Panasonic Announces Flagship OLED TV

Panasonic has announced the launch of its flagship OLED TV — the LZ2000 — available in 55-inch, 65-inch and, for the first time, 77-inch sizes.

The LZ2000 OLED TV supports a range of HDR formats, including Dolby Vision IQ, Dolby Vision, Filmmaker Mode, HDR10+ Adaptive, and HLG Photo, the still image format that brings still photography into the HDR world.

It features new Game Control Board settings, including automatic NVIDIA GPU detection, improved 60Hz latency and HDMI2.1 support.

The LZ2000 OLED TV has advanced sensors that detect the ambient room light color temperature and adjust the picture to deliver a natural experience while watching throughout the day, according to the company. The new feature builds on Panasonic’s “Auto AI” mode, introduced last year, which uses artificial intelligence that in real time identifies the content being played and automatically optimizes both picture and sound quality, without the user needing to manually adjust settings. The new sensor works together with the HCX Pro AI processor to adjust tone individually in the most realistic way based on the ambient light, to deliver a more comfortable nighttime viewing experience, according to Panasonic. The HCX Pro AI chip preserves colors with which the human eye is familiar, such as skin tones, to ensure a natural picture. Auto AI mode now also auto-detects what type of content viewers are watching and automatically optimizes the picture and sound quality more seamlessly, according to Panasonic.

The LZ2000 OLED TV’s new 77-inch size is called the “Master OLED Pro – Cinema Size.” All three sizes use the latest generation of “Master OLED Pro” configuration to deliver even more brightness to improve picture quality processing. The result increases mid-level brightness delivering more pop from HDR and improved accuracy in reproducing details in brighter areas, according to Panasonic.

The LZ2000 OLED TV also features the color-tuning skills of Stefan Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Company 3. Described by NPR as a “da Vinci of the movies,” Sonnenfeld has applied his skills as a colorist to many of the most acclaimed and popular features of the past decade, including A Star Is Born, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, 300 and many more, according to the Panasonic press release. Like many other leading colorists and post-production houses, he uses Panasonic OLED screens as large-format client reference monitors.

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The LZ2000 OLED TV introduces directional sound in addition to Panasonic’s 360 degree Soundscape all-in-one TV audio package capable of delivering Dolby Atmos. The multiple built-in upward-firing, side-firing, and front-firing speaker units produce a spatial soundstage with Dolby Atmos content, according to Panasonic. Panasonic has improved its sound quality with new array speakers that run the entire length of the TV for an immersive sound experience, the company announced. “Using a simple-to-use GUI, the LZ2000 OLED TV makes it possible to adjust the relative loudness of the audio in different parts of the room,” according to the company. It comes with three modes: “pinpoint mode,” which allows the sound to be directed to one specific point; “area mode,” which allows viewers to shift the sound to a group of people in a specific area of the room; and “spot mode,” which boosts the volume in one particular spot while others can still hear the sound.

“The LZ2000 OLED TV’s superb directional sound can direct sound away from sleeping children as well as boost the volume for viewers who are hard of hearing,” according to the Panasonic press release.

A new feature, the Game Control Board, collects all relevant game settings and information in one place and presents them as an overlay over the game so that viewers never have to leave the game to access them. It can be programmed to be accessed by just one click on the remote control by assigning it to the customizable “my App” button.

The Game Control Board overlay provides access to the following features and information in real-time:

  • “Information,” displaying all the information coming from the source game, such as frame rate, HDR metadata, and chroma sub-sampling data;
  • “Dark Visibility Enhancer,” allowing the gamer to granularly adjust the near black portion of dark scenes, making it easier to see the route forward or detect enemies hiding in the shadows;
  • “HDR Tonemap,” showing the current HDR tone-mapping settings, which include “Off” (game console is managing the tone-mapping), “On” (TV is managing the tone-mapping), or “Dynamic” (TV analyzes incoming frames in real time and produces dynamic tone-mapping on a scene-by-scene basis, even when the source is static HDR);
  • “Input Lag and VRR,” which displays and adjusts input lag and variable refresh rate settings; and
  • “Viewing Mode,” which allows the gamer in real time to change the viewing mode and see the effect live in order to select the appearance he or she prefers.

