Sling TV Feature Integrates Over-the-Air Broadcast Channels Into Guide on LG Smart TVs

Sling TV announced a feature that integrates free, local over-the-air (OTA) broadcast channels into the Sling TV guide on 2020 LG Smart televisions with webOS 5.0, without the need to switch inputs or applications.

The channel tuning feature, available on all 2020 LG OLED and LG NanoCell TVs, allows consumers to access their local broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS, directly within the Sling TV app when connected to an OTA antenna.

“The best value in TV today is Sling TV plus free live locals,” Jon Lin, VP of product at Sling TV, said in a statement. “We’re making it easier than ever to watch free local channels directly within the Sling TV app, making 2020 LG Smart televisions an amazing value for those who appreciate a quality viewing experience, live local programming and OTT content from Sling TV.”

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To begin watching local broadcast networks in the Sling TV experience, owners of compatible LG Smart TVs connect an OTA antenna directly to their television and begin the one-time channel scanning process. To scan for channels, consumers access the TV’s settings tab, select “All Settings,” “Channels,” “Channel Tuning” and finally “Auto Tuning.”

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Once Sling TV receives the tuner’s signal, all available local channels will appear within the interface like any other channel. Consumers can further customize their Sling TV experience by filtering for local channels within the guide or adding local channels to “My Channels.”

For more information on the integration with LG Smart TVs, visit Sling.com/LG or the Sling TV Help Center for a step-by-step setup guide.

The average American household today can receive 44 local OTA channels at no cost, resulting in hundreds of dollars in annual savings, according to Sling TV. Cord cutters interested in learning which live locals are available in their area can now use the Sling TV local channel finder tool. To search, type in a street name and zip code and click “View My Locals” to see a comprehensive list of channel results for any desired location in the United States.

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.

LG Expands Apple TV+ App to 2019 Smart TVs

LG Electronics is expanding compatibility with the Apple TV+ app to its 2019 smart televisions in more than 80 countries. The South Korean CE manufacturer unveiled Apple TV+ functionality with its 2020 smart TVs.

The Apple TV+ app gives LG TV users the ability to subscribe and stream the video subscription service featuring original shows such as “The Morning Show,” “See,” “Servant” and “Little America.”

The Apple TV app affords LG smart TV owners access to their iTunes video library and the ability to buy or rent over 100,000 movies and TV shows.

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LG’s 2019 TVs also support Apple AirPlay 2, which allows users to share or mirror content from their iPhone, iPad or Mac directly to an LG TV. Customers can also play music on the TV and sync it with other AirPlay 2 compatible speakers anywhere in the home.

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“LG continues to offer the best home entertainment experience through technological innovations that support the delivery of high quality viewing and user convenience,” Park Hyoung-sei, president of LG Home Entertainment Co, said in a statement. “By bringing the Apple TV app and Apple TV+ to even more TV models, we are once again demonstrating our determination to meet consumers’ needs and add value to our products.”

 

NAB Show to Bow ‘Streaming Experience’ Content Showcase

The NAB Show is introducing The Streaming Experience, a new content showcase curated by streaming and online video expert Dan Rayburn that will feature more than 50 OTT platforms and streaming devices.

The showcase, which will give NAB Show attendees a first-hand look at the latest streaming video services, according to organizers, will be located in the Central Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center and is open to all registered attendees during exhibit hours starting April 19.

The NAB Show takes place in Las Vegas April 18-22.

A living-room setting will allow attendees the opportunity to test OTT services side-by-side to compare content, video quality, ad formats, playback features and delivery methods. The Streaming Experience will feature hardware from Amazon, Apple, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, LG, TCL and Samsung. Streaming services on display will include Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Disney+, Hulu, NBC Sports, Netflix and YouTube TV, among others. New services from HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi may also be showcased, dependent on their launch dates, according to organizers.

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“Streaming is a major focus of the 2020 NAB Show, and the new Streaming Experience is the largest showcase of its kind in the industry,” said NAB EVP of conventions and business operations Chris Brown in a statement. “We are excited for attendees to join their industry peers in this living room environment and experience nearly every live and on-demand streaming service on the market today.”

