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CES 2016: LG Expands OLED, HDR & Launches Super UHD LCD TVs

LG is expanding high dynamic range (HDR) technology to all of its new 4K OLED and 4K LCD TVs, launching a new upper tier of 4K LCD TVs called Super UHD TVs, and expanding its selection of Ultra HD 4K OLED TVs to eight from four.

All 4K OLED TVs will meet the Ultra HD Alliance’s newly announced 4K performance requirements, LG added.

The Super UHD TVs also includes LG’s first production-ready 8K Super UHD TV, the 98-inch UH9800. Availability wasn’t announced.

During its pre-show press conference on Tuesday, the company also said its 2016 OLED 4K TVs and Super UHD TVs will support the HDR10 HDR format and, in a surprise announcement, Dolby Vision HDR, making them the first TVs to be compatible with both formats. The company’s Super UHD TVs, however, won’t be alliance-certified because brightness levels do not reach the 1,000 nits required of LCD TVs by the alliance, a spokesman said.

The 4K TVs later this year will stream “an extensive library” of Dolby Vision HDR content from Netflix, including planned Netflix-produced content. Home-video companies Warner, Sony and MGM also support Dolby Vision, LG added.

The OLED TVs will also stream the newest original Amazon HDR content via Amazon Video.

In addition, the TVs will display HDR content available for the first time from You Tube in Google’s VP9-Profile 2 HDR standard.

4K TV demo: Additional 4K HDR content will be demonstrated by LG at the show via over-air TV broadcasts based on ATSC 3.0 Candidate Standards. The content will be broadcast by Las Vegas TV station KHMP-18.

Signature: During the press conference, LG also unveiled its first Signature line of ultra-premium home entertainment and appliance products, including two bezel-less 4K OLED TVs in 65- and 77-inch sizes with glass body, depth of a mere 2.57mm on most of its chassis, and integrated stand incorporating all electronics and 80-watt speaker system. The former ships in February, with the latter due around June.

The appliances will be available sometime later this year, and the line will eventually be expanded to include an oven and dishwasher.

The refrigerator will feature a door in door that lights up when touched to become transparent to see what’s inside. A foot sensor will pop open a door if a consumers’ hands are full.

TVs: In TVs, the company unveiled a total of 13 Super UHD LCD TVs, available in three series with screen sizes from 49 to 86 inches and delivering multiple picture enhancements, including an expanded color gamut that hits 91 percent of DCI-P3 color-gamut levels on nine models and 84 percent on four models. DCI-P3 performance is delivered by digital cinemas.

The Super UHD TVs will ship in February and March with HDR 10 out of the box and will get a Dolby Vision firmware upgrade in the second quarter.

The Super UHD TVs will, like OLED TVs, also be compatible with next-generation wide-color-gamut Rec 2020 content, mapping the content accurately to the displays’ capabilities without color distortion, the company said. Some are only 6.6mm thick.

The eight new 4K OLED TVs deliver color gamut at 99 percent of P3 levels. They’ll also sport thinner profiles than before.

All 4K LCD and 4K OLED TVs will also feature HDR-compatible HDMI 2.0a inputs for use with 4K Blu-ray players.

 In other developments, the company said it is drastically scaling back its selection of 1080p FullHD TVs, and holding off the launch of an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Here’s what the OLED and Super UHD lineups will look like:

4K OLED TVs: Each of four new 4K OLED series – B6, C6, E6 and Signature – will offer two screen sizes, with Signature offering 77- and 65-inch screens. The other series offer 55- and 65-inch screens. Last year’s 4K OLED line also ran up to 77 inches. Various models ship in March, with others shipping in the second quarter.

The OLED models will offer 14 percent wider color gamut than their predecessors, delivering 99 percent of the P3 color-gamut standard.

With design in mind, the two OLED Signature TVs will feature “wallpaper-like screens,” and the two E6 series TVs will feature “crystal” back covers. The two models in the C6 series will feature curved screens, and the two B6 models will feature “blade-slim” flat screens.

Super UHD LCD TVs: This tier of 4K LCD TVs will deliver picture enhancements including higher brightness levels, wider color gamut, and higher contrast ratios. A new IPS display reduces glare by 40 to 50 percent depending on the model.

A Color Prime Pro video engine in the flagship UHD9500 series and in the UHD8500 series produces 91 percent of the DCI-P3 color-gamut standard. The Color Prime engine in the UH7700 series delivers 84 percent of the DCI-P3 standard.

All three series of Super UHD TVs feature 240Hz refresh rates, Super Luminance technology to boost brightness by 10 to 30 percent depending on model, and the new IPS display, which also boosts color accuracy by two times during off-angle viewing. The display also delivers a seven-fold improvement in contrast-ratio consistency at off-axis viewing angles.

All also feature local dimming, which enhances black levels, and detail-enhancement technology, which sharpens images. They also use an SDR-to-HDR conversion algorithm said to deliver and HDR experience from SDR content.

UHD LCD TVs: Three series of 4K UHD TVs are also planned. One of the new series uses the new IPS display, and two use the Color Prime engine. All feature 120Hz refresh rates.

Here’s what the company announced in audio:

Wireless multiroom: The company is carrying over its quartet of Wi-Fi mesh-network multiroom-audio speakers, which also feature Bluetooth, but LG plans a firmware upgrade that will enable the speakers to network together via Wi-Fi Direct without connecting to a home Wi-Fi network.

 The update will also enable the speakers to automatically determine if a music source is using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, after which the speaker automatically switches to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi operation. That feature, called BT-Fi, will also appear in new soundbars and, as a firmware update targeted for the first quarter, in carried-over soundbars that come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Soundbars: The company is not introducing new under-TV Sound Plates, but it is launching five new soundbars, three of which incorporate Music Flow Wi-Fi mesh-network multiroom-audio technology. One will be LG’s first soundbar with HDMI 2.0 input and its first with HDCP 2.2 4K copy protection. The company will also carry over two of four multiroom-audio soundbars from 2015.

All three of those new bars feature a simpler method to connect wirelessly to tabletop Music Flow Wi-Fi speakers to create a 5.1-channel home theater speaker system.