LG dotes on appliances, unveils rash of TVs at CES 2014

The Korean electronics maker lavishes time on its appliances, while it reveals its Lifeband Touch and a slew of new TVs and home entertainment items.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

LG Electronics lavished its appliances business with a big chunk of time and three speakers during its presentation at the Consumer Electronics show, while it also unveiled its Lifeband Touch smartwatch, new TV and home theater products, and the planned US launch of its G Flex smartphone.

The Korean electronics maker unveiled the news at a press conference in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay hotel, as part of CES press day. President of LG Electronics USA William Cho kicked off the presentation bragging that LG gained market share in the US in 2013 in each of its key areas.


Credit Sarah Tew/CNET

LG spent a sizable portion of its presentation detailing features it would be rolling out to its appliances, including door-in-door and dual freezer for its fridge platform, turbo wash technology for front-load washing machines, EasyClean in its range lineup as well as microwave ovens, and a design partnership with Nate Berkus, an interior designer who rose to prominence as a recurring guest on Oprah Winfrey's show.

Closely linked to its appliance announcements was the unveiling of LG Home Chat, which allows you to, for example, text your fridge while at the grocery using plain language to ask if it has milk or bread already. LG called it one of the most important services for the Internet of Things, as it will work with almost everything in the future.

Read more about appliance features debuted at the LG CES press conference.

TV and home entertainment

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LG's core LCD lineup will have 8 new LED LCDs and 25 new models overall, with more than half of them using WebOS, the interface it bought from Hewlett-Packard that it is touting for its simplifaction features this year.

LG's top 1080p LCD televisions for the coming year are theLB7100 and LB7200 series and feature all of the company's best LCD technologies like local dimming, private listening via your phone, and an upgraded Magic Remote. LG's mainstream LCD series for 2014,the LB6300, comes with a smattering of high-end features and lots of sizes.

In Ultra HD, LG will expand to 6 new series and 12 total models ranging from 49-inch to massive 105-inch screens. All will support the latest standards for connectivity, and many will have built-in subwoofers. All of these will feature the WebOS platform, critical because streaming is likely to be the first widespread delivery method for 4K, the company said.

It also discussed four new series and five OLED models from 55- to 77-inch sizes (the 77-inch 4K OLED would be shipping to the US market in June) as well as a new Gallery OLED TV, which acts as both an OLED TV and screensaver that displays artwork, photos, and so on.

WebOs made it possible for the company to simplify and improve user experience, LG said, and it brought out Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to tout how having a native Web operating and pointer makes streaming things like "House of Cards" in 4K this year simpler, more native, and cleaner.

Though Netflix got the spotlight, LG said it would be working with all content partners, and showed an image with names like Hulu. After years without an Amazon Instant app, LG finally managed to get it on its 2014 WebOS Smart TVs.

In addition, SoundPlate, two new sound bars, and multiroom speakers were announced. They have built-in dual subwoofer and SmartTV functionality, as well as built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Like its bigger Korean rival Samsung, LG is chasing Sonos with a networked audio system, though LG's is likely to be cheaper than both. The company also unveiled three Blu-ray players.


Sarah Tew/CNET

With every company and its cousin throwing its hat into the wearables ring, LG debuted its Lifeband Touch activity monitor and heart rate headphones Monday. The band monitors and collects fitness data during exercise or everyday life, with a touch-enabled OLED display to check all data in real time that doesn't require you to log in or sync with an app. It is Bluetooth enabled, and works with LG devices, most other Android devices, and iPhones; it will launch in the US this spring.

Sensors in the earphones track heart rate while listening to music and can provide audible updates.

Read more about Lifeband Touch.


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LG Electronics will launch its G Flex in the US in the next three months, but don't expect to find the curved smartphone in the biggest mobile carrier's lineup. The G Flex will debut in US in the first quarter and will be available through three major carriers: Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, though Verizon is left out.