Crunchyroll Anime Streaming Service Launches on LG Smart TVs

The Crunchyroll anime streaming service app launched Feb. 21 on LG Electronics smart TVs in the United States and across international regions.

The service features more than 18,000 hours, 46,000 episodes and films, and 3,300 Japanese music videos and concert specials.

Viewers will also get expanded access to the simulcast series streaming on Crunchyroll shortly after premiering in Japan, including the dark fantasy “Solo Leveling,” “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End,” and the comedic “Mashle: Magic and Muscles,The Divine Visionary Candidate Exam Arc,” among other content. Crunchyroll’s catalog is available in subtitled or dubbed formats across more than 12 languages including English, Spanish (Latin America and Spain/Castilian), Portuguese, French, German, Arabic, Italian, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.

“Our new partnership with LG makes it even easier to be an anime fan,” Kaliel Roberts, chief product officer at Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “Anime offers a variety of genres and viewing adventures and now viewers have even more options to dive deeper.”

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Crunchyroll has more than 13 million paying subscribers globally, and serves 200 countries and territories with a dedicated anime streaming library, while also offering events and experiential, theatrical, gaming, merchandise, e-commerce and more.

CES 2024 Highlights AI TV Advancements

LAS VEGAS — CES 2024 ended its four-day run here on Jan. 12 with a total count of 135,000 attendees and more than 4,300 exhibitors, up 17% and 34%, respectively, from the 2023 show.

The exhibitor count is close to the pre-pandemic high of 4,400 at CES 2020, while attendance is still significantly short of the more than 170,000 who attended the show four years ago. But Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which produces the annual show, is quite pleased with the numbers.

“The resurgence of CES proves that face-to-face conversations and meetings are a necessity for the technology industry,” Shapiro said. “For more than 20 years, I’ve said that every company must become a tech company, and the diversity of exhibitors at CES 2024 proves it. The CES footprint and conference programming span the entire tech ecosystem.”

See our EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS from CES 2024 here!

Shapiro noted that the show’s footprint of more than 2.5 million net square feet of exhibit space was 15% bigger than CES 2023, while more than 40% of the attendees came from outside the United States, representing 150 countries, regions and territories.

The big buzz at the show was artificial intelligence, which was embraced by legacy consumer electronics exhibitors such as Hisense, LG, Samsung, TCL, Sony, and Panasonic to make their smart TVs even smarter.

Hisense, the Chinese CE giant that in the first half of 2023 became the world’s second-biggest television manufacturer, got a jump on its competitors with a press conference the day before the show opened highlighting its new line of ULED and ULED X TVs. The star attraction: the 110UX, which in addition to its 110-inch screen size is five times brighter than the average high-end set and incorporates AI technology to dynamically adjust contrast and depth depending on the scene. The company’s Hi-View Engine PRO chipset — featured exclusively in the U7 and U8 series — leverages deep learning and innovative technologies to create lifelike skin tones, refine HDR detail, and significantly improve image detail.”

Not to be outdone, LG Electronics unveiled its new line of QNED TVs, powered by the α8 AI Processor. AI Picture Pro offers picture quality based on deep learning, according to the company. The feature distinguishes faces, objects, and backgrounds within a scene, enriching the texture and fine details. Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro splits the picture into blocks and analyzes each in real-time to detect the darkest and brightest areas, elevating the details with precise HDR optimization to deliver three-dimensional image quality, according to LG. With Personalized Picture Wizard, users can customize the image quality by simply selecting a few preferred images from a given selection that are intelligently set up through deep learning.

Samsung Electronics in a press conference unveiled its “AI for All” vision, which holds that AI technology will enable people to experience their devices more intuitively and conveniently than ever before. The new Samsung Neo QLED 8Ks feature a built-in AI processor that can automatically upscale low-resolution content to 8K quality. The AI Motion Enhancer Pro automatically detects the type of sport being watched and uses deep learning to help viewers visually track fast-moving objects likes baseballs and footballs with crystal clarity. Samsung Neo QLED 8Ks also feature Active Voice Amplifier Pro, which uses AI to analyze voice and background noise and optimize the TV listening experience.