Additional details of the Streaming Experience, including renderings of the new space, can be found here.

 

LG Touts Filmmaker Mode at CES

LG Electronics touted support for the UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode Jan. 6 at CES with video testimonials by directors Chris Nolan and Christopher McQuarrie hailing the feature that brings the home viewing experience closer to the filmmakers’ intention.

“We’re proud to be among the first to embrace the UHD Alliance’s new Filmmaker Mode,” said Tim Alessi, senior director of product marketing at LG Electronics.

Current TVs use advanced video processing capabilities to offer consumers a broad range of options in viewing various types of content, ranging from sports to video games. Filmmaker Mode allows viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching movies by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so the movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates.

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LG also showed a 65-inch, 20mm thick TV; its rollup OLED TV, which Alessi said would be introduced this year; and support for DolbyVision IQ.

In addition, the electronics company touted Nvidia G-Sync-compatible TVs that can play games in 4K with up to 120 Hz. Alessi noted that game playing capability on TVs is increasingly important to consumers.

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CES 2020 Alphabet Soup: 8K, QLED, 5G Look to Up Profiles

In a world gone streaming mad for video, the 52nd annual CES Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas promises myriad technological updates and hype for the consumption of video in greater resolution (8K) and across enhanced wireless (5G) networks, among other marketing improvements.

More than 4,500 exhibitors will launch nearly 20,000 new tech products to more than 170,000 attendees, encompassing 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart cities and resilience, sports, robotics and more.

The trade show will feature new and expanded exhibit areas, 300 conference sessions with 1,100 speakers, and more than 1,200 startups from 45+ countries.

On the home entertainment front, expect media companies such as ViacomCBS, Disney and WarnerMedia, among others, to negotiate embedding proprietary streaming services into connected devices such TV and tablets.

“Eventually, all of these services will work with everything,” said Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

Pachter remains doubtful TV manufactures will rush to embed digital video games since he said it still takes a Chromecast stick to work the Google-owned Stadia game streaming system.

Stadia is the biggest effort yet by tech to take on Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft in video games.

Closer to home, Pachter said he’s looking for a big screen TV with the Disney+ streaming service embedded.

“I have a 65-inch Samsung LED TV that doesn’t work with Disney+,” he said. “Bought it in 2015, and it isn’t upgradeable, apparently. Gonna have to buy another [Amazon] Fire TV or Chromecast to make it work.”

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Meanwhile, Sharp Electronics is set to return to CES with an exhibit showcasing the latest installments in its evolving ecosystem of products and services that leverage the benefits of Ultra-HD 8K video and advanced 5G wireless technology.

What that actually means for consumers is questionable. 4K, which is now the standard resolution format in most TVs marketed at retail, continues to underwhelm when it comes to broadcast content — unlike 4k UHD Blu-ray content. 8K programming, it seems, will likely be limited to video games, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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Regardless, Sharp’s 8K+5G Ecosystem at CES will include a drone-mounted system developed in conjunction with various external stakeholders for the real-time capture and transmission of 8K footage for purposes including racehorse training and infrastructure surveys. It’s one of various cross-disciplinary collaborations currently undergoing trials in order to bring the practical benefits of 8K and 5G directly to businesses and consumers.

“We are conducting trials with a range of external partners, all with the aim of realizing a comprehensive 8K+5G ecosystem as soon as possible,” Bob Ishida, EVP and head of ICT Group, said in a statement. “And as our CES exhibit will show, we firmly believe that, in conjunction with the introduction of 5G, our 8K technology can make a major contribution to the society of the future.”

Samsung, a major player at CES, broke ranks from the traditional CES media day (Jan. 6 ending with Sony Electronics’ 49th product showcase) unveiling a bezel-less 8K QLED TV (Q950TS) model on Jan. 4. Bezel is the perimeter space around a TV screen.

Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio launched its first QLED TV available in 55-inch and 65-inch models. LG Electronics unveiled a line of “Real 8K TV” models that consumers can presumably afford and the company claims will help it surpass Samsung.

