Pluto TV, LG Electronics Expand European Content and Distribution Partnership

Pluto TV and LG Electronics June 3 announced the expansion of their partnership to offer Pluto’s ad-supported channels on all 2016-21 LG televisions running webOS in select European markets.

The Pluto TV channels were first launched on LG Channels in 2020 in the U.S. market. ViacomCBS acquired Pluto TV in 2019 for $340 million.

With LG TV owners in Germany and the U.K. being the first to access the Pluto TV app earlier this year, consumers in France and Spain can now access the entire library of original and unique channels on their LG monitors.

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LG Smart TV owners in the regions can access an extensive selection of movies, from international favorites like Star TrekFighting Temptations and The Ring, to local gems like Mientras duermes. A wide variety of series across genres like crime and investigation, cooking, telenovelas and drama will also be available, from “Derrick,” “Ana y los 7” and “Plus Belle La Vie” to “Jamie’s Superfood,” “Midsummer Murders” and “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.”

Pluto TV’s lineup includes selected channels for younger audiences with Nickelodeon shows and animated series such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues,” while audiences will also have a vast range of dedicated lifestyle channels to choose from, spanning gaming, poker, animals, cooking, nature and sports.

LG Electronics Touts Record 2020 Sales, Profits

LG Electronics Jan. 29 announced record 2020 revenue of KRW 63.26 trillion ($56.45 billion) and record operating profit of KRW 3.20 trillion ($2.85 billion), an increase of 31.1% over 2019, and driven primarily by higher sales of OLED TVs and home appliances, among other products.

Sales in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31) of KRW 18.78 trillion ($16.76 billion) grew 16.9% from the same period of 2019 and were 11% higher than the previous quarter. Despite the impact of COVID-19, the quarter’s operating profit of KRW 650.20 billion ($580.19 million) increased significantly by 539% compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

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While COVID-19 and slow economic recovery remain concerns for 2021, LG said it expects the global economy to normalize under the successful implementation of vaccinations.

LG Home Entertainment reported 2020 revenue of KRW 13.18 trillion ($11.76 billion) and operating profit of KRW 969.70 billion ($865.29 million), a 22.9% increase over the previous year. Sales in the quarter of KRW 4.28 trillion ($3.82 billion) were 7.9% higher than the fourth quarter of 2019 and up 16.7% from the previous quarter. Quarterly operating profit of KRW 204.50 billion ($182.48 million) reflected increased sales in North America and Europe.

 

LG Electronics Announces Gaming Pact With Google Stadia

LG Electronics is adding Google’s online gaming platform Stadia to its line of webOS smart televisions rolling out later this year. The deal — announced at the virtual CES 2021 — will enable smart TV owners access to popular games such as Cyberpunk 2077, NBA 2K21, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion on their TV using the Stadia controller and without a requisite separate game system.

Stadia, which streams games directly to a desktop, laptop, cell phone, tablet or TV, is part of a growing wave of streaming-based platforms such as Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Microsoft’s xCloud and Amazon’s Luna looking to circumvent traditional game systems and offer content directly to consumers through CE devices.

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“Supporting Stadia on LG TVs is our commitment to customers that gaming is an increasingly important feature expected by LG TV owners,” Lee Sang-woo, SVP of at LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company, said in a statement. “Stadia is changing how people access their favorite games and by providing webOS compatibility, we’re making an early commitment to the platform.”

Stadia offers more than 130 games, with titles available individually or through a subscription to Stadia Pro.

 

Disney+ Available on LG CineBeam Projectors

LG Electronics USA has launched Disney+ on select LG CineBeam 4K Projectors, the company announced at virtual CES.

Owners of LG CineBeam Projectors HU85LA and HU70LA can subscribe to Disney+ directly through the projector’s webOS 4.5 platform on up to a 140-inch screen.

LG CineBeam is the first projector to offer access to the Disney+ app.

“Enjoying life at home has taken on a much greater role in peoples’ lives these days,” said Peggy Ang, LG USA’s VP of marketing, in a statement. “The arrival of the Disney+ app on our LG CineBeam 4K projectors provides consumers with a unique opportunity to bring the excitement of movie-going into their own home featuring the phenomenal content of Disney+ on stunning, ultra-large screens. This takes family movie night to whole new level.”

The HU70LA LG CineBeam LED Projectors feature a 4K UHD picture up to 140 inches (measured diagonally), and brightness of 1500 ANSI lumens. LG’s wheel-less technology enables each model produce an expanded color gamut with greater accuracy than traditional Digital Light Processing (DLP) projectors that use color wheels, and works to eliminate distracting visual effects such as the rainbow effect, clouding and color distortion, according to LG..

