CES Report: LG Bullish on Google TV, Expands to 7 Models
International CES 2013 has just begun, and already things are looking good for Google TV. At a morning Press Day conference, LG announced that it would release seven Google TV-enabled sets in five screen sizes in 2013, up from two models in 2012. While some in the industry saw weak Google TV support as a sign that the connected TV platform was in trouble, this news suggests that manufacturers are seeing increasing consumer interest.
LG will offer Google TV sets in two series. The GA6400 series will include 42-, 47-, 50-, 55-, and 55-inch sets. The GA7900 series, which includes LG's Cinema Screen technology for a sleeker appearance, will offer 47- and 55-inch models. LG had revealed much of this information on December 26, and surprisingly didn't include detailed pricing or availability at today's event.
In a press release, LG noted that its redesigned Magic Qwerty Remote works well with Google TV. The improved Home Dashboard lets viewers quickly access video-on-demand and YouTube content, as well as apps.
The conference spent time on the improved remote, which will also let viewers change the channel by writing numbers in the air. Skott Ahn, CTO for LG Electronics, said that LG sets will support gestures that use only one finger, as compared to other manufacturers' whole arm gestures, which he called tiring. Viewers extending a finger will need to be careful that they don't accidentally change the channel.
LG is simplifying the interface for its connected TV line this year with a feature called My Interest Cards. These are folders for apps and other content that offer quick access to trending information. Cards are customizable to the viewers' preferences. LG's connected TVs will also gain enhanced SmartShare, which lets users mirror or send content from mobile devices using WiDi or Miracast. The feature is being enhanced with Near Field Communication (NFC) for wireless mirroring with compatible devices.
Other announcements in the brisk 40-minute press conference included news that LG will begin global sales of OLED TVs this month, is expanding its Ultra High Definition TVs with new sizes (up to 84-inches), and is redesigning its Magic Remote with more natural voice control.
The theme of the event was "Touch the Smart Life," and LG execs emphasized ways that LG electronics and appliances, including a vacuum, refrigerator, and washing machine, could exchange information.
"We are creating products that make life better," said Wayne Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics USA.
Viewers need top premium programming to tune in to connected TVs, and they need to be able to view that content however they want.
This year will see Google TV releases from LG, Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. Will consumers care?