 

Panasonic has reduced the input lag for 60Hz games, which are supported by the majority of games consoles through the new “60Hz Refresh Mode.”

The LZ2000 OLED TV supports key HDMI2.1 features such as High Frame Rate (HFR) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) at 120Hz in full 4K resolution.

The LZ2000 OLED TV features the latest iteration of Panasonic’s smart-TV OS My Home Screen 7.0, which supports all major video streaming services and includes accessibility improvements along with a new myScenery function that includes a selection of calming images and videos captured by the Joy Foundation from all over the globe.

The LZ2000 OLED TV has a settings menu that contains voice control, audio descriptions, audio dialogue enhancements and hard of hearing subtitle features to improve TV accessibility.

CES 2022 Gets Underway With Revamped Floor Plan and Masked Attendees

LAS VEGAS — CES 2022 got underway the morning of Jan. 5 with a smaller floor plan, social distancing measures implemented by several large exhibitors, and a surprisingly large crowd of attendees, all of them masked.

And while the show has been shifting away from its legacy consumer electronics and toward innovation in such fields as mobility, digital health and space tech, CE manufacturers at CES 2022 continue to have the biggest booths and most elaborate displays.

LG Electronics commanded the marquee position in the Central Hall, but is using its space this year for a vast corkboard platform with little stations where visitors can get presentations on their iPhones, including a history of the CE giant’s signature OLED Experience exhibits, which in the past have seen screens arranged in waterfall, tunnel and canyon settings. Several visitors, however, reported that the virtual experiences either didn’t work or were too complicated, since they involved downloading and installing an app.

The LG Electronics booth at CES 2022

The Panasonic booth devoted half its space to a socially distant seating area, as did the Sony booth, where the focus this year is on two electric-vehicle prototypes the company hopes to build as it ventures into the automotive sector. Sony says it plans on establishing a car unit to enter the EV market. One of the vehicles the company is displaying at CES is a seven-set sport-utility vehicle with all-wheel drive.

Somewhat inexplicably, Sony also has a big display for the PlayStation 5, even though the device is still in short supply at retail.

Sony’s PS5 display in its booth at CES 2022

Several other big CE exhibitors, including TCL and Hisense, set up booths virtually identical to the ones they fielded in the pre-COVID days. 

The one commonality among CE exhibitors: Touting the advantages of their favored backlight technologies, OLED, QLED, and Mini-LED, the latter being the newest and hottest trend in TV displays.

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All are variations of LED, an acronym for light-emitting diode. LEDs are the tiny elements of a TV screen that light up in order to produce an image on an LED TV. LED technology became commonplace more than a decade ago after improvements in the technology spearheaded by Samsung.

OLED stands for organic LED, with each pixel made of a material that glows when it receives electricity. The electroluminescent materials used in OLED screens are organic compounds of carbon and other ingredients. OLED is emissive, with the pixels emitting their own light.

QLED is a Samsung technology introduced in 2015. The Q stands for “Quantum Dot.” It’s essentially a variation of LED and is transmissive, relying on an LED backlight.

The newest backlight technology is Mini-LED, similar to QLED, just with even smaller backlights. Mini-LED is a bridge between the older QLED technology and the newer OLED tech, with the same deep blacks that OLED promises.

Samsung has updated the Neo QLED technology that it bowed at last year’s virtual CES to improve the picture quality, but the Korean CE giant also is showing off its new line of Micro LED displays, which boast 25-million LED arrays and come in 89-inch, 101-inch, and 110-inch models.

Sony has QD-OLED, which combines OLED and quantum dot technologies for what it purports is the best of both worlds.

Meanwhile, Hisense and TCL both boast some Mini-LED models.

CES 2022 touched down in Las Vegas as the show’s producer, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), projects the consumer technology industry will generate more than $505 billion in retail sales revenue, a record high that’s up nearly 3% from 2021. The CTA attributes much of the gain to growing demand for smartphones, automotive tech, health devices and streaming services will help propel much of the projected revenue.