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The HU85LA CineBeam Laser Projector is LG’s first 4K Ultra Short Throw model, generating 2,700 ANSI lumens to deliver images up to 120 inches (measured diagonally) from placement of 7.2 inches away from the wall. The HU85LA also employs a wheel-less system, but uses a three-channel laser as the light source.

LG Announces New TV Lineup at Virtual CES

LG Electronics on Jan. 11 touted OLED, QNED MiniLED and NanoCell TVs on opening day of the virtual CES.

The lineup includes CES 2021 Best of Innovation Award winner (model OLED 48C1) as well as several Innovation Award honorees.

LG’s premium TV lineup has been upgraded with technology and features such as a new OLED panel, a new advanced LCD panel structure that combines Quantum NanoCell Color Technology with mini LED backlighting for enhanced brightness, deeper black, and brilliant color, and an upgraded AI processor and redesigned webOS, according to the company..

LG’s G1 series features OLED evo, “delivering better luminosity for bright and punchy images with amazing clarity, detail and realism,” according to LG.

The LG C1 series boasts a range of size options from the 48-inch version to the 83-inch model.

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LG’s processor, the α (Alpha) 9 Gen 4 AI, revamps the performance on the newest LG OLED TV models in the G1 and C1 series, LG QNED MiniLED TV models QNED99 and QNED95 and LG NanoCell TV models NANO99 and NANO95, according to a release. The processor leverages deep learning to analyze and optimize content. The α9 Gen 4 processor features AI Picture Pro, which recognizes content, removes noise, and optimizes picture quality. The new Scene Detection feature can analyze the type of scene being shown and improve the picture accordingly.

The processor incorporates a new version of LG’s AI Sound Pro which boasts two major additions for 2021. Virtual 5.1.2 surround sound up-mixing delivers an immersive audio experience via the TV’s built-in speakers while the Auto Volume Leveling feature maintains a consistent level of volume when switching between channels or streaming apps.

LG’s OLED TVs feature the company’s updated webOS 6.0 smart TV platform. With a completely redesigned New Home screen as well as performance and feature improvements, webOS 6.0 provides faster access to apps and simpler content discovery capability with more personalized recommendations paired with an improved Magic Remote that includes hot keys for popular content providers.

2021 LG OLED TVs, with self-lit pixel technology, feature offer perfect blacks and have been certified as having 100 percent color fidelity by the global product testing agency Intertek, according to the company.

LG’s TVs support Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos.

LG’s 2021 OLED TVs are equipped with new features such as Game Optimizer along with a 1 millisecond response time, low input lag and four ports supporting the latest HDMI specifications. 6 Not only does Game Optimizer lets users access all game-related settings in one place and automatically applies the best picture settings according to the type of the game being played, whether it is a first-person shooter, role-playing game or real-time strategy title, according to LG. LG OLED TVs are G-SYNC Compatible, FreeSync Premium supported and feature variable refresh rate (VRR), all of which can be managed within the Game Optimizer.

LG also expanded the number of TV models that will support HDMI 2.1 features in 2021, with enhanced audio return channel (eARC) and automatic low latency mode (ALLM) being supported across the full lineup. LG’s QNED90 MiniLED, and NANO90 NanoCell TVs will also support variable refresh rate (VRR).

“Our commitment to raising the industry bar and increasing value for consumers are both clearly evident in the 2021 LG OLED TV lineup,” said Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Co. in a statement. “Featuring LG OLED evo, our most advanced panel technology yet, our newest OLED TVs are in a league of their own, delivering another level of viewing experience we feel confident in saying is second to none.”

LG Takes Stake in TV Data and Measurement Firm

LG Electronics, through U.S. subsidiary Zenith Electronics, has taken a controlling stake of more than 50% in TV data and measurement firm Alphonso Inc.

The move is designed “to bring together the two TV industry leaders’ technologies and innovations in LG’s smart TV lineup,” the companies announced. 

“LG has made understanding customer tastes and consumer trends one of its highest priorities as part of its digital transformation strategy to deliver better customized services,” according to a press release.

LG plans to utilize Alphonso software and services — including Alphonso’s data analytics, media planning and activation, and Video AI capabilities — with its home entertainment products.

Alphonso’s combined offerings will enrich consumer services including content recommendations and LG’s own streaming service, LG Channels, to create a robust owned and operated first-screen, cross-device advertising platform with integrated analytics for the smart TV marketplace generally and for LG smart TVs specifically, according to the companies. 

Alphonso will continue to operate as an independent business under its current brand and leadership based in Silicon Valley.

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“Our investment in Alphonso is a key component of our digital transformation strategy focusing on AI, big data and cloud to fundamentally change how consumers interact with their devices,” said Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “With Alphonso’s TV data analysis capabilities, LG will be able to better fulfill consumers’ needs by providing them even more customized services and content. We are proud to welcome Alphonso to the LG family.” 