On the content side, Netflix returned to the CES show floor for the first time in six years with a glitzy mirrored booth where guests were being given an immersive preview of the sci-fi drama series “3 Body Problem,” which starts streaming on March 21. Guests donned a shiny silver gaming headset — modeled after the one in the series — and were taken on a wild cinematic ride rich with special effects, as well as a preview of the new full-length trailer.

“3 Body Problem” is an ambitious epic from “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, along with Alexander Woo, that was adapted from Chinese author Liu Cixin’s Hugo Award-winning book trilogy. The eight-episode series is set in a fictional past, present and future in which Earth encounters an alien civilization from a nearby system of three stars that orbit one another, a nod to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics.

Filmmaker Mode Now Auto-Enabled for Apple TV+ Content on LG, Samsung TVs; Also Paired with Dolby Vision on LG Screens

LAS VEGAS — With famed director Martin Scorsese in its corner, the UHD Alliance Jan. 8 announced two new developments for its Filmmaker Mode: automatic implementation for Apple TV+ content viewed on LG Electronics and Samsung TVs, and a paired enablement, with Dolby Vision, on LG displays.

Filmmaker Mode is an Ultra HD TV setting designed to reproduce movie and TV content on home screens the way the creator wants them to be seen.

“From our perspective, this really ensures that consumers will be able to see films the way they were intended, without much hassle,” Michael Zink, the former Warner Bros. executive who serves as president and CEO of the UHD Alliance, said at a press conference.

“As you may recall, one of our core tenets when we developed Filmmaker Mode has always been about simplifying consumer messaging, and we feel this is an important step toward that,” he said. “Filmmaker Mode has never been about one format or the other — it’s about every format out there, and it’s really a testament to wanting to make sure that consumers, once they see the brand, know they’re going to see the film the way it was intended to be seen, no matter what format it’s being played on.”

Mark Lee, who heads the North American content business development team for LG, told reporters at the press conference that LG has been a big supporter of the UHD Alliance “from the beginning, and when it comes to Filmmaker Mode, we supported the feature starting with our TVs in 2020. And with the support of the Alliance, we continued to innovate, where in 2021, we became the first manufacturer to enable Filmmaker Mode on Prime Video content — to where we are today, with our partnerships with Apple and Dolby Vision, we’re able to enable Filmmaker Mode automatically on LG OLED and our QNED TVs.”

Dolby Vision plus Filmmaker Mode is available on QNED TVs with 85-inch screens or larger.

Introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, Filmmaker Mode gives viewers a more cinematic experience by disabling all post-processing (such as motion smoothing) so a movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates.

Scorsese was not in attendance at the UHD Alliance press conference, held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the eve of CES 2024. But the UHD Alliance at the press conference unveiled a promotional clip in which the director maintains “every movie should be seen in Filmmaker Mode.” Watching a movie on many TVs with motion smoothing and brightness settings, he says, is “like watching an incomplete record of the film.”

The promo clip was produced by LG and Apple TV+, home to Scorsese’s latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

Scorsese has been a champion of film preservation for years. He once spearheaded a campaign urging Eastman Kodak to develop a more stable film stock. He also is founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 that is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history.

In a statement at CES four years ago he called Filmmaker Mode “a long overdue and welcome innovation.”

The UHD Alliance — comprised of leading consumer electronics manufacturers, film and television studios, content distributors and technology companies — establishes performance requirements for resolution, high dynamic range, color and other video and audio attributes with an eye toward giving consumers the best possible 4K UHD with HDR experience. Home entertainment products, mobile devices and content meeting these certification requirements bear the UHDA’s Premium Logo marks, making them easy for consumers to identify and purchase with confidence.

Zink talked about the growing number of movies and shows that are available for viewing thanks to the surge in streaming services, which he believes bodes well for future deployment of Filmmaker Mode.

