LG Announces Sound Bar Lineup for CES

LG Electronics announced a new 2019 sound bar lineup to be showcased at CES 2019.

The bar lineup is equipped with artificial intelligence and features two CES Innovation Award recipients (models SL9YG and SL10YG), according to an LG press release. LG’s premium SL9 took home the Best of Innovation title, the company announced.

LG models SL10YG, SL9YG and SL8YG were created in collaboration with Meridian Audio.

“The collaboration goes far beyond basic fine-tuning or the adoption of feature-sets, with both companies joining forces to engineer sound delivery for a truly unrivalled listening experience,” according to the release. “Drawing on 25 years of experience as the Master of Digital Signal Processing, Meridian’s Bass & Space technology improves the soundstage and envelops listeners in rich, uncompromising sound and strong bass. Together with its Image Elevation technology, designed to lift the soundstage in a more lifelike way to boost listeners’ sense of immersion, Meridian creates a true cinematic experience, delivering powerful surround sound like no other.”

Able to up-mix two-channel audio to multiple, distinct channels without generating any distortion, the Meridian Upmix technology increases sound immersion by improving the sound field while upgrading the clarity of vocals and lead instruments, according to LG.

LG’s sound bar models SL10, SL9 and SL8 support both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Users can add the Wireless Rear Speaker Kit (sold separately) to achieve a more cinema-like experience, according to LG.

The new sound bars also offer AI smart connectivity and voice recognition with the built-in Google Assistant. Users can control their LG sound bar and get information with a command such as, “Hey Google, increase the volume,” or, “Hey Google, what artist is playing?” Compatibility with Google Assistant-enabled smart products make it possible to control connected devices throughout the home via voice command. Users can say, “Hey Google, ask LG to turn on the air purifier,” to the sound bar to make adjustments.

The sound bars “have a sleek, understated design that perfectly matches the chic style of LG’s exceptional OLED TVs,” according to LG. At 57mm (2.25 in) deep, the LG SL9 can also be installed flush to the wall. An integrated gyroscope sensor gauges the position of the product (fixed to a wall or on a flat surface), adjusting sound directionality to guarantee the optimal listening experience, according to LG.

“LG’s 2019 sound bars deliver amazing performance tuned in close partnership with Meridian Audio with the convenience of smart AI connectivity,” said Kim Dae-chul, head of LG Home Entertainment Company’s audio and video business. “The high-quality sound and versatility of our newest lineup takes home entertainment to a whole new level and satisfies a growing demand for premium sound bar solutions that provide impressive listening experiences, greater convenience and stylish, modern aesthetics.”

Vudu Adds Sony TVs to 4K UHD Compatible Devices List

Walmart-owned online movie service Vudu.com has upgraded its Android TV app to include Sony televisions, enabling users to watch Vudu UHD titles in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and HDR-10 functionality.

4K claims four time the pixels of 1080p with added life-like color of high dynamic range technology.

Vudu currently offers 4K UHD on most TV brands (Samsung, LG, Vizio, inadddtion to streaming media devices Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, TiVo, Xbox One S and Nvidia Shield video game consoles.

“4K and HDR represent the best possible cinematic experience in the home – and we want to be able to deliver that experience to as many people as possible, accorss as many devices as possible,” Kristine Lopes, senior manager, product marketing at Vudu, said in a statement.

LG Introduces ‘World’s First’ 8K OLED TV

LG Electronics is introducing the world’s first 8K (7680 x 4320) OLED TV, according to a company press release.

Previewed at IFA 2018, the 88-inch, 8K LG OLED TV features more than 33 million self-emitting pixels to produce the “unmatched contrast ratio and true blacks that define OLED TV’s iconic picture quality,” according to the release.

OLED TV shipments in the market are expected to double in 2018 and reach more than 9 million units by 2022, with the 8K TV market expected to grow to more than 5 million units by 2022, the release stated.

“LG’s first 8K OLED TV is the pinnacle of technological achievement and the next evolutionary step in display technology,” said Brian Kwon, president of LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “4K OLED played a major role in reshaping the TV industry, and LG is confident that 8K OLED will do the same.”

LG’s AI TVs Incorporate Google Assistant

LG Electronics USA May 8 announced the launch of the Google Assistant on its 2018 AI TV line-up.

This includes both LG OLED TVs and LG Super UHD TVs with ThinQ AI, which will deliver AI features operated directly through the TV’s remote control with no additional hardware required, the company reported.

The Google Assistant combines with LG’s webOS-based ThinQ AI to enable 2018 LG TVs to deliver “an intuitive AI experience that uses natural language commands to control TV functions, seamlessly discover and play content and control TV settings,” according to LG.

“With the Google Assistant, you can ask it to manage daily tasks, access information, control compatible smart home devices including lighting, appliances and much more,” an LG press release reads.

LG and Google are collaborating to develop a range of features and are working to expand consumer accessibility in multiple languages, the company announced. LG’s 2018 AI TVs can perform hundreds of voice commands utilizing the company’s own open smart platform as well as the built in Google Assistant. With LG’s ThinQ, users can immediately connect to external gaming consoles and soundbars, switch picture mode or turn the TV off at set times.

