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LCD and features rule LG's roost

LG today announced nine new LCD models with features including wireless HD and support for on-screen internet widgets, but won't someone think of the plasmas?

LG has unveiled its latest range of televisions in Las Vegas today with a strong emphasis on LCD, with technologies such as OLED and even plasma seemingly relegated to the sidelines.

The company launched nine new LCD products today, but only three new plasmas, plus a single 15-inch OLED prototype.

Havis Kwon, LG's executive vice president for LCD TV, told CNET Australia in an interview that LCD is the main focus, as opposed to emerging technologies such as OLED. He said there was still room for LCD to "catch up with the merits of OLED" and that the newer format wasn't yet competitive.

The LG LHX/LH95 is the company's newest LCD flagship. (Credit: LG)

Later at the Sony conference, Stan Glasgow, president of Sony US wanted to demonstrate its belief in OLED by announcing the new 21- and 27-inch prototypes: "Sony will remain the only company that has an OLED product in the market today and tomorrow."

LG's Kwon was quick to point out that while the company wasn't yet convinced about OLED, it was still committed to producing plasma televisions. He said that many customers prefer them for larger sizes due to enhanced blacks and greater colour depth. He also added that LG wouldn't choose to compete with Panasonic by producing smaller, 42-inch full 1080p sets.

Meanwhile, the lion's share of today's press launch was firmly on LCD and flagship 55-inch LHX, which will be available later in the year for AU$6,000. The LH9X/LH95 features a thickness of 24.8mm and a dynamic contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1. Kwon said LG's products were superior to competing products from Sony and Samsung because it uses "direct" LED lighting instead of "edge" lighting. This system enables the TV to adjust brightness levels dynamically for up to 240 individual sections of the television, resulting in better contrast.

Features were a large part of today's launch, with LG claiming its new range of televisions contain six "firsts" in TV technology. These include wireless 1080p over a 60GHz connection, TruMotion 200Hz, faster response times, new Yahoo networking capabilities and innovative energy-saving features.

LG announced support for Yahoo's new widgets which allow for third-party apps, such as social networking, to be used and controlled on a TV screen with a remote control. Other companies to announce Yahoo widget support included Samsung and Toshiba.

While the industry is taking the economic slowdown hard, LG US president Michael Ahn wanted to reassure people that it remained committed to "maintaining and improving" its position as a premium brand: "To strengthen this connection with consumers, we will not reduce marketing spending or research and development investment," he said.

Other products announced today included the LH50 LCD TV and PS80 PDP TV with Ethernet streaming capabilities. The other two plasmas announced today are both 1080p models — the PS60 and PS80.

Ty Pendlebury is attending CES 2009 as a guest of LG.