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He brought to the podium Ailen Matthies, COO of Brazilian data science firm BB Media, who noted that on a worldwide basis upwards of 1.5 million movies and TV shows are available for streaming, three times as many as in 2020. She pointed to BB Media data that shows 3,500 new streaming services launched last year, with expectations for a similar number this year.

Already, as of Jan. 8, 780 new streaming services have been announced for 2024, she said.

Zink later said the proliferation of content, and the fact that it lives on in the home, is why “content quality and making sure content is being displayed correctly is so near and dear to our hearts.”

LG Announces New Lineup of 2024 QNED and QNED Mini LED TVs

LG Electronics has announced the newest lineup of 2024 QNED and QNED Mini LED TVs, which the company says offer a wider selection of screen choices including a 98-inch screen model, with vibrant picture quality, advanced AI-powered processing technologies and extensive personalization features.

U.S. pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.

LG 2024 QNED TVs have developed significantly more intelligence with the α8 AI Processor, improving upon its predecessor with an 1.3-fold increase in AI performance, a 2.3-fold enhancement in graphic performance, and a processing speed that is 1.6 times faster, according to LG.

AI Picture Pro offers picture quality based on deep learning, according to the company. The feature distinguishes faces, objects, and backgrounds within a scene, enriching the texture and fine details. Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro splits the picture into blocks and analyzes each in real-time to detect the darkest and brightest areas, elevating the details with precise HDR optimization to deliver three-dimensional image quality, according to LG. With Personalized Picture Wizard, users can customize the image quality by simply selecting a few preferred images from a given selection that are intelligently set up through deep learning.

AI Sound Pro offers virtual 9.1.2 surround sound from the TVs’ built-in speakers. For a unified audio system, WOW Orchestra integrates the LG Sound Bar and the TV’s speakers, resulting in a 3D sound experience, according to LG.

Featuring LG’s Quantum Dot and NanoCell color technologies, the company’s latest QNED TVs deliver “crisp and vivid picture quality for hyper-realistic viewing,” according to the company.

“With enhanced color reproduction, the authentic colors of QNED TVs heighten the visual depth for a more immersive and three-dimensional home entertainment experience,” according to LG.

LG QNED Mini LED TVs utilize Precision Dimming technology to improve gradations and accurate backlight control, and LG QNED TVs feature local dimming technology for “vivid contrast and exceptional brightness,” according to LG.

The LG QNED Mini LED TV QNED90 model features Million Grey Scale that differentiates between shades of gray and represents gradation with a 20-bit accuracy.

With a slim profile of only 29mm, LG 2024 QNED TVs, including the QNED85 and QNED 80 models.

With the webOS Re:New program, LG is offering an upgrade to the latest version of its webOS smart TV platform. The offer extends to LG QNED Mini LED 8K models launched in 2022 (QNED99 and QNED95 series) and will come to additional models in the QNED TV lineup and more regions worldwide soon.

By utilizing the latest LG webOS smart TV platform, users can create individual profiles to tailor the experience to their preferences. The TVs can differentiate between voices based on the user profiles and offer personalized recommendations by interpreting patterns from their comprehensive usage history.

The main home UI screen of the newest version of webOS features Dynamic Q Card for fastaccess to its services, with customized organization into groups, such as Home Office, Home Hub, Sports and Games. LG 2024 QNED TVs also support Apple AirPlay and Chromecast.

Enhancing the user experience for individuals with diverse abilities, LG 2024 QNED TVs supplies an array of accessibility features including dedicated menu settings, sign language avatars, remote control tutorials, and guides for quick problem resolution.

LG’s 2024 QNED TV lineup screen sizes include 98-inch, 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch and 86-inch screens.

“The LG 2024 LG QNED TV lineup takes the viewing experience to a whole new level with an advanced processor that enables outstanding audio-visual experiences across various screen sizes, while also providing a personalized user experience tailored to each individual’s unique lifestyle and preferences,” said Baik Seon-pill, head of the LG Home Entertainment Company’s Product Planning Division, in a statement. “We remain committed to delivering an unparalleled customer experience, drawing upon our decade-long expertise with webOS.”

