noticeable on its screen than on the screen of the SK9000.
Although not as wide as what’s provided by the LG OLED TV or the Samsung QLED TV, both the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9500 are able to deliver a wide color gamut and the color gamut produced by them is almost identical. The color gamut coverage in DCI P3 is very good, more than 90% of DCI P3 can be covered. This means that colors of HDR content mastered in DCI P3 like HDR 10 content can be shown fairly accurately, although for some certain colors like deep greens, both of them can not show these colors fairly saturated. Additionally their color gamut can cover most colors in Rex.2020, making colors of HDR content mastered in Rec.2020 like Dolby Vision also look fairly accurate. A bit unfortunate, their color volume is not so good. Since they can not show deep black, their color gamut narrows at darker colors, meaning they can not show dark colors fairly accurate. But overall, their color rendition is fairly good. In addition to having good color rendition, their color gradient is fairly good. When playing content with 10 bit color such as HDR content, color gradient of images displayed on their screen looks fairly smooth. Some little imperfections are noticeable at certain colors like Blue or Red, but this should not be a problem for normal content. Overall their color gradient is equally good, particularly when playing 10 bit content.
Side Viewing Angle
The use of an IPS panel may make both the LG SK9500 and the LG SK9000 to have a weak native contrast ratio, but this allows both to have a good side viewing angle. The side viewing angle coverage may not be as good as what’s offered by OLED TV, but at least this is better than a VA panel. On the VA panel, the picture usually will look degraded starting at 20 degrees off center and front. On the IPS screen, the picture quality can be maintained at a wider angle. At about 25 degrees, color may still fade and at about 30 degrees, brightness also starts to decrease, and black level can be maintained at a far wider angle even to extremely wide. The result when viewed from the side is the picture displayed looks a bit degraded, but the degradation is not as significant as what happens on a VA panel. If you often watch TV or play games with a group of friends or family, both TVs in these series can be a good option for you.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
Essentially both the LG SK9500 and the SK9000 have good motion handling. Their pixel response time is equally low — low enough to make motion look clear and smooth with almost no motion blur when they are playing fast moving images like sports or fast games. Following a fast moving object, there is only a short ghosting trail where most people may not notice this much. Most blurs that might be visible are more caused by 60 fps persistence than by pixel response time. To dim the backlight, both use a PWM Dimming system with 120 HZ frequency. This may make motion look a bit clearer, particularly when playing content with a 120 Hz frame rate — on the other hand, this will result in some duplication behind fast moving objects. Additionally, the use of 120 Hz frequency dimming also makes backlight flicker more noticeable, particularly for people who are sensitive to judder. Both the LG SK9000 and the SK9500 also have an optional 60 Hz BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode where when enabled, this will flicker the backlight at 60 Hz of frequency. This is very helpful to reduce persistence blur particularly when playing 60 Hz content like sports or video games, but this also will make flicker more noticeable on the screen. To enable this feature, you just need to enable the “Motion Pro”.
Both series also do a great job when playing 24p movies. This means that no matter the frame rate of the content, whether it is native 24p video like DVD or Blu Ray movies, 24p video via 60i signals like movies from satellite TV, 24p movies via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices like Fire TV, Apple TV, or movies from streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix; all of them will be displayed clearly and smoothly judder-free. To remove the judder without adding any “soap opera effect”, you just need to turn on the “Real Cinema” for the picture setting.
For major connectivity, both the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9500 are equipped with 4 HDMI ports where all of them support HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth and HDCP 2.2. Additionally, one port also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel). In addition to HDMI ports, they are also equipped with 3 USB ports. But unlike last year’s models where one of their USB ports is USB 3.0, all USB ports of both the LG SK9500 and the SK9000 are USB 2.0. In addition to USB ports and HDMI ports, there is also Digital Audio Out (Optical), Composite In (AV IN), 1 RF In (Tuner), and Ethernet. For wireless connectivity, both are equally equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
In addition to being equipped with the same inputs/outputs, both the LG SK9500 and the LG SK9000 also have excellent input lag in PC Mode and Game Mode. No matter the resolution of the source, their input lag is less than 20 ms which means it’s excellent for any game, even for fast paced games. Their input lag for a 4K HDR source may a bit higher, but it’s still less than 25 ms and still low enough to play any game.
