LG’s CX is a surprisingly great TV for playing retro games


The LG CX is one of the standout panels for gaming. That’s due to its excellent OLED technology on top of its support for features like HDMI 2.1, variable refreshrate, and more. But new games are expensive, and who can even find a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X to plug into the CX? So why not turn to old games? That’s what I’m doing, and I’ve found that the LG CX is a great way to experience the classics.

Now, the CX is not great if you want to plug in your original retro hardware. Those systems don’t work well with HDMI, and the TV wouldn’t handle the scaling well. But we have more options than ever when it comes to modern ways to play the games you own on current displays. You could emulate games on a PC or other device, build a MiSTer kit, or mod old consoles. A modern TV is a great way to experience these devices, but it turns out the LG CX is also great at feeling like an older TV.

While I love seeing the pristine pixels of a 16-bit game running upscaled to 1080p or 2160p, I sometimes wish I had an old CRT television sitting around. Those TVs definitely still have their advantage over LCD and OLED when it comes to things like motion clarity and brightness. But the truth is that I’m just feeling nostalgic for scanlines and the soft look that I remember from gaming as a kid.

This is probably the onset of a midlife crisis, so I’m not gonna let myself scour Craigslist for abandoned CRT sets. I don’t want to end up like the guy in this story. And I’m not going to spend $1,000 (or more) to bring a 100-pound Sony CRT monitor into my home. I’m gonna fake it instead.

The LG CX is great at emulating CRT effects

I’m mostly emulating games using a PC with RetroArch. This makes it easy to manage a large library of games, but the software also has a lot of nice built-in features. That includes video filters that you can apply to certain cores to achieve different effects. One of those is called Phosphor_2X, and it creates a really great CRT-style effect.

Above: Super Nintendo games look great with the phosphor effect on LG CX.

There are a few reasons why this works so well on the LG CX. First, the TV has a really high brightness level that can get close to what cathode-ray-tube technology could do. But also the OLED panel doesn’t have any dimming zones. Instead, each pixel emits its own light. So the dark lines between the scanlines can get dark enough to look authentic.

Above: It looks very good.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

The effect isn’t perfect. The colors don’t blend in the same way that they would on a CRT, but I’m not going for perfection. I just want a little hit of something that looks mostly right. And as someone who has never liked CRT filters before, I was surprised that this did the trick for me.


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