Despite a rash of last-minute cancellations due to the surge of the Omicron COVID variant, CES 2022 has more than 2,300 exhibitors, including more than 800 startups. Once again, the focus is not on legacy consumer electronics but, rather, on “the latest transformative technologies, including vehicle technology, artificial intelligence, digital health and smart home tech, as well as new categories: NFTs, food tech and space tech,” CTA said in a Jan. 5 press release.
 
The CES exhibit floor will be open through Jan. 7, a shorter run due to COVID concerns.

LG Electronics Unveils New TVs, Services at CES 2022

LG Electronics unveiled its new TV lineup for CES 2022, headlined by the company’s 2022 OLED TVs.

In a CES eve virtual media event introduced by singer John Legend, Jinnie Kim, LG Electronics USA director of home entertainment marketing, said, “Our 2022 lineup of LG TVs consists of the most expansive range of screen sizes and the brightest and finest picture quality ever.”

A CES Innovation Award honoree for eight consecutive years, LG OLED TVs employ self-lighting pixels that can be turned on and off individually to deliver perfect blacks, natural colors and better contrast, according to the company. 

The OLED evo technology featured in both G2 and select C2 series delivers higher brightness for ultra-realistic images, according to the company. Powered by LG’s new α (Alpha) 9 Gen 5 intelligent processor, the company’s “Brightness Booster” technology enables G2 series TVs to deliver even more brightness through improved heat dissipation and a more advanced algorithm, according to LG.

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LG’s 2022 G2 series, with a flush-to-the-wall “Gallery Design,” introduces a new 83-inch model and the world’s first 97-inch OLED model to complement the 55-, 65- and 77-inch TVs already in the lineup. LG’s C2 series offers a diverse selection of screen sizes with a total of six for 2022: the 42-inch OLED TV, ideal for console and PC gaming, in addition to 48-, 55-, 65-, 77- and 83-inch models.

The latest version of LG’s  Smart TV platform features webOS 22 that introduces personal profiles for a more customized viewing experience. Under each profile, users can set up fast access to their favorite streaming services, get tailored content recommendations based on viewing history and receive real-time alerts to keep up with favorite sports teams, according to LG. Logging into profiles can be performed either from the TV browser or from a smartphone with “NFC Magic Tap.”

“NFC Magic Tap” can also be used to mirror a mobile device screen to an LG TV. Viewers can also mirror content from one TV to another in the home using “Room to Room Share,” which enables the viewing of cable or satellite content on another TV via Wi-Fi without an additional set-top-box. Also new for 2022, “Always Ready” turns an LG TV into a media display when not in use. It is activated with a press of the power button on the LG remote to transform the screen into a digital canvas for showcasing artwork, keeping track of time or playing music.

Upgraded ThinQ AI allows LG’s 2022 TVs to offer voice control and compatibility with other ThinQ-powered devices. ThinQ AI offers support for “Matter,” a new industry standard for a more secure and seamlessly connected smart home, which will allow LG TVs to work as a controller for connected devices, according to LG.

The panels in the 2022 OLED lineups have been certified by global product testing agency Intertek for 100% color fidelity and 100% color volume, according to LG. LG TVs also “make it easier for customers to see movies as their creators intended as they were the first in 2021 to offer auto switching to Filmmaker Mode when enjoying Amazon Prime Video content,” according to the company.

New for 2022, LG customers can easily select and switch between game-specific features and display presets directly from the TV’s Game Optimizer menu. The Game Optimizer menu provides quick access to the new “Dark Room Mode,” which adjusts screen brightness for a better gaming experience when the lights are off, according to LG. A new sports mode joins presets for first-person shooter, role-playing and real-time strategy games.

LG is also unveiling an expanded QNED TV lineup for 2022 with LG’s Quantum Dot NanoCell technology. LG QNED Mini LED TV is capable of “amazing contrast” with LG’s Precision Dimming Technology, according to the company.

LG is also adding new services to its smart TVs. The LIVENow app offers access to online live concerts, shows, sports and other live events. The 1M HomeDance app, created in collaboration with 1MILLION Dance Studio, one of K-Pop’s choreography teams, provides a selection of dance tutorials and allows users to check their form with “Camera Mode” while dancing along with 1MILLION’s professional choreographers, as well as watch their favorite dance clips.