The company also bowed a new Vizio Elevate Sound Bar, along with new M-Series and V-Series sound bar lines pairing higher audio performance at every price point with a simple user interface.

The Elevate Sound Bar includes auto-rotating speakers for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content. The M-Series brings Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to a variety of accessible configurations.

The 2020 models offer a more intuitive user interface with select models receiving backlit remotes, better wireless connections through Bluetooth 5.0, HDMI inputs for added convenience, and HDMI 2.1 inputs with eARC support in premium models.

“We’re announcing the most competitive and immersive sound bar series we’ve ever launched,” said CTO Bill Baxter. “Not only do our sound bars bring a design and finish that stands out from the rest of the market, but we’re providing new levels of audio performance and ease-of-use to every price point.”

5G Going Mainstream?

Delivering data 20 times faster than 4G, the new 5G network boasts lower latency and massive capacity that will allow it to handle not only current devices, but also emerging technologies such as autonomous cars and connected home products.

How that translates to home entertainment is unclear. That’s because 5G is made for wireless products such as mobile phones and tablets. Whether the new technology means greater consumption of video on portable devices depends whether the average consumer wants to watch TV shows and movies on a small screen rather than on a huge screen in the home.

It also depends when telephone manufacturers roll out 5G-compatible units. Indeed, it is estimated that by 2022, 5G phones will only account for less than 50% of all phone units shipped in the United States.

 

LG to Bow Expanded 8K TV Lineup at CES

LG Electronics will introduce its expanded 8K TV lineup next week at CES 2020 — eight TVs with new 77- and 65-inch class models joining LG’s existing 88- and 75-inch screen sizes.

The 2020 lineup includes premium 88- and 77-inch class LG Signature OLED 8K TVs (models 88/77 OLED ZX) and advanced LG NanoCell TVs (models 75/65 Nano99, 75/65 Nano97, 75/65 Nano95). Every model exceeds the industry’s official new 8K Ultra HD definition set by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), according to LG.

LG 8K TVs deliver “Real 8K,” according to the company, and they are future-proofed, supporting the widest selection of 8K content sources from HDMI and USB digital inputs, including codecs such as HEVC, VP9 and AV1, the latter being backed by major streaming providers including YouTube. LG’s 8K TVs will support 8K content streaming at a rapid 60FPS and are certified to deliver 8K 60P over HDMI.

LG’s latest 8K TVs also feature α (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 AI Processor. By leveraging deep learning technology, the 2020 lineup delivers optimized picture and sound quality for all types of content through AI-based 8K upscaling. Based on an intelligent deep learning network, AI 8K Upscaling delivers vivid and accurate 8K images by analyzing the content and applying Quad Step Noise Reduction and frequency-based Sharpness Enhancer to increase lower resolution content to near 8K, according to LG.

The α9 Gen 3 processor’s AI Picture Pro is capable of recognizing faces and text on screen, fine-tuning and sharpening each to produce more natural skin tones, well-defined facial features and clearer, more readable characters, according to LG. In addition, its Auto Genre Selection recognizes the type of content being watched and automatically applies the ideal picture settings, guaranteeing the best image quality among four genres: movie, sports, standard and animation.

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LG’s AI Sound Pro analyzes and classifies the audio of content among five categories — music, movies, sports, drama or news — for clearer voices and richer, more textured background sound. Spoken words are isolated and their volume increased, making it distinctively easier for viewers to understand while background noises are identified and the scene up-mixed to virtual 5.1 surround for a heightened level of viewer immersion.

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LG 8K TVs offer a new level of convenience made possible by AI technology, according to LG. Users can monitor and control compatible IoT devices directly from the TV’s Home Dashboard, while Hands-Free Voice Control allows viewers to easily control multiple connected devices with just their voice, even from across the room. Available in 144 countries, ThinQ voice recognition is built into every LG 8K TV. And with LG’s popular smart TV platform, webOS, the new TVs support Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit as well as both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, with Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice compatibility in the future.

