CES 2014: LG and Netflix Talk 4K Screens and Ultra HD Content
4K TVs and delivery methods are sure to be a major theme of the 2014 International CES show, and LG kicked that off this morning at its Press Day morning conference.
WebOS, the connected TV interface LG acquired from HP in February, 2013, will play a major role in LG’s upcoming lineup. The company is simplifying setup, noting that there are 160 million connected TVs in use, but that people think they’re too complicated. The presentation showed a cartoony setup interface featuring a bird character.
“WebOS make it possible for us to really simplify and improve the consumer experience,” noted LG president and CTO Dr. Skott Ahn.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings briefly took the stage to announce that the upcoming second season of “House of Cards” was filmed in 4K, and will be one of the first series to play completely in 4K. Netflix first partnered with LG in 2008.
For eye candy, LG showed off its new curved 105-inch ultra HD set (shown at left) and a 77-inch curved OLED model. The 105-inch has a 21:9 aspect ratio, a 5K resolution, and a 7.2 audio system created in partnership with Harman Kardon. Presenter Tim Alessi, LG’s U.S. head of new product development, said LG hopes to dominate the OLED market. At CES, LG is introducing 4 new plasma models and 8 new LCDs. The lineup emphasizes slimmer designs, ultra HD resolutions, smooth image upscaling, and the connected TV WebOS interface. LG also announced 3 new Blu-ray players; the top model includes ultra HD upscaling and all include online streaming.
TVs aren’t the only things getting curved at LG. The company announced that its G Flex phone, already available in several world markets, will come to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will all carry the phone. The curved design helps with audio quality and is easier to grip, the company said.
While frequently repeating this year’s theme “With LG, it’s all possible,” company executives also showed LG HomeChat, a natural language system for texting instructions to connected home appliances; LifeBand Touch, LG’s entry into the wearable fitness device trend, which includes headphones that display heart rate information; and SoundPlate, an under TV speaker that allows people to stream audio from their smartphones. Noting that people like the simplicity of sound bars, LG announced that it will offer two new models this year.
Part of the LG Signature line, the OLED sets have screens as thick as four stacked credit cards, and promise an elegant viewing experience.
Netflix will add HDR to its video in 2015, and will begin a Recommended TV Program to endorse sets that make online viewing easy.