LG is also introducing its first health platform, LG Fitness. According to the company, it helps users find the ideal workout plan based on the system’s recommendations or create their own by choosing from a variety of options such as fast-paced HIIT, full-body stretching or guided meditation, among others, keeping track of their activity and progress on the app’s dashboard.

With Independa, the first tele-healthcare service supported on LG TVs, LG’s TVs can help users care for family members remotely or assist seniors to be more independent, according to LG. Independa makes it easy for users to initiate a video chat with a caregiver or access a menu of relevant professional services, according to LG. Pop-up notifications inform when someone is calling and personal alerts can be set up for more reminders. Professional services available on Independa include Dentulu (online dental consultation), Capital Rx (discount pharmacy platform), Coverdell (dental insurance benefits), WebMD (medical grade educational videos) and Sprio100 (fitness programs for seniors), among others.

LG to Unveil Transparent OLED Displays at CES

LG Display will introduce its new Transparent OLED at CES 2022.

The lineup includes the “OLED Shelf,” which combines two Transparent OLED displays, one above the other. The “OLED Shelf” can display TV shows or gallery paintings while running in its “Always on Display Mode.”

LG Display’s “Shopping Managing Showcase”

The company is also set to unveil its “Shopping Managing Showcase,” a Transparent OLED display fitted inside a wooden display stand for the offline shopping experience. “Ideal for department stores,” according to LG, the “Shopping Managing Showcase” can display visual content on the screen that harmonizes with the products on display behind.

LG will also introduce “Show Window,” which consists of four 55-inch Transparent OLED displays. “The Show Window maximizes the advertising potential of window displays by delivering a more unique and informative shopping experience,” according to LG.

LG Display will also be showcasing its “Smart Window,” which is specially designed for the office. By applying Transparent OLED technology to conference room windows, the “Smart Window” can transform into an expansive screen for video conferencing, presentations and entertainment without compromising the open view of the glass window, according to LG.

LG Display is the only company boasting proprietary technology of large Transparent OLED displays in the world, having commercialized 55-inch Transparent OLED displays with 40% transparency in 2019, according to a company press release.

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“With our industry-leading Transparent OLED technology, we will continue to introduce innovative high-end solutions that allow our customers to enjoy unprecedented experiences,” said Lee Hyeon-woo, SVP and head of the Life Display Business Group at LG Display.

LG to Demo Flexible OLED Tech at CES 2022

LG Display will be demonstrating its flexible OLED technology at CES 2022, showcasing two new product concepts — “Virtual Ride” and “Media Chair.”

LG Display’s Virtual Ride

The Virtual Ride is an indoor stationary bicycle with three vertical 55-inch OLED displays in front of and above it. The advanced displays come together to form one large, curved, r-shaped display that gives users a view both forward and above. The display that bends to create the ceiling above the rider has a curvature radius that reaches 500R, or a radius of 500mm, the most among existing large displays, according to LG.

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“The OLED displays provide unparalleled lifelike colors with their vivid picture quality to make you really feel like you are cycling outside in a forest or down the street of a European village,” according to an LG press release.

The Media Chair combines a 55-inch OLED TV display with a recliner. The screen boasts a curvature radius of 1,500R, the optimal angle for the user, as well as the company’s built-in sound technology Cinematic Sound OLED (CSO), which enables the display to vibrate to make its own sound without the use of external speakers, according to LG. The chair display’s pivot function allows the screen to rotate between vertical and horizontal orientations with a button on the display of the armrest. “This gives the user the unique opportunity to customize their immersive viewing experience thanks to the OLED technology to perfectly fit whatever content they want to watch,” according to the release.

The OLED display boasts tens of millions of self-emitting pixels to eliminate the need for a separate backlight, according to the release. It comes in various forms, such as bendable, foldable and rollable.

“We will continue to provide differentiated value to our customers through OLED’s infinite potential while also moving forward with integrating our business into diverse industries,”  Yeo Chun-ho, head of the business development division at LG Display, said in a statement.

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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Samsung Electronics Unveils 2020 QLED 8K TV Lineup, New AI Capabilities at CES

Samsung Electronics Jan. 5 introduced its QLED 8K line on the eve of CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The lineup features AI-based innovations that make the viewing experience more immersive, and connected features that make consumer lifestyles more integrated, according to Samsung.