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LG will be at booth #16008 at the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2024 Jan. 9-12.

LG Electronics Posts $87.5 Million Fourth-Quarter Home Entertainment Operating Loss

LG Electronics reported a home entertainment operating loss of $87.5 million in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022). The division, which includes all LG televisions, soundbars, headphones and related in-home consumer electronics, reported a near 10% quarterly revenue drop to $3.65 billion, from $4.05 billion in the previous-year period.

South Korea-based LG attributed the quarterly fiscal sales and loss due to the geopolitical risk stemming from the prolonged Russia-Ukraine military conflict and weakened consumer sentiment caused by concerns of a global economic downturn.

For fiscal 2022, home entertainment revenue of $12.8 billion and operating profit of just $4.4 million. That was down from revenue of almost $14 billion and operating income of $888 million.

Although lower global TV demand impacted revenue and operating profit versus 2021, LG’s content and services business based on its proprietary smart TV platform, including SVOD and AVOD, has grown tenfold since 2018.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Paramount+ and Pluto TV announced plans adding more than 100 content channels to LG smart TVs.

Going forward, LG said it would focus on expanding its smart-TV platform while continuing to push the premium TV segment, such as OLED TV and QNED TV, as well as effectively managing marketing expenses.

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LG Bows New Portable Projector for Streaming Video Content

LG Electronics Jan. 23 announced the availability of its new CineBeam Smart Portable Projector. Weighing 2.2 pounds, the PF510Q  model ($599) is designed to deliver a streaming video home theater experience in any room.

CineBeam Smart Portable Projector

The PF510Q is designed to be easy to carry from room to room or on the go and presents a range of HD resolution display sizes from 30 inches up to 120 inches, allowing users to watch movies or play video games whether they’re in a small dorm room or watching a movie in their backyard. The device’s “auto vertical keystone” feature adjusts the vertical alignment, eliminating tilts and distortion for crisper views.

The projector offers smart access to myriad streaming services and devices, including Disney+, Prime Video, YouTube, Apple TV+ and webOS 22. The PF510Q’s Apple Air Play and Apple Home compatibility features enable wireless control of the projector plus streaming capabilities from Apple devices.

Content can be wirelessly casted from Android devices to the projector screen using integrated Screenshare.

The projector’s Bluetooth Audio Dual Out feature enables the user to customize their listening preferences — whether pairing two Bluetooth devices to watch with a friend or amplifying a movie with two external speakers.

CES 2023 Ends With Higher-Than-Expected Attendance of 115,000

LAS VEGAS — CES 2023 ended Jan. 8 with a total attendee count of more than 115,000, exceeding even the most optimistic projections of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which produces the annual technology show.

In the weeks leading up to the show, which ran from Jan. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the CTA had expressed hope that attendance would reach 100,000, more than twice the 45,000 who turned out for last year’s show, which was scaled back by a day amid a rash of exhibitor pullouts due to a winter COVID-19 surge.

This year’s CES also had more than 3,200 exhibitors, about 1,000 more than last year.

“CES 2023 was the great reconnection and rocked by every measure — from attendance to the keynote stage to press conferences and product debuts on the exhibit floor — showing the entire world that in-person events are back!” a jubilant Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said in a statement. “The innovation unveiled [at the show] will drive economic growth and change in meaningful ways to improve our lives and create a better future for the next generation.”

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Shapiro notes that the show’s footprint was 70% bigger than CES 2022, with nearly 2.2 million net square feet of exhibit space.

Of the estimated 115,000 attendees, more than 40,000 came from outside the United States, representing more than 140 different countries.

This year also marked the first time that CES had a theme: Human Security for All. CES partnered with the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the World Academy of Art and Science on the Human Security for All (HS4A) global campaign to foster food security, access to health care, personal income, environmental protection, personal safety, community security and political freedom.

Also for the first time, CES 2023 had a dedicated Metaverse area on the show floor, highlighting cutting-edge sensory technology building immersive, interactive digital worlds. A Web3 Studio, produced by CoinDesk, was the focal point of the Web3, Metaverse and Blockchain area at CES.