For their smart TV platform, both the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9500 have WebOS 4.0. And their smart TV platform is powered by an Alpha 7 processor. Like last year’s version, its home layout is designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate. At the bottom across the screen, there is a “bar” with a lot of “tiles” which represent well-organized apps, menus, and settings, allowing you to navigate quickly and easily. Compared to last year’s version, on the top-right there is an additional search menu that allows you to search anything easily and quickly. The performance might not as fast and responsive as the LG OLED TV powered by an Alpha 9 processor, but with the Alpha 7 processor, its performance is still fast and responsive. Apps provided are very complete and diverse. There’s video on demand service like Amazon Videos, YouTube, Netflix, a web browser, Live TV, Games, and an app store called “LG’s apps store” providing lots of downloadable apps, games, and content. LG’s app store might not have as many offerings as the Google Play Store or Samsung’s apps store, but LG’s is more focused on what people want. The other interesting thing offered is that WebOS has been integrated with LG ThinQ AI. In addition to it allowing you to do a lot of more with your voice command, it also serves as a “Hub” for compatible home devices. This means in addition to controlling TV functions such as search and navigate with voice command, you can also control ThinQ compatible devices with voice command. And it also supports Amazon Alexa, allowing you to control Amazon Alexa compatible devices with your voice command through your LG TV.
For their controller, the LG SK9500 and the LG SK9000 are equipped with the same remote which is LG’s Magic Remote. This remote is similar to what was found on the OLED C8. In addition to standard buttons for Volume, Number Button, Channel, and others, it also has some quick access buttons to most common settings. And it has two dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon, allowing you to launch these apps without entering the home menu. Like the smart remotes from other manufacturers, it’s also equipped with a built-in microphone for voice navigation. As discussed above, since WebOS has been integrated with LG ThinQ AI, you can run a lot of commands with your voice to control TV functions, navigate on the smart TV, and control your ThinQ AI compatible devices. Additionally this remote also has a universal ability, allowing you to control other devices connected to your LG TV via HDMI CEC with a single remote. And the most interesting feature offered is the “Point and Click” feature similar to a mouse on a PC. In addition to a direction pad and a clickable “scroll wheel” that allows you to move a pointer on the screen or highlighted menu, the pointer also can be moved by waving the remote.
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|Performance||LG SK9000||LG SK9500|
As mentioned above, except for the number of dimming zones of the local dimming, both the LG SK9000 and the LG SK9000 are powered by similar technology and have almost similar features. Having more dimming zones, this makes the LG SK9500 more expensive than the LG SK9000. The impact is the SK9500 can produce a deeper black level and brighter peak brightness than the SK9000, no matter if displaying SDR or HDR content. Although the SK9500 can produce a deeper black level than the SK9000, its black level is still not dark enough to make black look really black in a dark room. With their poor performance in producing deep black, this makes them not suitable when used in a dark room. But once they are set in a bright room, overall the picture displayed on screen looks excellent. Since the SK9500 has a deeper black level and brighter peak brightness, this makes the picture displayed on its screen look better than the SK9000. Although not as good as an OLED TV, they equally have good side viewing angle coverage, making them good TVs when used in a wide room with a lot of viewers watching from multiple angles. In addition to good picture quality in a bright room, other features offered include good performance, good motion blur, 24p movie handling, low input lag, an attractive and responsive smart TV — making them to be good TVs for mixed uses.
So which is a better choice for you? This comes back to your budget and preference. If you have the extra budget, the LG SK9500 certainly is a better choice. It will cost but you get a lot of advantages offered. Even so, the LG SK9000 is not a bad choice considering the picture quality is not far behind the SK9500. If you frequently watch TV in a dark room, then you should search for other options instead of these two series. The Sony X900F and the Samsung Q6F have excellent dark room performance, although their side viewing angle coverage is limited.
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