The 8K lineup leverages the power of machine learning to optimize audio, video and smart capabilities, and it offers a range of smart features powered by Tizen, so consumers can more easily interact with their home and mobile devices, and access new features such as Samsung Health.

“2020 will be a tipping point for our industry, the year when 8K broke into the mainstream as the definitive viewing experience,” said Joe Stinziano, head of the consumer electronics business at Samsung Electronics America. “Our 2020 8K lineup delivers that experience. Its unprecedented immersive capabilities and unparalleled smart features empower consumers to pursue their passions more simply and more comprehensively than ever before.”

Every Samsung 8K TV shipping today meets the requirements of the 8K Association’s Certified Test Specifications and carries the CTA 8K Ultra HD Display Definition logo, according to Samsung.

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This year, consumers will also be able to enjoy and stream AV1 codec videos filmed in 8K on QLED 8K TVs. All Samsung TVs in the 2020 8K line will ship with this capability built-in. And, Samsung is working with partners like YouTube to create pathways for streaming native 8K content.

In addition to building out the 8K ecosystem across the industry, the QLED 8K lineup helps consumers to experience the power of 8K resolution even when they’re watching lower resolution content.

Based on powerful Samsung semiconductor technology, the Q950’s next-generation Quantum Processor 8K features improved AI-based upscaling capabilities that use machine learning to analyze and identify the characteristics of individual pixels. It then restores different elements of the image to create a pristine 8K picture, regardless of the content source.

The Q950 also leverages the power of AI to ensure that nothing distracts viewers from their content. While other TV sensors can only adjust screen brightness based on the ambient light within the room, Adaptive Picture analyzes the brightness of the room, as well as the scene being played on the screen, to optimize brightness and maintain contrast in high-glare environments.

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Addressing the speed of the internet connection, AI ScaleNet uses cutting-edge compression to significantly cut the amount of bandwidth needed to stream content. This helps consumers enjoy a higher quality image, and a smoother streaming experience, even if they have a slower internet connection, according to Samsung. Samsung Electronics continues to work with Amazon on this feature, utilizing AI ScaleNet from standard definition to 4K in Prime Video.

On the audio side, the Q950 features speakers on every side of the display, as well as woofers in the back to deliver virtual 5.1 channel surround-sound. Samsung takes this hardware to the next level, with sound features that further enhance sound immersion. If consumers are watching a movie that hasn’t been mixed for three-dimensional sound, the audio won’t track with the movement onscreen. Object Tracking Sound+ solves this problem by detecting the movement of objects on the screen and adjusting the audio accordingly. Also, with Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), the Q950 can enhance voice clarity in response to ambient noise like a blender or vacuum cleaner. Finally, Q-Symphony creates a more dynamic soundscape by pairing the Q950’s speaker with the audio of a Samsung Q series soundbar, including the 2020 CES Best of Innovation honoree, the Q800.

In 2020, Bixby, Samsung’s AI assistant, is getting even smarter, through a new ability that leverages Ambient Mode to change the mood of a room. For example, if they tell Bixby to create a calm atmosphere, the TV will then display a relaxing backdrop on the screen. In addition, Samsung will be integrating Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant directly into its premium lineup of 2020 Samsung Smart TVs, including the Q950.

The Q950 features a new and improved Universal Guide that uses AI-based algorithms to analyze the type of content that consumers watch, as well as the services and TV channels that they tend to use, to offer recommendations uniquely customized to their specific habits and tastes.

With the launch of Samsung Health on TV later this year, consumers can enjoy a fitness and wellness solution that allows them to see their activities, track their progress, and pursue shared fitness goals with the entire family. Plus, they will have access to free and exclusive content from leading partners, including Calm, FitPlan, Jillian Michaels, Echelon, Obe Fitness, and Barre 3 and more.

Other features include Multi-View, which helps consumers to simultaneously enjoy content on their mobile devices and their TVs, by mirroring the phone screen onto the TV screen even while it is playing TV content, and Tap View, which allows consumers to mirror their phone screens by touching their mobile device to the TV. Finally, Digital Butler brings together both connected and non-connected devices in one dashboard. It uses infrared technology so that consumers can manage legacy devices near the TV.

