LG bets big on Internet of Things, OLED TV at CES 2015

The Korean electronics giant reveals its vision for interconnected personal devices with its suite of products, such as WebOS TVs and even smartcars.

Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Nic Healey
4 min read
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LAS VEGAS -- LG used its presentation at the 2015 International CES highlight its focus on the Internet of Things and the company's pursuit of a functioning interoperable ecosystem that can combine its WebOS 2.0 TVs with a new "wellness platform," home automation and even smartcars.

Compared with its earlier WebOS platform, the WebOS 2.0 platform has a simpler user interface, is faster and supports 4K streaming. The WebOS platform has expanded to signage and hotel TVs.

The Korean electronics giant also reiterated its love for both 4K and OLED, with a commitment that its whole range of 2015 OLED TVs will have 4K Ultra HD resolution. Of its full TV range, including LCDs, 60 percent will have 4K.

While the curved screen appears here to stay, LG will also release a number of flat screen OLED TVs. They consist of the 55-inch 55EF9500 and 65-inch 65EF9500, as well as a step-up 65-inch model, the 65EF9800. The company's other OLED size, 77 inches, will not be available in a flat version. Pricing and availability were not announced.

The main new curved models are the EG9800 series , which comes in a 55-inch and 65-inch size.

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If you're not sure whether you like curved or fixed screens for your OLED, LG also said it would launch a 77-inch version of its previously concept-only flexible OLED TV. This model, the 77EG9900 , allows for the viewer to adjust the display from curved to flat at the touch of button. This allows for a curved screen when you're viewing at home from the sweet spot, or a flat screen with a better viewing angel when there are a few people on the couch.

LG talked about its ColorPrime technology, which it hopes will breathe a last lease of life into its LCD TV range as OLED slowly takes over. The UF9500 is the flagship series that sports the ColorPrime tech and is available in 55-, 65- and 79-inch sizes.

According to a press release, ColorPrime "utilizes different phosphor-based LEDs to display greater color depth and more lifelike images and a 25 percent increase in color gamut." Of course, as CNET's TV guru David Katzmaier says "these are still LCD TVs, and we don't expect them to match plasma's quality, let alone that of OLED, LG's higher-end display technology."

Greg Peter, head of streaming and partnerships at Netflix, took to the stage to say that the company was excited to work with LG for 4K streaming playback. Peters announced the Netflix Recommended TV program, a service to allow Netflix to suggest the best TVs for its viewers.

LG's monitor range got a look in as well , with the 4UC87M, a 34-inch monitor with a 3440x1440 resolution and an IPS screen with AMD technology inside. LG is also introducing a 4K display, the 31MU97 with a resolution a bit higher than your typical 4K display -- (4096 x 2160) instead of (3840 x2160).

Home theater and sound

As announced at the end of December, LG also confirmed that its Music Flow multiroom audio system would be launched into the US and Australia. The line-up will incorporate four Wi-Fi speakers -- including one powered by an onboard battery -- and an additional three sound bars.

LG's Music Flow system debuted at IFA in 2014 and includes the standalone H7 (NP8740), H5 (NP8540) and H3 (NP8340) models. The lineup now includes the company's first wireless speaker, the LG H4 (NP8350), which comes with a built-in battery.

LG also noted that it is still working on new Blu-ray and other home audio devices, such as sound bars and sound plates.

Home appliances

David VanderWaal from LG's appliance division said he thought that home activities could be divided into two categories: things you want to do and things you have to do. Citing laundry as one of the latter category, he introduced the range of washing machine and refrigerator lineups.

This included a Twin Wash system that is two washing machines in one -- one regular style front loading system, but then a second specialized washer in the pedestal. This allows you to do two loads at once and the Twin Wash can purchased separately and added to any of the new LG washer range.

Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET

VanderWaal also highlighted LG's dryer technology that "injects steam" directly into the clothing to not only dry, but also help sterilize and remove odors.

LG doubled-down on its door-in-door system from its fridge range, with a double-door-in-door unit that adds a second door system to both sides of the fridge. This apparently helps with energy conservation as you're not opening the full fridge to get at regular items. The new fridges are also "distinctively dark" -- which helps stop your fridge get covered in finger prints.

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LG mobile's Frank Lee came to the stage last to introduce the G Flex 2, warning viewers to "prepare to fall in love".

The LG G Flex 2 was the worst kept secret of CES 2015, with LG posters of the new flagship spotted before the show had even opened. Sporting a similar design as the old Flex, the Flex 2 has a 5.5-inch screen curved on a 23-degree arc. The Flex 2 is smaller and 15 percent lighter than its predecessor, and has a revved-up version self-healing finish on its rear panel, which can repair scratches in "seconds, rather than minutes." The screen resolution has also improved, with a 1,080p resolution and a sharp 403ppi.

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It's also the first announced smartphone to be using the brand new Snapdragon 810 chipset. The Flex 2 has an enhanced screen durability -- up to 30 percent stronger, according to Lee. This is a combination of both the curve and a special proprietary treatment that strengthens the glass itself. An improved battery can take the battery from zero to 50 percent full in just 38 minutes.

Watch this: LG bulks up its curved G Flex 2