And while automotive and mobility, digital health and sustainability were all dominant show trends, the show’s legacy consumer electronics roared back in a big way, with LG Electronics bringing back its signature video monitor “wave” and, along with other big CE manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, TCL, Hisense and Panasonic, displaying impressive lineups of new televisions, many of them aimed at video gamers.

Even turntables were back, led by Japan’s Audio-Technica Corp., whose turntables played a key role in the vinyl resurgence that began several years ago. Even Panasonic displayed a new Technics turntable and CD player.

One of the top attractions on the CES 2023 show floor was a replica of the cabin from the new Universal Pictures M. Night Shyamalan movie Knock at the Cabin (debuting theatrically Feb. 3), which Canon USA, a digital imaging solutions provider, used as the setting for an immersive movie experience in which visitors could try out various new technologies aimed at dissolving the limits between real and virtual worlds.

LG at CES: Paramount+ Expanding Internationally on LG Smart TVs; Pluto TV Adding More Than 100 Channels to LG Channels

LAS VEGAS — Paramount+ is expanding on LG smart TVs internationally and Pluto TV is adding more than 100 channels this quarter to LG Channels, said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of Paramount Streaming and co-founder and CEO of Pluto TV, at the LG Electronics press conference Jan. 4 on the eve of the CES event in Las Vegas.

LG has “worked closely with global leaders from a wide range of industries, especially the content industry,” said William (Joo Wan) Cho, CEO, LG Electronics, in introducing Ryan.

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“As one of the world’s leading producers of premium content that connects billions of people in nearly every country in the world, we’re leaning into our partnership with LG,” Ryan said. “Paramount Global and LG Electronics have a long-standing partnership. Both companies are respected market leaders, and the combination of Paramount content and LG scale delivers an incredible experience to tens of millions of consumers worldwide. That’s why we’re growing our partnership to accelerate Paramount’s global streaming growth. Pluto TV, the leading free streaming television service, is expanding our channel integration for LG channels, adding over 100 channels this quarter globally. Pluto TV is proud to be the largest content provider for LG channels.

“And today I’m excited to announce that Paramount+ is ready to start its global expansion on LG smart TVs, with the first launch to start today in the U.K. and Ireland. Paramount+ will be available in more countries on LG smart TVs soon to follow in the coming days.”

Xperi Adds Imax Signature Sound, DTS:X to Disney+, LG OLED TVs

Xperi Jan. 4 announced that the integration of its DTS:X audio technology into Imax’s Enhanced signature sound platform is expected to launch on Disney+ this year, with the SVOD/AVOD platform looking to deliver enhanced audio and visual technology to select Disney+ movies in the home.

DTS,  a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Inc., is aggressively trying to embed its technology in more consumer electronics devices, including LG’s latest OLED and Premium LCD televisions, to enhance the home entertainment experience.

DTS:X technology for TV claims to offer a cinematic audio experience directly to the living room on compatible 4K HD televisions. With the introduction of LG’s previously reported newest OLED and Premium LCD TVs featuring DTS:X technology, LG’s customers stream movies in immersive sound from their TV speakers. LG also has a line of DTS:X-enabled soundbars designed to be paired with LG TVs to further elevate streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc movies.

“DTS is enabling a new level of audio experience to the home,” Jea Yoo, president of Korea at Xperi, said in a statement.

LG Electronics Unveils 2023 TV Lineup, Headlined by OLED TVs

LG Electronics has unveiled its 2023 TV lineups, headlined by advanced OLED TVs.

“With premium self-lit picture quality, powerful image processing technologies, and an enhanced webOS platform offering even more smart features and services, the company’s latest OLED TVs elevate the viewing experience as only LG OLED can,” according to an LG press release.

The company’s OLED TVs have been recognized at the CES Innovation Award for 11 years in a row, the press release noted. 

