Enjoying the success of its expanded upscale flat-panel TV direction, LG gave the press a sneak peek at its 2008 television line, which includes an expansion of models with 1080p resolution, new slim-design styling and expanded picture modes.
This year's direction will continue the emphasis on combining design and performance, as demonstrated in the high-end Opus LCD TV series launched last summer. The series was picked up by 205 different retailers across the country.
In fact, Steve McNally, LG sales and channel marketing VP, said the company was so successful in building distribution for its TVs that it is shifting its sales direction in 2008 from adding additional accounts to building its business within the accounts it has.
Allan Jason, LG consumer electronics marketing VP, said LG has seen significant growth in brand awareness for TVs, consumer satisfaction, product leadership and sell-through market share.
For 2008, LG estimates the U.S. television market should sell just under 26 million units — which Jason qualified as being conservative compared to some other manufacturers. That breaks down to 3.4 million units in plasma and 22.3 million LCD, from 3.2 million plasma units and 17.1 million LCD units in 2007.
Jason said 1080p will become a major factor in 2008, growing from 35 percent of the big-screen TV business (37 inches and above) to 50 percent in 2008.
All 2008 models were designed with emphasis on technology and performance first followed by design, Jason said.
"There was a heavy emphasis on design for next year," Jason said. "But design alone, is not enough. It is not our only message for next year."
Jason pointed to consumer studies showing that picture quality continues to rank first in priority by a wide margin, followed by sound quality, design, wireless connectivity, invisible speakers and automatic picture control.
All LG sets in 2008 will have a slim profile and clean lines, highlighted by a new invisible speaker design. Some models will add distinctive design accents to differentiate the look of LG's sets from the rest of the field.
Other features in LCD TVs include the proliferation of 120Hz frame rates in step-up models, custom picture modes, intelligent sensors to automatically adjust the picture to room surroundings, Clear Voice dialog enhancement and new extensive on-screen picture calibration tools.
LG gave press members an abbreviated preview of TV products it will introduce at the International CES next month, with additional product announcements and pricing for all new sets planned for that event.
For 2008, LG will continue to offer both LCD and plasma TVs. In LCD TV LG will offer 8 series, with 24 models. Seventeen of those will feature full 1080p resolution.
Among the LCD TV lines are the LG30, LG50, LG70 and LG71 series.
The entry LG 30 series will include the 19-, 22-, 26-, 32-, 37- and 42-inch screen sizes. Key features are highlighted by invisible speakers that provide "a sleek, modern look, while projecting a wider sound sweet spot," LG said.
Also included is the company's "Clear Voice" dialog enhancement technology, content-specific A/V modes, three HDMI 1.3 inputs on 26-inch and larger models, and LG SimpLink connectivity.
The step-up 50 series is the company's entry-level 1080p series. Screen sizes include: 37, 42, 47 and 52 inches. Features include a slim profile design, high-gloss finish, invisible speakers, LG's proprietary Intelligent Sensor that automatically adjusts the picture to room conditions, and custom picture calibration settings. Other features include a 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, USB 2.0 inputs for photo and music file playback, Clear Voice technology, and LG SimpleLink.
The step-up LG70 series includes the 32, 42, 47 and 52 inch screen sizes. All feature 1080p resolution and TruMotion 120Hz frame rate technology, a new "tear drop" cabinet design, invisible speakers, Clear Voice, SimpleLink, USB input, soft touch controls, 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and ISF certification ready capability for detailed calibration.
The LG71 series will include models in the 47 and 52 inch screen sizes, both with wireless connectivity capability. The LG71 contains the same features as the LG70 series plus wireless 802.11n connectivity of source components to eliminate most wires.
In plasma, the LG lineup this year will include four product series and eight models, six of which will feature full HD 1080p resolution. This year LG is increasing its panel longevity claim from 70,000 to 100,000 hours until half brightness.
The entry PG20 series will feature the 42- and 50-inch screen sizes, both with a slim (84mm) cabinet depth, invisible speakers, 720p resolution, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, three HDMI v1.3 inputs, high-gloss finish, and Clear Voice technology.
The step-up PG30 series will include the 50- and 60-inch screen sizes, both with 1080p resolution, a 30,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, slim depth, high gloss cabinet with invisible speakers, swivel stand, three HDMI v1.3 connections and Clear Voice technology.