updated 12:55 pm EST, Wed January 5, 2011
LG CES press conference reveals Smart TV push
Jane Lynch of Glee fame, via pre-recorded video, kicked things off at LG's press conference this morning by introducing Smart TV technology, which will be one of the Korean company's pushes in 2011. The theme of the press conference was Simply Smarter, with Wayne Park, head of LG's home appliances division up on stage stating that LG will focus on four aspects in 2011. This includes competitiveness, preparedness, quality and people.
Dr. Skott Ahn, President and Chieft Technology Officer who oversees 17,000engineers around world at LG provided furtehr details. "For LG, 2011 is all about smart products," he reiterated, before detailing LG's Smart TV platform. This includes a simplified user interface, content sharing and support for downloadable TV apps. The interface will sport a Home Dashboard that incorporates a Launcher Bar, with cards representing the various features and apps. These will allow users to preview content without stopping to watch TV. Premium cards allow access to Amazon VOD, YouTube, Voodoo, Netflix, Hulu and Picasa, among other content partners.
Newly added for 2011 will be MediaLink support, in addition to existing features in TVs such as USB ports and DLNA. MediaLink will bring content on TV shows, movies and other programs to users. Some of the apps we spotted during the slideshow included twitTV and WhiteHouse.
Tim Alessi, director of new product development in home entertainment in the US, who has over 20 years of experience at Sony and Sharp, went into further details. The focus on LG's 2011 Smart TVs will be on ease of use, an adundanced of available content and easy connection. A web browser will be intergated into all. The control will come in the form of a simple Magic Motion remote, which sports just six buttons. One click will turn it into a Nintendo Wii-like pointer that will aim and choose content. There will be nothing else like it on the market in 2011, Alessi said.
Those who do not wish to buy an entire new TV will have the option to buy just the Smart TV upgrader box. It will connect to existing sets over HDMI and allow the same functionality as full-blown Smart TV sets. LG believes it will outsells competitors such as Google's TV, as per the company's own customer polls. There is no word if it will work with non-LG TVs.
The Cinema 3D sets will sport passive glasses technology. The appeal here is comfort and affordabality, with a weight of under 20 grams and a cost of less than $20. Sets will be sold with four pairs of glasses inlcuded.
LG's NANO Full LED technology for some TVs will bring Micro Pixel Technology for detail local dimming to earn THX3D Display certification. This feature will be housed in a set with a thicknesses of under one inch. Plasma models will also be developed in conjunction with THX.
This year will see the release of 31 new LCD models, with 21 using LED tech and 19 of them support Smart TV. There will also be a dozen new plasma models in six families.
The 3D tech will also be brought into Blu-ray players and home theater offerings. LG will also bring out its first portable Blu-ray player in 2011. Cinema 3D will have bright 3D and 180-degree viewing angle.
The company will also attempt to bring 3D to its sound systems with its 3D Sound Home Cinema products. It will sport dual subs, a dome effect and the signature Vertical 3D Effect Channel.
Brief mention was made of new cellphones for 2011, with a focus on LTE support and mobile TV integration. There was a mention of the Optimus 2X, with the first NVIDIA dual-core CPU rated at 1GHz and with 1080p video playback. It will also get an HDMI output.
The Optimus Black smartphone was confirmed, and it will be just 9.2mm thick and weigh 3.8oz. Its 4-inch NOVA display will provide 700 nits of brightness and it will be 15 percent more efficient than current display technology, LG promises. A front-facing 2-megapixel camera will be integrated, and the Android 2.2 device will ship in the first half of 2011. More details from LG's booth on this device to come.
Another world-first being teased about was the Mobile DTV autosterecopic 3D mobile TV handset, though no details were revealed. The MS690 smartphone was shown briefly with an ATSC Mobile DTV tuner.
Smart appliances were also talked about. This included connected fridges, washers, ovens and the HOM-BOT vacuum cleaner, which is coming to the US. The kitchen-based pieces sport THINQ technology and will allow users to control and monitor appliances with smartphones and tablets. They can connect to a Smart Grid program to enable wash cycles for off-peak times when energy costs are low. New wash cycles can be downloaded and installed. The HOM-BOT gets a camera so users can see what it cleaned on its path.
Specifics such as prices or release dates were not revealed. LG did invite guests to its booth for more hands-on imoressions and details, however. Another session to introduce a new tablet is scheduled for Wednesday as well. Jane finished things off once again with a funny quip or two. "OMG LG," she said, before threatening to ask LG for a spokesperson discount.