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.

IHS: World Cup Soccer Spiked Global TV Sales in 2018

Last summer’s FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament in Russia helped increase global TV sales 2.9% to 221 million units, according to new data from IHS Markit Research.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 more than half of all shipments were ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs with increasingly larger screen sizes.

“Average new TV screen sizes are still growing at least one inch per year,” Paul Grey, research director, said in a statement. “With falling LCD panel prices, consumers clearly care more about trading-up in size than about spending less money. Even in Japan, where consumers have been resistant to buying large TVs, the average screen size increased year over year.”

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Indeed, UHD TV shipments reached 99 million units. China led the global market with 30.1 million TVs shipped in 2018, followed by North America with 24.7 million. Nearly 63% of TV sets in Western Europe shipped with UHD resolution in the fourth quarter of 2018, the largest share of any global region.

Meanwhile, 18,600 8K TVs shipped globally in 2018.

“The launch of an 8K channel by Japan’s NHK network, was an important landmark last year, which led to an acceleration in 8K TV shipments in Japan during Q4,” Gray said.

Separately, smart TVs that support UHD through streaming services continued to rise in volume. More than three-quarters of TVs shipped in quarter were smart TVs. In North America, more than 85% of all TVs were smart TVs, which is 10% higher than the previous year.

Finally, just under 1 million OLED TVs shipped in the quarter, up 20% over the prior year. Thanks to increasing competition, large-screen 55-inch OLED TVs hit new levels of affordability in Western Europe. Meanwhile, OLED TV shipments to North America fell 26%, year over year, due in part to aggressive price declines in very large LCD TV sizes.

Panasonic 4K OLED TV Designed With Hollywood Help

Panasonic Jan. 7 announced the launch of the GZ2000, featuring a Professional Edition 4K OLED panel tuned in Hollywood that incorporates custom hardware improvements by Panasonic.

“Optimized by a leading Hollywood colorist, the new panel highlights unparalleled color accuracy and significantly better than average brightness levels,” according to a Panasonic press release.

Panasonic announced it is the world’s first TV to support the high dynamic range formats HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as the HLG Photo format, the new still image format which brings still photography into the HDR world.

“Together, Dolby and Panasonic are bringing best-in-class audio and imaging technology to Panasonic’s TVs,” said John Couling, SVP, commercial partnerships, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos perfectly complement the GZ2000’s advanced display, transforming it into an entertainment powerhouse.”

The GZ2000 is also “the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos immersive audio with total ease and convenience,” Panasonic announced. “The total audio system has also been tuned by Technics engineers.”

Supporting both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the GZ2000 can integrate with a smart home setup.

Available in 65-inch and 55-inch screen sizes, the GZ2000 OLED features the color-tuning skills of Stefan Sonnenfeld. Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Company 3, is “a trusted collaborator of some of the world’s best filmmakers,” Panasonic announced, applying his skills as a colorist to such features as A Star Is Born, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and 300. He uses Panasonic OLED screens as large-format client reference monitors in his daily workflow, according to the release.

The TV’s average brightness level has been boosted significantly and contrast handling improved, resulting in increased dynamic range, the release stated.

“HDR content now looks even more impactful, with the GZ2000 effortlessly able to reproduce tricky scenes of variable brightness and contrast — often found in live sports broadcasts and in action movies,” the release stated. “Because of this level of customization, combined with the exceptional color-optimizing skills of Sonnenfeld, Panasonic has created some of the most accurate, cinematic images ever seen on a TV.

“Additionally, in response to requests from Hollywood’s professional users, Panasonic has extended the range and reduced the interval between calibration steps at the darkest end of the RGB and gamma scales.”

The GZ2000 is also compatible with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), an HDR format expected to be widely adopted by TV broadcasters, the release stated.

The GZ2000 also features Panasonic’s new My Home Screen 4.0, which allows viewers to tailor the TV user interface to their own preferences, the release stated. The layout of the home screen can be reconfigured to allow customized layouts. Access to VOD and broadcast content is also easier thanks to a redesigned GUI that includes icons for decks that provide shortcuts to live TV, connected devices and apps such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. Viewers can even add frequently watched TV stations to the home screen.