How do you top a washing machine that lets you wash two loads at once? That was the question on everyone's lips when LG took the stage for its CES 2016 press conference in Las Vegas. The undeniable star of 2015 was the Twin Wash, and LG didn't disappoint this year, showing a off a new super-premium version of the washing machine.
But you don't play your greatest hits at the start of the gig. The Korean electronics giant kicked off the show with a somewhat less exciting refrain: car tech and Internet of Things.
LG President and CTO Dr. Skott Ahn introduced the automotive tech, saying that LG would improve the way cars show you information, the way cars see the world around them and the way cars communicate.
"We developed various display technology specifically for cars," Ahn said, noting that LG has a "large patent portfolio" that expands to radios and sensors. With the LG sensor tech, cars will be able to detect road conditions in real time, over both short and long distances.
The company is supplying eleven core components for General Motor's next electric car, along with other manufacturers.
Once again LG spoke of the Internet of Things, a big focus for its CES presentation last year. This year, however, the company paint fairly broad strokes, discussing its SmartThinQ IOT platform, as well as mentioning some new interoperability with other products such as Nest and ADT.
Next up was LG Signature, its dedicated lineup of premium products. In a truly gushing and extensive section of the conference, LG spoke a lot about the Signature products "maintaining their essence" from the design process through to the consumer experience. Which suggests they've never watched "Dr Strangelove".
The lineup of Signature products includes the top-end of its new OLED TV range, a fridge, another twin washing machine (of course) and a...well, an air purifier.
OLED 4K HDR
Not content with just being the "best picture quality of any TV we've tested", according to CNET's TV guru David Katzmeier, the company is flying the OLED flag even higher for 2016.
The OLED lineup will all have basically the same picture quality, which LG claims is a bit better than the 2015 versions we liked so much. This means styling, and presumably price, will be the main difference in the new models.
The highest-end model, the G6 (available in 77- and 65-inch sizes), has a sleek detachable speaker bar that can be mounted behind the TV when wall-mounted. Both it and the step-down E6 (55- and 65-inches) have LG's slimmest design yet, "panel-on-glass" that measures just 2.57 millimetres (one-tenth on an inch) thick. There's also the "lesser" curved C6 and the flat B6.
The newer sets also offer a somewhat wider colour gamut and compatible with Dolby Vision HDR, in addition to the HDR 10 standard that the 2015 sets supported. Why are we excited about HDR? Well High Dynamic Range means that the range of both contrast and colour get significantly expanded. Bright parts of the image can get much brighter, so the image seems to have more "depth." (Read a far more detailed explanation of why HDR is a good thing here.)
There's even a new Ultra HD certification for the products, Ultra HD Premium. These TVs will be some of the first to sport the new logo.
Pricing for the G6 series was not announced, although LG's rep told CNET that the 65-inch size should come in at "less than $10,000." It will ship in the first quarter of 2016.
In terms of non-OLED TVs, we saw the Super UHD range announced ahead of CES, before the company went back to hyping the quality and importance of OLED.
The bulk of the Signature range products fell into the appliance category. The Signature washing machine features auto dosing detergent, with smart phone notifications for when the detergent tank is empty. The touchscreen is actually built into the glass door, and of course, it happily works within the LG IOT ecosystem. Oh, and the top washing compartment is a dryer as well.
The air purifier was a little glossed over compared to the other Signature products, but we were assured that you'll be able to "visually experience the air being purified". This will be great if you aren't able to afford one of the new OLED TVs.
Then there's the new Signature Fridge. Calling the door "the least appreciated part of the fridge" LG demonstrated a killer new feature: knock on the door and a light comes on inside letting you see what's available.
The door will also open automatically when you step on an "open door" projection on the floor. It can detect the difference between a person and a pet.