Smart was the word of the day at LG’s CES 2011 Press Conference: Smart TVs, Smart Appliances, Smart Phones. The overriding theme is that most new LG products will have some Internet-connected aspect allowing the user broader access and in some cases, broader control.
LG’s new Smart TV platform will appear on many new LG TVs and a separate set-top-box. The platform, which sounds very similar to Google TV and expands on LG’s previous connected TV experience, involves an improved user interface with a Home dashboard.
The dashboard, like the grid on a channel menu, includes an app launch bar and additional functions organized into segments LG calls cards. There is also a live TV window. The platform will feature the ability to download new apps, includes a basic web browser and is DLNA compliant for connecting to media stored on another DLNA device such as a laptop or server.
LG Smart Upgrader
People who don’t plan on buying a new TV this year can still add Smart TV to their homes with the Smart Upgrader set-top-box. Smart TV can be controlled with a compatible cell phone, tablet PC or the Magic Motion remote, which uses a gyroscope-like technology to create a point-and-click experience to control the TV or Upgrader.
Smart appliances, in the form of washers and dryers, refrigerators, ranges and robotic floor cleaners where also presented. Features such a text messages sent from ranges (to signal completed cooking cycle), downloaded recipes, trouble-shooting self-diagnosis, and IP control were some of the convenience and energy-saving features of the smart appliances.
New 3D TVs
LG is launching a new line of 3D TVs called Cinema 3D. Cinema 3D uses a passive polarized system on LED LCD displays rather than the active shutter glasses system used in 2010. LG claims its new system features the “most comfortable 3D experience” with lightweight glasses that have no crosstalk or synchronization issues.
The polarizing process does impact the TV’s vertical resolution, limiting each eye to only half the resolution, but LG claims that there is “no perceived loss of resolution” in real-world viewing. At a separate product demonstration, we saw comparisons of LG’s new system, called Film Pattern Retarder (FPR) compared to current generation shutter glasses LCD TVs, and there were indeed no crosstalk or flicker issues. LG also claims their FPR system creates a brighter image.
A 3D OLED TV using FPR is planned for US release in 2012 in a 55-inch model (a smaller prototype is on display at LG’s CES booth).
Also forthcoming is a 4K x 2K resolution TV using FPR 3D technology. That may be released later this year, according to a representative from LG Display.
LG’s previously announced 3D Nano LCD TVs and 3D plasma TVs will continue to use active shutter glasses technology.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.