By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS — LG Electronics is showing at International CES that it is going large in screen size and wide in smart-TV functionality for 2013, and will be continuing to advance its offerings in Ultra High-Definition and OLED.
In total, LG is showing 46 LCD TV models across 16 model series, highlighted by its recently introduced 84-inch Ultra High-Definition set.
LG was also gearing up to deliver the OLED 1080p HDTV models. Later in the year, the company plans to offer two models in the 55-inch screen size — the EX9900 and the EA8800. That latter features an all-in-one panel, while the EX9900 has a separate outboard box for most of the electronics in order to produce the thinnest screen possible.
For 1080p and 720p LCD TV, LG will move 100 percent into LCD direct-back- or edge-lit models, dropping the former basic and less-efficient CCFL backlighting technology that had been the industry’s standard for many years.
The company had three CCFL backlit TV series last year, which have been replaced and expanded with direct backlit LED models in 2013.
Tim Alessi, LG new product development director, said LG’s TV designs this year have gone with still-thinner bezels and shallower cabinet depths, as some premium models feature a “virtual zero bezel” cosmetic.
A big push for LG this year will be in smart TV, where LG is looking to expand its content offerings, and migrating in some major partnerships with multichannel video service providers like Verizon FiOS and others. FiOS, for example, is making an app available to LG TVs that will allow FiOS customers access to 75 channels through the TV without the need for a set-top box.
“The enhancements we’ve made to our smart TVs are really going to help people understand what the capabilities area,” Alessi told TWICE. “
Right now, even people who have smart TVs are not taking advantage of all the capabilities that they have. So we tried to make easier and more convenient for people to get a lot more value out their TV.”
LG worked extensively on improving the user interface in its new sets, and extended its third-generation Motion Remote capability to all smart-TV models
in 2013 (it will be sold as an accessory in three entry smart- TV series), and bringing more sophisticated voice-control and wheel-scrolling capabilities into the equation. In 2013 the Magic Motion Remote will be able to control most cable TV set-top boxes, most Blu-ray Disc players, soundbars and other home-theater system components without the need for IR extenders.
LG has expanded the search capabilities of a new onscreen guide in its LG smart TVs, offering the ability to search for titles by actors or directors, as well as asking for a list of suggested programs from across all connected platforms.
LG will also continue to support Google TV in 2012 as a second smart-TV platform. This year LG Google TVs will be offered in two lines, including the GA6400 series in 42, 47, 50, 55 and 60 inches, and the stepup GA7900 series with Cinema Screen cosmetics in the 47- and 55-inch screen sizes, Alessi said.
To connect to second-screen devices, LG is including MHL compatibility in HDMI inputs across the whole television assortment in 2013, and is including direct connectivity using both the WiDi and Miracast systems in many models.
The Cinema Screen models — all sporting a distinctive thin-bezel design look and covering the top five 1080p model series — this year will include enhanced onboard sound systems, adding a subwoofer to the 2.1 speaker system capability, 3D sound zooming, Virtual Surround Plus, and Select Sound Mode that uses auto content-recognition technology to adjust sound settings appropriately for the content.
LG’s passive-glasses based Cinema 3D technology, meanwhile, has been expanded to the top eight LCD TV series in 2013, including the Ultra High-Definition set.
LG will also maintain three series of plasma TVs in 2013, featuring five models with entry 720p units in the 42- and 50-inch screen sizes, and a top-ofthe- line 1080p 60-inch PH6700-series model with active-shutter-glasses-based 3D, LG smart-TV features powered by a dual-core processor, and Motion Remote with voice-recognition capability.
Meanwhile, LG will bring a new FullHD 1080p short-throw video projector to Las Vegas to test reactions for a possible market introduction. Designed for home theater applications, the projector can be placed less than 20 inches from a wall or screen to project an image size of up 100 inches from a tabletop or ceiling mount.
The projector, which uses a special prism and optics array to spray the image straight up, uses a laser light source and special DLP chip. Needing minimal installation support, it was designed to be self-contained with a built-in tuner, smart-TV functionality and speaker.
It will provide picture quality “about the equivalent to plasma,” Alessi said. “It will have great color and black levels. The motion reproduction is excellent, and you don’t need a totally dark room as you would with a traditional front projector.”
In Blu-ray, LG will introduce four players, starting with the BP330 2D model with a compact size, builtin Wi-Fi and access to basic streaming services, including Netflix, YouTube and Amazon. The BP530 is slightly larger and will include the LG smart-TV suite — minus web browsing — and the Motion remote. Private Sound Mode will stream audio to an app over a smartphone to listen and not disturb others.
The BP630 is a full-size component that adds Miracast, and the BP730 has full LG smart-TV features, open web browsing, the Magic Motion remote, and 4K and 2D-to-3D up-scaling capability.
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