LG Electronics, which helped usher in the age of gesture-based TV remotes a few years ago with its wand-style Magic Motion remote controls, is updating the technology with new control options and the ability to respond to more natural voice controls.
The new Magic Remote will come with 2013-model Cinema 3D Smart TVs, which will be shown for the first time at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The remote controls build on last year's ability to respond to limited voice control by expanding the options available using voice commands, as well as improving the voice recognition technology so users can employ more natural, conversational speech. The TV can also be controlled using gestures, pointing the wand, or by using the remote's embedded scroll wheel. For example, you can now switch channels simply by "writing" the channel number in the air with the remote.
The new Magic Remote also has learning capability, so it can act as a universal remote control for various home entertainment gear, including the TV, a cable or satellite settop box, Blu-ray player, or an HTIB or soundbar speaker system.
LG will offer two versions of the Magic Remote: a standard version that comes with its regular Cinema 3D TV Smart TVs, plus an enhanced one—a more streamlined model with LED backlit buttons—that comes with its step-up Cinema 3D Smart TV models.
We'll be getting some hands-on experience with LG's new remote controls—and its new smart TVs—when we head to CES the first week of January.
Visit our CES 2013 page at ConsumerReports.org for all our coverage.
—James K. Willcox