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LG Expands OLED, Ultra HD TV Lineups

LAS VEGAS – It’s no secret that a 77-inch Ultra HD OLED TV will represent the flagship of LG Electronics’ 2014 U.S. TV offerings; what the company is revealing for the first time at International CES 2014 is the exact look and expanded feature set of its latest display marvel.

The 77-inch 77EC9700 (pricing and ship dates to be announced later) curved-screen Ultra HD OLED set, which was teased at last Fall’s IFA Show and November’s TWICE/CEA Ultra HD Conference, will feature a new “leaf” design, with curved-up edge detailing, and will incorporate a 50-watt 2.2-channel audio system and new WebOS smart-TV platform.

WebOS will be available in many of LG’s 2014 step-up LCD TV lines, offering enhanced graphics, recommendations and Magic Remote user control capabilities.

In addition to the crown jewel, LG is showing two 55-inch FullHD 1080p OLED sets, one version with a curved screen and one with a flat-screen picture-frame design called Gallery OLED.

LG is also expanding its Ultra HD LCD TV offerings this year from five models in 2013 to nine models in 2014.

There will be four Ultra HD LCD TV series and four new screen-size classes. Screen sizes for Ultra HD LCD include 49, 55, 65, 79, 84, 98 and 105 inches. All incorporate an improved up-conversion engine to help viewers derive even more value from currently available content.

In the core FullHD LED LCD TV lineup, LG will offer 23 new models across six series, in addition to three carryover series from 2013. Screen sizes for FullHD LCD include 22, 24, 28, 32, 39, 42, 47, 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 inches.

Many of the FullHD LCD TVs offer direct LED backlighting, but this year the technology will come in 40 percent thinner panel depths, measuring less than 2 inches.

The company will continue to offer value-centric plasma models in both 720p and FullHD 1080p plasma resolution. Models will span four series and three screen sizes: 42, 50 and 60 inches.

“Building on a base of picture quality with our Triple XD Engine, Cinema 3D or Cinema Screen Design, we think OLED and Ultra HD will be driving some new growth in 2014,” said Tim Alessi, LG new product development director. “On top of it all is the overall user experience which we are supporting with our WebOS technology that we purchased from HP last year.”

Alessi said all 2014 Ultra HD models will add an extra processing chip that makes for more accurate up-conversion using a five-step process that ensures the elimination of added artifacts.

LG Ultra HD LCD TV models all have in-plane-switching (IPS) panels for wider viewing angles, and the top nine LCD models will feature Cinema 3D with passive glasses.

Alessi said that in Ultra HD, viewing angles become even more important in a tight pixel structure, and IPS offers some of the widest LCD viewing angles in the industry.

Ultra HD, he said, “really brings the best 3D experience to people,” enabling passive-glasses viewing and FullHD resolution to each eye.

Within the Ultra HD group, the 9700-series offers the widest breadth of screen sizes, ranging from 65, 79, 84 and 98 inches. Models in the series include multichannel audio, more powerful amplification, and a unique speaker design that sits back in the set with a slight angle to produce more robust sound. The 65-inch model has a 70- watt 4.2-channel system; the 79-inch moves to 90-watts and 5.2 channels, and the 84-inch features 120 watts and 5.2 channels.

Another surprise is a 105-inch Ultra HD LED LCD TV model in the UB9 series that has a 21:9 super widescreen aspect ratio; 240Hz refresh rate; and a 150-watt, 7.2-channel onboard audio system.

LG expects the wide screen to appeal to video gamers and hardcore movie buffs.

“I don’t think 21:9 is going to be mainstream by any means, but for a home-theater movie enthusiast it will be very desirable,” Alessi said. “We see it as a product for CEDIA-type channel distribution, as a projector alternative.”

In the core FullHD LCD TV line, LG is also stressing picture-quality advances, improved design styling and added audio enhancement in key step-ups.

Direct-backlit LED models that emerged a couple of years ago are now getting almost as thin as edge-lit models, measuring less than 2 inches deep in LG’s 2014 lineup, or 40 percent slimmer than 2013 models, Alessi said.

Picture quality is optimized using LG’s Triple XD Engine, and in 6300-series and above models, a new Tru-Black control uses local dimming and high dynamic range to more clearly isolate the areas of light and dark to produce better contrast and more visible picture detail.

Models in the LB7100/7200 series offer a brighter LCD panel in addition to deeper blacks and wider contrast to produce some of the best picture quality in the FullHD LCD segment, Alessi said.

All of LG’s smart TVs this year will feature a resolution up-scaler that greatly improves the picture quality of streaming content. In addition, 3D color gamut has been boosted to 95.4 percent color accuracy.

For smart-TV functionality in 2014, LG is offering two flavors, while dropping Google TV in favor of the aforementioned WebOS technology framework it acquired from Hewlett-Packard last year.

In two step-up plasma TV series and in the LB5800 LCD TV series, LG will offer a basic-level smart-TV system including some of the most popular streaming services, while 10 series of LCD and OLED models — starting with LB6300 LCD TV series and up — will include the WebOS platform.

New audio features include wireless sound sync and private sound mode features. The latter is taken from LG’s 2013 Blu-ray players that streamed audio separately to a smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi, to enable listening via headphones.

Sound Sync uses Miracast or Bluetooth to enable streaming audio from the TV to the mobile phone and/or streaming audio from the portable device to the TV.