“LG’s self-lit technology has enabled the company to create unprecedented, visually-stunning TV form factors, including market-firsts such as the rollable LG Signature OLED R, and the bendable LG OLED Flex. A double honoree at the CES 2023 Innovation Award, LG OLED Flex won Best of Innovation in the Gaming category,” according to the press release.

Spearheading LG’s 2023 OLED lineup are the latest Z3, G3 and C3 OLED evo series TVs. The upgraded, new models provide higher brightness and color accuracy as well as clarity and detail thanks to the precision and performance of LG OLED evo technology and the new α9 AI Processor Gen6, according to the LG press release.

The latest Alpha series processor utilizes LG’s AI-assisted Deep Learning tech to ensure outstanding picture and sound quality, according to LG. AI Picture Pro now offers improved upscaling for better clarity, and enhanced dynamic tone mapping, which helps reveal the depth and detail in every frame. AI Picture Pro also integrates a picture processing technology that detects and refines important objects, such as people’s faces, to give them a more lifelike HDR quality. In addition to fine-tuning image reproduction, the α9 AI Processor Gen6 powers LG’s AI Sound Pro, delivering virtual 9.1.2 surround sound from the TVs’ built-in speaker system.

Another upgrade applied to this year’s OLED evo G3 series is LG’s Brightness Booster Max technology, which incorporates new light control architecture and light-boosting algorithms to increase brightness by up to 70%. Brightness is mapped and controlled on a pixel-by-pixel basis, resulting in sharper, more realistic images, according to LG.

LG’s 2023 G3 OLED evo models also boast an aesthetic upgrade via the introduction of the One Wall Design, leaving no visible gap when wall mounted.

Also, 2023 LG OLED TVs are designed to be kinder to the environment, from production all the way through to disposal creating sustainable cycles, according to LG. LG OLED TVs have no backlighting unit, meaning each TV requires fewer materials to produce than a conventional LED TV. They also employ many components made from recycled plastics, and are shipped in eco-packaging made from recyclable materials and featuring single-color printing. Easier on viewers’ eyes, all of LG’s 2023 model OLED TVs have been certified low blue light by TÜV Rheinland, and flicker-free by UL Solutions.

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LG OLED is also introducing a more personalized user experience in 2023. Featuring the latest version of webOS, this year’s models present All New Home, a redesigned user interface (UI) that offers personalization options. The new “Quick Cards” offer users easy access to the content and services they use the most — all grouped into logical categories such as Home Office, Gaming, Music and Sports. LG’s more advanced webOS makes it easy for everyone using the TV to enjoy personalized recommendations tailored to their own preferences which are determined based on viewing history and viewing habits, according to LG. Furthering the personalized user experience on LG OLED TV is AI Concierge, which provides each user with a curated list of content choices based on their past usage and search inquiries, and provides a selection of trending content for them to browse.

LG OLED TVs continue to support the image- and audio-enhancing capabilities of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. This year’s LG TVs offer seamless integration with the latest LG soundbars, delivering outstanding multi-channel surround sound with Imax enhanced quality powered by DTS:X. LG TV and soundbar also combine to offer the WOW Orchestra3 feature, which takes advantage of both products’ audio channels to produce stronger, more immersive sound.

LG’s 2023 OLED models support a wide range of features compliant to HDMI 2.1a. They are also the first TV sets to be certified by the HDMI organization for the recently announced Quick Media Switching VRR (QMS-VRR), according to LG. QMS-VRR can eliminate the momentary “black screen” that sometimes occurs when switching between content played from different source devices connected via the TV’s HDMI 2.1a compliant ports, according to LG.

LG’s self-lit OLED TVs boast a 0.1 millisecond response time, low-input lag and up to four HDMI2.1a compliant ports. LG OLED TVs are also equipped with the Game Optimizer, allowing users to quickly select and switch between gaming-specific features, such as game-genre display presets. Settings for G-SYNC Compatible, FreeSync Premium and variable refresh rate (VRR) are easily accessible from the Game Optimizer as well, according to LG.

LG’s state-of-the-art 2023 OLED TVs will be on show during CES 2023 from January 5-8 at the company’s booth (#15501, Central Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center).