Tech Industry

LG's CES TV barrage: Thin, 3D, and Google-y

At CES today, LG shows how important televisions, 3D, and Google TV are to its 2012 plans. Let's just say, waaaay important.

Consumer electronics giant LG kicked off CES 2012 with a bang, unveiling a boatload of high-tech TVs and a new smartphone.

The company's 2012 TV line boasts sleek flat-screen TV designs and commitment to the fledgling Google TV platform:

  • LG's Cinema Screen Range has super-thin five-millimeter bezels--the frames around the screens-- and a one-millimeter bezel for its OLED model. The LM8600 series will be edge-lit LCD TVs that are 3-D compatible, voice-controllable, support Flash and HTML5, and have built-in Wi-Fi. Sizes for the thin-bezel Cinema Screen models will range from 47 inches to 55 inches.This summer, LG will ship a massive, 84-inch LCD TV which is expected to be the largest available in the U.S. The set will come with "ultra resolution" (better known as 4K resolution) of 3,840x2,160 pixels, and be passive-3D compatible. The set will work with LG's Magic Motion remote.
  • This year's lineup will also include LG's first OLED TV for the U.S. market, the 55-inch 55EM9600. It will have all the latest high-end smart TV features, such as media streaming and social media, and come with support for 3D. The bigger deal, though, is that LG predicts that by 2016, it will be able to deliver OLED TVs at the same cost as LCDs.
  • The company's LM9600 line of high-end LED TVs will now feature a 60-inch version, all with bezels less than five millimeters wide.
  • Its 2012 line of PM9700 plasma TVs will get 40 percent blacker, a step to improve picture quality and better compete with Panasonic and Samsung.
  • In other announcements, LG said that it has developed its own ARM-based chipset for its Google TVs. The company didn't say much about the chipsets, but did say that its chipset will finally put an end to the limitations it claims to have witnessed in other "industry chipsets."

On the smartphone side, LG unveiled details for its new Spectrum smartphone. That device will launch with a 4.5-inch HD display that features more pixels per inch--329--than the iPhone 4S, which comes with 326 pixels per inch. Oddly, LG decided to bundle Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) in the smartphone. However, the company did say that it will be upgradeable to Android's latest flavor, Ice Cream Sandwich.

But LG's event wasn't solely a look at products. LG's Wayne Park, the most senior person at LG in the western hemisphere, said LG saw 8 percent gains in revenue and record-breaking sales in the fourth quarter. Park also touted LG's recent gains in LED and LCD market share.

LG's chief technology officer Skott Ahn likewise claimed that LG currently owns 23 percent of the "key patents" in long-term evolution (LTE) networking, which he claimed are worth about $7.9 billion.

But it was the television space that seemed to concern LG most. During the event, the company cited its position in that market several times, saying that it has its sights set on Samsung, a prominent TV leader, along with Vizio.

Although LG has made a strong first move, CES 2012 is still young. And both Samsung and Vizio might just respond with something that could make this year's HDTV race one for the ages.