LG 2018 AI TVs can retrieve information or switch to a channel that offers the content requested by the viewer, according to the release. “Switch to Discovery channel” instantly connects users to information about future travel destinations. Users can learn more about their desired films by saying a character’s or actor’s name. They can tell the TV to “search for the soundtrack of this movie” or “turn off the TV when this program is over” without needing to schedule a time.

With the Google Assistant built in, LG’s 2018 AI TVs allows users to manage different tasks, find answers or control smart home devices, the LG release noted. Users can press and hold the mic button to ask for information such as the weather forecast, nearby local businesses, or check the score of a game without disturbing the viewing experience. Users can also display Google Photos and access devices such as robotic vacuum cleaners, thermostats, air purifiers and smart lighting.

“With the Google Assistant now available natively in 2018 LG AI TVs, LG has truly elevated the TV to a whole new level of AI adoption in the home,” said Tim Alessi, head of home entertainment product marketing at LG Electronics USA. “Beyond the unrivaled picture quality that LG TVs deliver, LG’s partnership with Google creates a true visual hub for information and connectivity in the home. LG has only begun to scratch the surface of what we will innovate in the AI ecosystem working collaboratively with cutting-edge, industry leading partners such as Google.”

LG’s 2018 AI TVs also work with existing Google Assistant devices such as Google Home and other smart speakers with the Assistant built in, allowing users to send voice commands directly from a separate Assistant device to their LG TV. TV owners can speak to other Assistant devices to control TV functions such as volume, play, pause, start, stop, fast forward, channel selection and content search.  LG’s 2018 AI-enabled TVs will work with other Google Assistant devices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, with further expansion to be announced later this year.

LG Adds Hulu With Live TV to Its Smart TVs

LG Electronics USA April 10 announced that its smart TVs now include Hulu with Live TV.

The updated user interface is available on all 2018 and 2017 LG Smart TVs with webOS, as well as select 2016 models.

“As interest in streaming live events continues to rise, we are offering LG smart TV owners a seamless solution that enables them to experience today’s pivotal cultural moments as they are happening from the comfort of their own home,” said Matthew Durgin, director of smart TV content partnerships at LG Electronics USA, in a statement.

Hulu with Live TV offers viewers access to live and on-demand programming from more than 50 top channels, in addition to the service’s on-demand streaming library with thousands of movies and shows. Hulu’s live offering gives viewers access to personal-ized sports experiences, as well as the opportunity to record live TV through the Cloud DVR option. Current LG TV customers with Hulu subscriptions may enjoy Hulu with Live TV by updating their subscription plan.

The 2018 LG Smart TVs with webOS are now available with the updated UI and access to Hulu with Live TV at retailers nationwide.

Starz Bows App on LG Televisions

Starz March 29 announced the launch of its Starz app on select LG Smart TVs, including the recently debuted 2018 LG OLED TVs and LG Super UHD TVs with AI ThinQ.

Starz subscribers, including pay-TV and standalone over-the-top, can now watch original series, including “Counterpart,” “Power,” “Outlander,” “American Gods,” as well as hundreds of movies and first-run films on LG Smart TVs via LG’s webOS Smart TV platform.

The app on LG Smart TVs is a single destination for all subscribers who want to stream Starz premium content. It features intuitive content discovery and navigation regardless how the consumer purchased a subscription to Starz.

Starz, which is owned by Lionsgate, earlier this year entered into a multifaceted agreement with Bell Media in Canada.

The deal marked the first international launch of Starz since the Lionsgate acquisition in December 2016 as well as the first time it would be available in Canada. Starz content will be available across all Bell Media platforms, including TMN Encore and streaming service CraveTV.

LG Bowing 88-Inch 8K OLED TV at CES

Bigger — especially hype — is better when it comes to the annual Consumer Electronics Show taking place Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

LG Electronics announced it will showcase the world’s first 88-inch 8K OLED display featuring 33 million pixels — four times the clarity of 4K Ultra HD.

“OLED is clearly a next-generation technology leader and for this reason, LG Display is accelerating its research and development into OLED so that we can provide differentiated products to customers and markets,” CTO In-Byung Kang said in a statement.

LG says the OLED TV display maintains a slim design without requiring excessive backlighting. The company noted LCD displays with 8K resolution inevitably get heavier and thicker because backlight units need to be placed directly behind the panels to achieve the same level of brightness and picture quality as 4K displays — the current top resolution.

OLED displays, however, are superior for higher resolution due to lower aperture ratios — the area that light can pass through as it is not covered by the black matrix and the wiring portion (electric circuit) in the entire area of the pixel.

LG announced its 8K OLED display creates even more “delicate” images, citing comments from DisplayMate, a display-testing and rating body, praising OLED TVs as visually “indistinguishable from perfect,” with the highest absolute color accuracy, the highest absolute luminance accuracy, and the highest contrast ratio.

LG’s newest model likely won’t come cheap. The manufacturer’s currently available 77-inch 4K OLED TV reportedly retails for $20,000.