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“LG and Alphonso have a shared vision for advancing the smart TV ecosystem through innovative software and services oriented toward modern new consumer experiences on one end, and highly flexible, lucrative advertising, planning, and measurement offerings for brands, agencies, and broadcasters on the other,” Ashish Chordia, founder and CEO of Alphonso, said in a statement.

“Becoming part of LG Electronics gives Alphonso the backing of one of the world’s leaders in home entertainment products, with access to a massive global inventory of connected TV screens,” he added. “We can now maximize our mutual impact on the TV marketplace as we bring our products together and deliver immense value for the ecosystem.”

LG to Bow QNED Mini LED TVs at Virtual CES

LG Electronics will introduce its first-ever QNED Mini LED TVs at the virtual CES 2021 as part of its 2021 premium LCD TV lineup.

The 2021 lineup includes 10 new 4K and 8K models covering screen sizes of up to 86 inches.

“As the first TVs to combine quantum dot and NanoCell technology in one product, LG QNED Mini LED TVs produce incredibly accurate colors while the advanced LED backlight offers better contrast and deeper blacks for images of exceptional vibrancy and realism,” according to the press release.

The TVs have a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, according to the company.

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LG’s Mini LED backlighting comprises up to almost 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 when paired with up to 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming technology for the 86-inch 8K QNED.

“Our new QNED Mini LED series is a premium home entertainment option that expands and improves the LCD TV space and gives consumers another terrific viewing choice,” Nam Ho-jun, SVP of R&D at LG’s Home Entertainment Company, said in a statement. “These TVs deliver an experience that set them apart from other LCD TVs and speak to our commitment to innovation and pushing the standard forward.”

LG’s 86-inch 8K QNED TV will be on display in LG’s virtual exhibition booth during CES 2021 starting Jan. 11.

Pluto TV Inks Deal to Bring AVOD Platform to LG Smart TVs

ViacomCBS-owned AVOD service Pluto TV has inked a global distribution deal with LG Electronics to bring its platform to LG’s smart TVs.

Pluto TV is now available on LG 2020 smart TV models in the United States, with rollouts on 2016 to 2019 models to begin in fall 2020. Expansion plans to other regions will be announced at a later date. Pluto TV currently has a global footprint spanning 22 countries.

Pluto TV content is featured via LG’s proprietary LG Channels feature offering access to more than 200 free streaming channels. Once fully integrated later this year, more than 99 Pluto TV channels will be available on LG smart TVs, according to the service.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring Pluto TV and our leadership in free, ad-supported streaming television to LG’s lineup of critically-acclaimed smart TVs,” Brendon Thomas, VP of distribution for Pluto TV, said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we are excited to have another opportunity to accelerate our mission to entertain the planet by bringing an unparalleled lineup of programming, with instant discoverability through the LG Channels experience, to millions of LG users, for free.”

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“In the highly unusual times we are living in, people are turning to home entertainment in even larger numbers than ever before,” Matt Durgin, director of North America partnerships at LG Electronics, said in a statement. “With the debut of Pluto TV on LG smart TVs, our customers now have access to an even more expansive and diverse roster of free streaming content that will keep everyone entertained and engaged at home.”

Pluto TV delivers 100,000-plus hours of free content to an audience of more than 24 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone, according to the service. It includes hundreds of channels and tens of thousands of titles on demand featuring content from more than 200 major media partners.

Movies Anywhere App Available on LG Smart TVs

The Movies Anywhere app is now available on LG smart TVs, including LG OLED TVs, LG Electronics USA and Movies Anywhere announced.

Movies Anywhere lets users enjoy their purchased or redeemed digital movies combined in one personal collection. The service includes more than 7,900 titles.

LG is the first TV manufacturer to offer the streaming app.

With the Movies Anywhere app, in addition to streaming movies on LG smart TVs, users can also stream or download on LG smartphones, joining a wide array of other devices.

Additionally, with Screen Pass beta, Movies Anywhere is set to allow users to share their movies with others in a seamless way.

Movies Anywhere offers movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Twentieth Century Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

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The app enables consumers to sync digital retail accounts, including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu/Walmart, Xfinity, Google Play/YouTube, Microsoft Movies & TV, FandangoNow and Verizon Fios TV.

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LG OLED TVs include support for Dolby Vision IQ high dynamic range, Dolby Atmos, and the UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode. With the webOS smart TV platform, the new LG OLED and LG NanoCell 4K and 8K UHD TVs provide access to apps and services such as Apple TV, Disney+, Netflix and LG Channels in addition to Movies Anywhere.

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group CES 2020 Event

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group held its annual CES party for home entertainment executives at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Jan. 7. The event drew a wide range of guests, including home video presidents from the major studios and leading consumer electronics executives such as John Taylor of LG Electronics.