Xumo AVOD Service Coming to Sony and Panasonic Smart TVs

AVOD service Xumo will add Sony and Panasonic smart TVs to its existing distribution network with LG in 2020.

Both Sony and Panasonic smart TVs will have integration of Xumo’s free streaming service delivering both over-the-air and over-the-top channels to global audiences. End users press the channel up and down or guide button on the TV remote control to watch Xumo channels.

“As the leading free OTT service in the U.S., Xumo is eager to join forces and work toward providing audiences their favorite streaming or local, over-the-air channels through one intuitive TV experience,” said Xumo CEO Colin Petrie-Norris in a statement. “It remains our mission to work with global TV manufacturers, content and advertiser partners to deliver a quality experience for end users; one that can easily become a daily routine.”

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“As a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology, Sony is pleased to partner with Xumo to bring this streaming experience direct to consumers in a truly seamless manner by allowing viewers to access a variety of free channels on our Bravia TVs,” said Nick Colsey, VP, business development, Sony Electronics, in a statement.

“Xumo delivers a best-in-class experience for streaming channels,” said Yasunari Anan, director of Panasonic’s Smart Life Network business division in a statement. “We are happy to partner with them to provide more choice of viewing content for our discerning viewers.”

The expansion comes on the heels of the launch of Xumo-powered channels on LG smart TVs in the United States. LG now offers 190-plus channels to U.S. audiences across 12 programming genres and thousands of free movie titles, according to Xumo.

“Our success in the U.S. has proven that free streaming TV is on the rise and, with the right global partner, we will continue to ensure viewers are delivered an optimized, enjoyable entertainment experience,” said Sangwoo Lee, SVP of home entertainment content  and service business division at LG Electronics.

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Xumo is available in 45 million U.S. households via a multi-screen distribution network of smart TVs, mobile, web and streaming boxes, delivering digital channels through content partnerships with media providers such as ABC News Live, PeopleTV, NBC News, Food52, and HISTORY, as well PGA TOUR, and many others.

AVOD Service Xumo Renews Deal With LG

AVOD service Xumo has renewed its relationship with LG Electronics to continue powering the Channel Plus service for LG smart TVs.

Currently available in 45 million U.S. households, the service has been rebranded LG Channels for 2019 LG webOS smart TVs in the United States, Canada and internationally. LG Channels, powered by Xumo, has also rolled out in seven additional countries — France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and most recently, Mexico.

For the past three years, Xumo has powered LG Electronics’ premium Channel Plus service, available within the traditional programming guide of LG smart TVs that gives viewers access to more than 180 free, curated channels across 12 programming genres from broadcast TV to streaming channels and thousands of free movie titles. Total hours streamed continues to increase by a minimum of 10% month over month, according to Xumo.

“Our initial and ongoing partnership with LG has laid the groundwork for Xumo to deliver what has become the next generation of television programming,” noted Xumo CEO Colin Petrie-Norris in a statement. “We’re thrilled to continue powering a wealth of streaming content to not only existing Channel Plus viewers in the U.S. and Canada, but to consumers the world over who demand wide choice and premium, live and on-demand streaming entertainment.”

LG Channels has launched for free internationally with 50-plus of Xumo’s top digital channels, such as Eleven Sports, eSports Revolution, FailArmy, Football Daily, Motorvision, NowThis, Stingray Ambiance and This Old House, with more to be launched each subsequent month, according to Xumo. Localized streaming channels will also be added to the lineup for each specific country as the service expands.

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Channel Plus is available on webOS-enabled 2012-2018 LG smart TVs and is also now available on 2019 LG smart TVs as LG Channels. The full channel lineup can be viewed here.

Xumo offers more than 180 digital channels of free premium programming across 12 genres, including sports, news, kids and family entertainment, live events, comedy, lifestyle and movies. The ad-supported service is available in 45 million U.S. households via a multi-screen distribution network of smart TVs, mobile, web and streaming boxes. Xumo delivers its over-the-top video-on-demand and live linear digital channels through content partnerships with media providers such as CBSN, PeopleTV, NBC News, Food52 and HISTORY, as well PGA TOUR and many others.