Curved OLED, affordable 4K and a handsome, former Jedi: LG is pulling out all the stops when it comes to its TV range this year. Here’s what you need to know.
4K/Ultra-High Definition (UHD)
The first stop on our acronym-heavy adventure is LG’s range of 4K TVs.
For the uninitiated, 4K — or Ultra-High Definition (UHD) as it’s now known — is the new benchmark when it comes to picture quality. 4K refers to the amount of pixels on the panel: 3840 × 2160 in this case. That makes a 4K panel four-times the resolution of a 1080p panel, which is packing 1920 × 1080.
The Consumer Electronics Agency (CEA) came out and officially named the new standard in January, labelling it as Ultra-High Definition.
Right now, the main players with UHD models on the market include Sony, LG and Samsung.
LG’s first foray into the UHD market was it’s massive yet affordable 84-inch model. That 84-inch model is set for a software upgrade and a new remote this year, and it’s also going to be joined by a few friends.
New UHD TVs from LG this year will include a 55-inch model as well as a 65-inch model to compliment the existing 84-inch model. These new models — much like their 84-inch predecessor — will be frightfully affordable for such high-resolution panels.
LG’s 55-inch UHD TV will start at $6999 RRP, while the 65-inch model will be $8999. The will go on sale in July. When you think about the size and price of UHD panels before this, you start to realise that LG doesn’t have rocks in its head by continuing to sell 4K.
Previous UHD panels have been massive, both in their size and their price, meaning they were only for the luxury end of the marketplace. LG is now resizing those panels while maintaining UHD quality so that ordinary people can get some future, too.
These new UHD models will also include an integrated soundbar that slides out of the bottom of the unit when it’s turned on. The soundbar is discrete and sexy, pumping out a 50-watt, 2.2-channel sound.
What’s better than the ultra-crisp, colourful and vivid OLED screen? An OLED screen that’s curved. Oh yes.
LG took the covers off of its 55-inch curved OLED screen for the first time in Australia yesterday, but did little else with it.
The panel is available for pre-order right now in Korea at a cost of $13,500. Korean customers can expect to get the OLED goodness in February 2014, and other markets will follow after that. We’ll know local prices and release dates soon.
One of the biggest concerns with UHD TVs is the amount of content available. UHD movies, due to the quality, come with enormous file sizes, meaning that putting it on a disc, let alone distributing it digitally, is difficult. Even when you look at gaming right now, most PlayStation 3 games run at a native resolution of 720p, rather than the Blu-ray resolution of 1080p. The good news is that UHD content is coming.
LG has sectioned off part of its hub for UHD content, so that owners can stream the content as soon as it becomes available. Make sure you have plenty of bandwidth and a huge quota, though: as we mentioned, these files are big. The PlayStation 4 has even been rumoured to support resolutions up to UHD, which will be great.
There’s a whole bunch of catch-up content available natively on all of LG’s new range of TVs — not just the UHD models. Its range of LED and LCD TVs will also have a hub section that lets you install apps from the likes of the ABC, SBS, YouTube, Quickflix, BigPond Movies, VTuner, as well as new additions from Spotify and Deezer.
LG has also expanded its Game World platform for kids and adults alike. There are new partnerships with EA, Disney Interactive, Activision and Unity. That means titles like Skylanders, Monsters, Inc. and The Sims will soon become available.
There’s also a new app on Game World for golfers. You can practise your swing in front of your TV and the built-in or add-on Skype camera will watch you and give you advice.
LG will also let you stream your own content from the cloud with its 2013 range of TVs: it’s giving everyone access to its own bespoke Cloud product, as well as 5GB free for life. That space can be used to store content like music and podcasts as well as TV shows and movies. It will also be compatible with LG’s smartphones and laptops.
The new TVs also add Miracast support and Intel Wi-Di so you can stream content wirelessly from your smartphone (the LG Optimus G has Miracast support), or an Intel Wi-Di supported laptop.
Get ready to see a lot more of Ewan McGregor. The actor and motorcycle enthusiast is the “brand ambassador” for LG’s home entertainment range in 2013. He’s going to appear on all the advertising on your telly and on a bunch of outdoor placements, too.
When asked yesterday what his job was with LG, he responded: “to say that they’re f**king good tellys”. Solid work, Ewan.
There’s other improvements to the range, too, including a new Magic Remote that acts like a Wiimote for your TV. Wave, waggle, point, click and speak all work. Wave between channels The motion sensors have also been upgraded so that you can wave your hand in front of the TV rather than the remote to get a desired outcome.
There’s also an upgrade to LG’s Time Machine, which is inventively called Time Machine II. It’s 5GB of internal space on the TV that lets you capture TV from either the channel you’re watching or another channel so that you can pause and rewind TV on the go. Pretty nifty if you changed channels just as that perfect goal was scored or you found out who the killer was.
There’s also twin-tuners in the TV, which means you can DVR one show while watching another live without the use of an external box under your TV. It’s all integrated (on the LA86 series, anyway). Time Machine II also enables the use of external hard drives so you can expand on your internal storage to get a longer record time.
Full Price List
Here are the prices for all of LG’s new TVs for 2013:
2013 LED TV Small TV Series
2013 LED TV LN54 Series
2013 LED TV LN57 Series SMART TV
2013 LED TV LA62 Series CINEMA 3D SMART TV
2013 LED TV LA66 Series CINEMA 3D SMART TV
2013 LED TV LA74 Series CINEMA 3D SMART TV
2013 LED TV LA86 Series CINEMA 3D SMART TV