Remember Savant’s Touch TV? Well, this isn’t quite the same thing, and it’s not a giant tablet PC either. In fact, the TV itself isn’t really all that different from any other plasma TV because in this case, the touch feature is built into the pen.
With LG‘s PenTouch TV system, you can draw on the screen or manipulate objects, even access PC files. The TV will come with software that lets you create artwork on the screen and save the files to a computer. Other applications include photo enhancement and a family calendar.
You don’t use the touch feature to change channels, adjust the volume or poke people on Facebook.
The TV supports simultaneous use of two pens which are charged via a USB port.
The system was shown earlier this year at CES, and is coming to retailers soon in three models: the 60-inch 3D THX model 60PZ850 for $2,199, the 60-inch 2D model 60PV490 for $1,699 and the 50-inch 2D 50PV490 for $1,099.
All three are 1080p plasmas with TruSlim frames, Picture Wizard self-calibration, Intelligent Sensor automatic picture adjustment and Smart Energy Saving features. The 3D model uses active shutter glasses, not the passive glasses used on the company’s Cinema3D screens.
As neat as this sounds, I have to ask—why? It does look kinda fun, especially for kids (the screen is scratch resistant), but beyond that, it seems impractical. Most people will have the TV mounted on the wall, 8 to 10 feet away from where they’re comfortably sitting. I like the idea of the calendar feature, but a tablet (which you can take with you) seems a better solution.
On the other hand, LG’s smart TV marketplace is loaded up with games. If this new touch feature is complemented by more apps that take advantage of it, then it might be just the thing to make it stand out from the competition.
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.